Travel Tip of the Day: Don’t Check a Bag When Making a Connection

Ticket counterDon’t Check a Bag When Making a Connection
I rarely check a bag when flying, and it’s not because I want to save on baggage fees (although that would be more important if I didn’t already get two free checked bags because I’m an elite flyer on several airlines). I don’t check bags because: a) It’s time-consuming to show up early and then on the other side to wait for your bag at baggage claim, and b) You lose your freedom to jump on an earlier flight if yours is delayed.
And then there’s c): When airlines lose your bag, it’s a real pain. And did you know that passengers with at least one connection are the most likely to arrive without their bag? And almost half (45 percent) of all delayed bags come from transfer flights.



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About the Author

Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

12 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: Don’t Check a Bag When Making a Connection"

  1. Actually, I find the total opposite. I need to fly small planes from this area (Central Illinois). Nothing bigger than a pocketbook can be taken on board. If I have a carry-on, it must be gate checked. Unless I have a long layover, waiting at the gate for my carry-on can cause you to miss your connection.

    On the opposite end, if you have a long layover, you’re stuck lugging around a bag and taking the chance of something getting lost or stolen.

    I know most frequent flyers try not to check luggage, but between the reasons above and the fact that my “home” is often up in the air and across the world, I like to have a selection of my things with me. I always have to change planes and I still check my bags 95% of the time.

  2. Robert Martin | April 9, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Reply

    I find most of your comments just common sense and really only useful to totally inexperienced travelers. Very little of valu.

    • Dear Robert Martin,
      I enjoy these excellent tips. However – curiously enough – even though you picture youself as a very experienced traveller, I found YOUR comment a yawn.

  3. I rarely check bags anymore unless absolutely necessary. If you do, be sure to have travel insurance that covers baggage delay. Mine was delayed after my Hawaiian flight to Tahiti was canceled due to mechanical problems. To their credit they did whisk me to LAX to jump on an ATN flight to Tahiti with no further delays, but my bags were stuck on that Hawaiian flight. I used all $500 of our travel insurance buying clothes and swimsuits in Tahiti and Bora Bora. The bags showed up on our last day in Bora Bora.

  4. This all depends on how much you need to carry, how many transfers you need to make, and how much transfer time you have available. I’ve had my luggage delayed a couple of times, one on transfer, the other not. The main reason I check my baggage is that I don’t want to carry my backpack, drag my suitcase or roll any of them for several hours in a large, boring airport. Johnny: You’re an elite flyer of several airlines. Consequently you have access to lounges. The rest of us don’t. :)

  5. I agree about the lost bags and connections. We went to Hungary last year, Lufthansa/Swissair separated us from our bags on both flights. Had connections in Chicago.

  6. I am usually right there with you but not this time. I am short to start with so getting any kind of a bag in the overhead compartment requires standing on the seat. Someone else always comes along and shoves something in front of my bag which means getting it out is next to impossible . I find the time you wait for everyone on that plane to get their bags out of the overhead is just as long as waiting in the baggage area and I can move around in fresh air there. I fully support the new airline policy of checking your overhead bag size. I think people exhibit their rudest behavior ,on a plane, when it comes to their overhead bags!

  7. Excellent tip about not checking bag with a connection. Do want to provide some feedback about an earlier tip relative to putting your excess Euros on your Starbucks card at the airport when heading back to US. We tried to do this at CDG in Paris but say refused. Said the airport Starbucks was a franchise and they couldn’t do it. Just thought you might want to know.

  8. I kind of have to disagree with you on this one too. Frist of all, I hate draging around loads of handluggage, it is stressfull and a pain in the ass. I travel a lot and I rarely loos my bag, or the airline rarely loose my bag. It kind of never happens, and the one time it happend to me abroad I got to go shopping to buy what I neede (travelinsurance is a great thing)! When it comes to the transfer time and cheked bags it is so easy. Just book one through going ticket and the airline will take care of you :) Make sure you have at least one hour between the flights, the standard is only 45 minutes in most airports. It is what you make it to be ;)

  9. Why did you use the SAS chekin counter (I think it is EWR) in you post????? ;)

  10. My goal is to get in and out of the airport with as little hassle in possible, and to that end, I usually ship my things beforehand so they are already waiting at my hotel. I trust a commercial shipping company more than the airlines, and it is very convenient.

    Granted, this is only for long stays, generally the holidays. For quick business trips, I have learned to get it all in my carry on limit. Speed and efficiency is the name of the game!

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