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I am looking at possibly booking a flight from Gatwick to Moscow Domodedovo (DME) (via Kiev) with Ukraine International Airlines and then separately booking my transfer later that day from Moscow to Tokyo ( either with Qatar Airlines via Hamad international airport or Emirates via Dubai).

I have been informed by the Russian authorities that I do not normally need to have a visa for transit but because I will have booked the transfers separately myself, If I need to collect my baggage and re-check in I will need a visa.

They have said if I can arrange for my baggage to be booked on to my final destination from my initial destination (London Gatwick to Moscow, via Kiev and then Moscow to Tokyo via Hamad) even though I have booked 2 flights myself, I can stay in the transit zone without needing a visa.

I contacted Ukraine International Airlines and they said to ask at the Gatwick desk to book it through to my final destination in Tokyo.

Obviously I am concerened about risking this without getting any solid evidence that I will definitely be able to do this.

Has anyone had experience with this before?

many thanks

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I cannot answer your question with direct experience of the exact travel plan you have but let me put forward some information anyway. Hopefully someone can provide you a more experienced answer.

Ukraine International Airlines (company code is "PS") do have appropriate contracts with Qatar Airways and Emirates to check your baggage through on such flights. If they want to. In this case it is up to the training and willingness of the check in agent; as well as company policy. From your telephone call it sounds like company policy is "maybe".

However, I am aware that other travellers have been refused a through-check on PS to other carriers even when the travel is on the same ticket. That wasn't from Gatwick, where PS probably do have a good team in place; but it is something to be concerned about. PS do not have a brilliant reputation for service quality either, although I accept that is a subjective view. On that basis I would not risk this myself.

The cost of a Russian transit visa (landside) for a UK citizen is about £90 and you will be without your passport for about a week. The Russian Embassy in London outsources visa processing to a contractor, http://ru.vfsglobal.co.uk/

If you do manage to get your bag checked through you should ensure that you present your bag receipt to the second airline as soon as possible on arrival in Moscow. The baggage system is not very intelligent at all and the second airline may never learn about your bag if you don't tell them about it.

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