I have an international flight out of a USA airport recently and I've never been through one before (on the way out that is) so this is a question whose answer is not immediately obvious to me.

I 've never been asked to place any items found in my carry-on luggage with the hold luggage, but I am wondering how would that work in practice? In all international airports I've traveled from, you typically hand over you hold luggage during check-in so by the time you reach the baggage screening area you don't have it with you.

So, if you are asked to place something with the hold luggage, what exactly happens? Do you go back to the check-in counter, wait in the queue a second time, and then ask them to please bring out your luggage as you have something more you need to add to it? Or is your entire carry-on baggage placed into the hold? What if you only travel with hold luggage and a backpack or some other bag (e.g. notebook bag) that cannot be placed with the hold luggage?

The item(s) in question are mechanical keyboards so I'll be set back a few hundreds of USD if the only option at that point is to discard them. I've asked a related question and at least of the answers I received indicates that there is a (slim) possibility I may be asked to check them in, hence this question.

  • The chances are slim the airline will return your checked bags to add items to it. That's a lot of work for them. You'll either have to pay them to check your carry on, or a generous agent might waive it. That's one reason TSA accumulates many semi expensive artifacts because people just trash them instead of having to pay for a new checked bag.
    – user57303
    May 17, 2017 at 0:47
  • Pay who? the TSA? What if your bag cannot be practically checked in? (i.e. a backpack or some other very thin container) May 17, 2017 at 1:03
  • The airline is not responsible for your oversight @marcusjuniusbrutus. You can only plead, find a bag and bag it, or leave it behind.
    – user57303
    May 17, 2017 at 1:18
  • 1
    Are you talking only about security asking you to check the luggage in question, or are you including the airline asking you to gate check the luggage? I'd be more concerned about the latter happening because you got stuck on a plane that's short on overhead bin space... May 17, 2017 at 4:23
  • 1
    @UnrecognizedFallingObject I am talking only about security asking me to check the luggage. May 17, 2017 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


You would go back to the airline's check-in counter, wait in line, and check your item as an additional bag. The airline would charge you their standard baggage fee (e.g. if you had already checked one bag, they would charge you the fee for a second bag). Then you would return to the security checkpoint, wait in line there, and pass security, hopefully successfully this time.

If the item isn't sturdy enough for checked luggage, you could try to buy a box or suitcase or other container to put it in, if the airport has an appropriate store. The airline check-in agent might have suggestions.

If all else fails, or if the item isn't legal to fly in either checked or carry-on luggage, you'll have to either leave it behind (e.g. in your car, or with a friend, or travel somewhere to drop it off, or mail it from the airport if available), or throw it away, or miss your flight.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .