Every day, BA flies about a dozen flights from London to Terminal 7 in New York's JFK airport. London Heathrow doesn't offer US pre-clearance, and based on lengthy discussions on flyertalk, won't be able to offer it any time soon either. London City doesn't have pre-clearance.

One quirk though is BA1. The BA 318s from London City can cross the atlantic on a full tank, but can't take off from LCY fully fueled, so stop off in Shannon in Ireland. BA3 rocks up in Shannon after the CBP staff have clocked off for the day, but BA1 normally makes it in time for passengers to undergo pre-clearance while the plane re-fuels. As such, passengers on BA1 normally arrive in the USA pre-cleared, don't need to go through immigration on arrival, and don't need to collect their luggage + clear customs on arrival.

My understanding is that most people on the "BA Babybus" LCY-JFK services travel hand luggage only, and also don't connect. People with checked luggage are therefore unusual on the service, and people connecting with luggage even more so.

For the odd unusual person flying LCY-JFK-(elsewhere), with checked luggage, on BA1, what's the luggage transfer situation in New York? Is through-tagged luggage automatically transferred? Or do you still need to collect your luggage on arrival into JFK (though in the domestic collections area), then re-check it for onwards travel?

1 Answer 1


As explained in another thread on FlyerTalk, your baggage has cleared customs in Shannon so it may be transferred onto onward destinations. No further examination by US Customs is required at JFK.

However, the layout at JFK Terminal 7 means that there is no easy facility to take bags onto the inter-terminal transfer system from the gate that BA 1 uses. Nor was onward baggage handling considered a priority when the BA1-4 service was launched (it is not intended for connectors). So instead all the bags end up on the domestic reclaim carousel.

After about thirty minutes any remaining bags on the carousel are collected by ground staff, and at that point, forwarded over to the appropriate terminal for onward flights. Bags are moved between T7 and T8 approximately once per hour.

The minimum connect time between T7 and T8 is two hours (even if arriving precleared), so in principle your bag should make your subsequent AA or US flight. However you can see that the process has some possibility of failure.

Therefore you may wish to grab your bag off the carousel if you see it and transfer it on the air train yourself to T8. You can simply hand it over at the First check in desk with a quick explanation.

The alternative method mentioned in the thread (I've never tried this) is to talk to BA Special Services as soon as you get off the plane who will ensure your bag is interlined immediately instead of sent onto the domestic carousel.

  • 2
    Some people on today's flight tried the "telling the groundstaff" option, and they think it worked. I opted for collect + stash duty free + re-check, but the AA staff will look at you like you're from Mars when you turn up in T8 with a bag with through-checked luggage tags on it...
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 19:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .