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I have a trip coming up with Air Canada for which the itinerary looks like this:

  1. YYZ - DXB
  2. DXB - YYZ followed by a 14 hour stopover
  3. YYZ - EWR

My objective is to end my journey at step 2 while being able to obtain my one checked bag.

The options I could think of so far:

  • I can ask the check-in agent in Dubai to check my bag only to YYZ but I don't know if this is even possible.
  • In Toronto, when flying to the U.S., one usually has to pre-clear U.S. Customs and so I am hoping I may be forced to pick up my bag before attempting to clear U.S. Customs.

Are any of the above alternatives feasible? Do I have any other options?

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Yes, you can do this. When you check in at DXB inform the check in agent that you have a long layover at YYZ and need to get your checked baggage there, and ask them to short check it.

If you don't do this, your baggage will be checked through to EWR, because it's no longer necessary for people transiting YYZ via US preclearance in T1 to go through Canada immigration and recheck their bags landside (except for overnight layovers). Such baggage would end up in the baggage claim in US preclearance, rather than the landside baggage claim where you want it to be.

Note that you'll get your baggage just fine, but the airline will be annoyed at you later, for engaging in "hidden city ticketing".

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    Where does U.S. customs processing happen, then? I thought the point of preclearance was that the flight is handled exactly like a domestic arrival at Newark, but if there hasn't been any customs processing already one would need to herd the arriving passengers towards the international baggage claim bypassing immigration, which sounds like it would be cumbersome for an airport that's not set up for that. – Henning Makholm Apr 26 '16 at 7:37
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    @HenningMakholm After you go through US passport control in Toronto, you hit baggage claim, then customs, then baggage drop-off, same as in the US. Of course if you haven't got any checked bags, then there's nothing for you to pick up in baggage claim there. The point of short checking here is that the bag will be routed to the baggage claim on the Canadian side, rather than the US preclearance side. – Michael Hampton Apr 26 '16 at 7:46
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    Then I don't understand what you mean by: "it's no longer necessary for people transiting YYZ via US preclearance in T1 to pick up and recheck their bags". – Henning Makholm Apr 26 '16 at 7:47
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    @HenningMakholm Hm, you're right, that's confusing. It used to be that you had to go through Canadian immigration, pick up your bags, and then check-in again before going through US preclearance. You no longer have to do that (unless you have an overnight layover); now you can transit directly to US preclearance from the international arrivals area. That's what I meant, and obviously didn't state it very well. – Michael Hampton Apr 26 '16 at 7:49
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    @MichaelHampton is it possible to take the bag from US preclearance and then exit the airport? – JonathanReez Apr 26 '16 at 7:55

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