We (Indian citizens) arrived India on July 1, 2016 from the USA. However, one of our (altogether four baggage were allowed for two) checked baggage didn't arrive yet. We contacted airways and they told us that it is with the US Customs. In addition, they told us they didn't have any clue why it is still being held. Airways did say that they communicated with US Customs; however, Customs didn't respond yet.

We booked a flight from the US to India. The flight goes from state A (US) to state B (US international airport) and then from state B (US international airport) to Abu Dhabi, and then Abu Dhabi to India. We were told that we should pick up all baggage in India. A surprising thing that the airline told us is that missing luggage is at the international airport of state C.

The questions here are:

  1. Is it possible for US Customs to hold baggage (as claimed by airways)?

  2. Is it possible for the baggage to be at the airport which is not in travel itinerary?

  • 2
    That is a strange case. What was your itinerary? What airport is your baggage supposedly at? Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 7:16
  • 2
    Thanks. It was from Detroit to Chicago to Abhudhabi to India. The luggage is at LGA (LaGuardia Airport, New York).
    – user227710
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 7:22
  • 1
    What's the airlines explanation for the fact that your luggage is supposedly at LGA?
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 7:26
  • 3
    I'd wager that the airline misrouted your luggage and is giving you the runaround. Customs would not have sent your bag to LGA. The airline might have sent the bag to LGA, either by mistake, or as the first step in the process of getting it on a series of flights to your final destination in India. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 8:06

2 Answers 2


Everything is possible (although not that likely):

  1. Customs certainly has the authority to do so. I always had the impression that, in general, they cared very little about what goes out of a country but there are things that are export-restricted (depending on the country of course): arts and antiquities, military technology (and that includes software, documents and parts, not only a full weapon system…), undeclared cash, protected animals and obviously everything that's flat-out banned like illegal drugs or forgeries.

  2. It's possible as well, it's much less common than delays or outright losses but I have heard about a few cases of wildly misplaced luggage (admittedly a few decades ago, I don't know if it's less likely today).


Yes, Customs can do pretty much anything they want, but, it sounds like someone is mis-reading what's in the PNR because LGA does not have Customs or any FIS.

If there was a reason to hold the bag, that would have happened at DTW.

So, as suggested above, the airline mis-handled the bag if it indeed end up at LGA. There, it's possible someone mis-read the tag thinking it came in from AUH.

This isn't common but it happens. It's good they know where the bag is so really all you can do is wait.


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