I am curious if there are any countries other than the USA where you are required to collect your luggage even when you are either just in transit to another country or are not at your final destination in the USA yet.

It always struck me as odd since the luggage is technically not yet in the country and in the case of transit to another country, never will be, all the while increasing their workload quite a bit and leading to higher required transit time allotment.

Since I'm planning on traveling quite a bit in the near future, it would be nice to know if I am going to run into this phenomenon more often.

  • There's Canada. Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 4:31
  • Also note that in the US, you don't have to claim and recheck your bags for connecting domestic flights, or when leaving the United States. It's only something you'd have to do when you first enter the country. The US, for a variety of reasons (geography and visa policy among them) doesn't see a large volume of international-to-international traffic, so US airports aren't built with secure international transfer areas. Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 4:52
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    @ZachLipton Before 9/11, the US had a very liberal TWOV program; only a few countries' nationals weren't eligible to transit the US without a visa. In addition to relatively low transit traffic, there was not perceived to be a need to build secure international transit areas. This may be changing at some airports within the next few years; I've been hearing that some airports may build such areas in the next decade. And there is already I2I baggage handling at IAH. Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 5:30
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    Some low-cost-carriers in Europe and Asia only sell point-to-point flights and don't officially offer connecting flights. On these airlines, you'd need to collect your luggage, take it back to check-in outside the secure area (going through any immigration controls that you're subject to, for non-intra-Schengen flights), and go back inside to continue your trip. Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 8:20
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    A few years ago I was travelling to scotland from Europe on a certain Irish low cost carrier flights via Gatwick (so 2 legs on this airline). We arrived, queued through passport control, waited an age for bags, raced up to departures, queued at the desk to check bags back in, pushed through security (time getting very tight), raced to gate for 1 min before gate closure, to find we were getting onto the VERY SAME plane we had come off, as Glasgow was next detination for the crew, not happy at that as it was a huge stress (despite the same airline saying it was plenty of time when booked). Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 15:54

3 Answers 3


Mexico is another country that enforces that policy. Had to collect my luggage in Mexico City airport and put it back after customs. Also in Cancun every passenger have to do this.


There's also Canada that has a similar policy, I had to reclaim and recheck bags in Vancouver coming back from Tokyo to Montreal, and in Halifax flying back from Iceland.

The Montreal airport provides a convenient guide for different connections:


If your flight originated outside Canada or the United States and you need to take a connecting flight to another international destination, there are two possible options:

If your airline offers the option of automatically transferring your luggage, you must go to the special International Connections customs counter.

If your airline does not offer the option of automatically transferring your luggage, you must pick it up yourself from the carousel, then follow the normal procedures for international arrivals, then for international departures.

  • @ZachLipton nice catch, updated
    – blackbird
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 19:10

Yes. Manila, Philippines (so Philippines ) took me under armed guard out of the 'transit' zone to identify my bag, and have it manually rechecked, before returning me to the box of 'transit' passengers. This happened to every passenger in the box, at 3am. It was a bizarre experience.

I also had to do it in Madrid, Spain several times before exiting Europe or entering Europe. I suspect it's the EU border, but anyway, I had to do it during LGW->MAD->JNB and JNB->MAD->LHR, and LGW->MAD->EZE as well.

  • I wonder what happened to passengers without a Schengen visa in the Madrid scenario.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 11:05

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