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I just missed my check-in luggage bags because I ran late from the immigration check in Boston (flew in from London in British Airways). By the time I got to the carousel, the baggage were all gone and the BA office was closed. My friend (whose contact I had listed on the baggage tag) got a call saying I'll have to collect the bag at my destination (Pittsburgh) . (My next flight here from Boston is to Pittsburgh) Since my friend got the call, does that mean the BA folks will do the customs check-in for the 3 bags themselves , or do I have to miss my flight here in Boston and contact the BA reps the next day? Please advise. Very stressed at the moment.

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    Did you get a property irregularity report before you left the airport from baggage services? Why did your ‘friend’ get the call about your baggage instead of you, was he the lead traveller on the reservation? What happened to his bags? Do not miss your flight without consulting with BA. – Calchas Aug 12 '16 at 7:34
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    @Calchas my friend got the call because I had mentioned his number on my luggage tag. – j9lad Aug 12 '16 at 8:52
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    @PoojithJain I find it surprising that a baggage handler really read that tag and tried to call you. I also find it surprising that a handler picked up your bags, realized you had an onward flight and then arranged for your bag to be transported onwards. I would definitely call BA and find out if that is really what's going on. – Calchas Aug 12 '16 at 9:53
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Do not miss your flight if you aren't sure. If you get to the point where it is nearly time to board the flight and this hasn't been resolved, proceed to boarding and raise the issue with personnel at the boarding desk.

The call you received suggests taking the flight is the right course of action, but someone at the desk might be able to give you more help. If you aren't able to get a definitive answer, I would probably board the flight based on the information in the call.

If you have some extra time before boarding, you might:

  • Try the office of your connecting airline. BA has only a few flights into Boston, and thus probably has a limited presence in the airport. But your onward travel will be on a US-based airline, which probably has more staff in the airport, and may have longer hours. I would check to see if they can help you.
  • Call BA about the problem. They will have a US helpline, though it may have limited hours and not be open. If it is a 1-800 number, you can usually call these free from a pay phone.
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I would say it's not a totally irregular occurrence for a passenger not to pick up luggage prior to a connecting flight after entering the US. Reasons would include immigration delays, as suffered by the OP, and passengers being confused about the fact that they need to pick up bags and recheck. Also, some passengers may be more worried about catching a connection that they are about their luggage.

e.g. from Flyertalk:

I'm on an ex-EU trip and I've just flown OSL-LHR-DEN-LAX.

Unfortunately, due to my stupidity (I knew this but I forgot) and to BA's failure to instruct me (no one at Oslo or Heathrow informed me), I didn't collect my bag and checked it in again at Denver. I've reported to AA in LAX, and they said they'll deliver it to my hotel.

Or this one:

I had this happen once on AA, basically my flight was late and my luggage didn't come up with the rest so seeing has how I was going to miss the last connecting flight of the night I asked if I should wait for the bag or go on through. I was instructed by staff in the arrivals hall at ORD to go on through and then file a lost luggage claim once I reached MCI. I did just that and three days later my bag was delivered to my house an hour away from the airport.

Also an old thread with some anecdotes.

I would suggest that airlines have procedures for handling bags that are left on the carousel and have already been tagged onwards. As @dan1111 says, it makes sense to contact BA and/or your onward carrier to confirm the status of all your bags as soon as possible.

  • In both those cases the passenger obtained a PIR and gave a forwarding address in the process. For an airline spontaneously to forward the pax's bags without his consent is very odd. What if he had been refused entry? Or decided to change his itinerary? Now the airline has to send the bags back again. – Calchas Aug 12 '16 at 16:25
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    @Calchas Does the airline really care about forwarding luggage back and forward? I don't know what the procedure is, but I'm guessing it's not an exact science. – Berwyn Aug 12 '16 at 16:34

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