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My girlfriend is traveling from Beijing to New York City. However, she has a connection in Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Will she need to re-check/re-claim her baggage in Abu Dhabi or will it be routed all the way to NYC?

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    Usually, one booking means luggage goes all the way. In some countries, if you have a domestic connection after an international flight (when you cross the border and pass through customs), you have to collect it and check it again. I have seen it in China and Canada, other countries probably have a similar rule. – Vince Jul 21 '15 at 0:23
  • The airline is Etihad Airways. – Shoogiebaba Jul 21 '15 at 0:29
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    @Vince The customs-at-entry part (for domestic connections) is universally true outside Europe. I am not aware of any exceptions. – Calchas Jul 21 '15 at 11:19
  • My understanding is that if one has even an international transfer in the US one must recheck luggage, but I have no personal experience of this. I know that one must clear passport control but I am not certain about customs. – phoog Jul 21 '15 at 15:29
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    @phoog Yes, US Customs must be cleared for int-int except in a very small number of cases (your bag gets a big red label with "International to International" or "ITI" printed on it, only available at MIA and DFW with participating airlines); and for through-flights with a stop in the US such as NZ 1/2 operating AKL-LHR via LAX. – Calchas Jul 21 '15 at 19:55
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As you are flying on Etihad Airways, your baggage will be checked all the way through.

You can even avail US pre-clearance which is available at Abu Dhabi to avoid delays when landing in NYC.

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If you bought the tickets together, then typically yes, the luggage will be transferred for you. If you bought the tickets separately from two different airlines, then typically no. If you are just changing planes within the same airline, always yes.

  • If you bought the tickets separately, you can sometimes still ask the check in staff to arrange for a baggage transfer. They can tell you if it's possible or if you need to go to a baggage transfer counter on the transit airport. – Lie Ryan Jul 22 '15 at 1:35
  • Apparently there is a thing called an "interlining agreement" between airlines. I don't know how it works. – Malvolio Jul 22 '15 at 3:15
  • @pnuts -- the US is a special case. Alone (afaik) among the nations, we have no exit controls: you just walk out. The downside of this is, there is no "airside" at the airport. If you change planes at a US airport, you must go through passport control and demonstrate you have the legal right to enter the US (you can get a simpler, but not simple, transit visa). Of necessity, you go through Customs, with your carry-on luggage. It may be that your airline will give you your checked luggage so you can take it through too. I just don't know. – Malvolio Jul 22 '15 at 14:00
  • @pnuts -- if you transfer from an international flight to a domestic one, you always (afaik) have to get your luggage and walk it through customs. If it were interlined from international to domestic, it would never go through customs at all. – Malvolio Jul 22 '15 at 20:14

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