I have a return ticket from New York to Los Angeles with United. The return leg is a direct flight but the outbound leg is via Chicago. I had understood it to be a direct flight but the confirmation says "stops at Chicago", which suggests it's not a transit. What does this mean? Will I have to recheck my bags at Chicago or will they be transfered for me?
If you have booked a single ticket (as opposed to two separate ones), your bags should be checked all the way through to Los Angeles. The check-in agent will tag your bags to Los Angeles when you check them in, and you won't need to pick them up in Chicago. With a little luck, they'll be waiting for you at the baggage claim in LA.