When you book a connecting trip, your checked luggage is often transported to your ultimate destination, and you will change aircraft. When you book a stopover trip, you must claim your luggage when you arrive at your layover location and recheck them the following day when you continue your travel (s).
In either case, your bags are transported by an airline staff member from one plane to another. You do not need to provide any identification material or pay any additional fees to have your luggage transported across terminals or countries.
Checked baggage costs vary depending on where you are traveling from and where you are going to, so check with your carrier before you book your tickets. In general, though, a bag that weighs less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg) can be sent as checked baggage if it fits in the overhead compartment of the airplane. Larger bags must be checked away from the passenger cabin in cargo facilities. These cargo areas are usually located next to the airport's main terminal or near other major airports, so make sure to find out which one is closest to you.
If your connection was not announced ahead of time, there is no way for you to know how long it will take to clear security and reach the other side of the airport. As a rule of thumb, though, if you expect to spend more than 30 minutes waiting for a flight, consider checking your bag.
For domestic layovers, your checked luggage will be tagged to your ultimate destination, so you won't have anything to do during your stopover. Your luggage will be transferred from the first flight to the second trip. If your first flight doesn't arrive for another hour or two, no problem - just go back to your room and wait.
For international layovers, it's a different story. During an international layover, you'll need to pick up your bag from where they left it on the carousel. Some airports may charge you for this service, so check with the baggage claim office before you leave for the airport.
Keep in mind that some airlines require you to bring your own luggage onto any subsequent flights within 24 hours of its arrival. If this is the case with your airline policy, you'll be notified when you make a reservation.
The only real disadvantage to having a late flight is that there's no way to get out of it. If your first flight is delayed, then your second flight should be as well. There are no standby arrangements for extended layovers.
In conclusion, a long layover can be a good thing if it gives you time to catch up on sleep or visit the bathroom.
What happens to your stuff if you have to change planes? If you are flying on a single ticket (the connection is guaranteed by the airline), your luggage will usually be checked through to your final destination. If you are changing flights, most airlines require you to check in any baggage that isn't part of your free allowance. They'll also keep your old tickets and details for reference.
In some cases, they may even be able to find your bag for you. But don't count on it. In many cases, they won't be able to find your bag or if they do, it will only be because you told them where it was parked!
If your bag isn't found within 30 days, there's a 50% chance it was lost at random after all. If it's still missing after 60 days, there's a 0% chance it will ever be found.
However, if you have ID with your name and address on it, they're more likely to send it back to you. Also, if you have a claim check from the original carrier standing by your door, they're more likely to send it back to you.
In short, don't count on it. But if you've done everything else you can, then there's no harm in checking.
If you're flying between airlines, you'll usually have to claim your bag and re-check it at a bag transfer station or at a regular airline check-in counter, though there are notable exceptions; United, for example, will automatically transfer bags when you fly with any other Star Alliance airline member. If your first flight is delayed or canceled, you should still be able to make your second flight on time if you use this strategy.
It's best to leave at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time of your next flight to allow for delays. However, if your first flight is significantly late, you might want to consider leaving yourself more time so you can stretch out your trip.
Here's how to avoid missing your connection:
1. Check with the agent waiting by the gate to see if there have been any delays. If all goes well, you should get a confirmation number with the estimated time of arrival for your next flight.
2. Wait by the exit door leading to the parking lot. If there's a delay, they'll call out the name of each passenger as they come out.
3. Once you hear your name called out, go back inside the terminal and take the next available flight.
This works even if you miss your original connection! Just make sure not to wait longer than 30 minutes after your scheduled departure time for your next flight.
If both airlines are on the same ticket (same alliance or not), your luggage are likely to be checked all the way to your ultimate destination. If they have different tickets, you will (most likely) have to collect and recheck their luggage between flights. Airline affiliations are immaterial in this case. However, it's always best to check with the respective carriers before a trip to make sure that their policies will allow them to accept each other's tickets.
When traveling with multiple airlines, it's important to understand how each policy applies. For example, if you leave something valuable in the hotel room at night but return in the morning to find it missing, what should you do? If the hotel doesn't charge for lost items, you could file a claim for the loss with each airline. But, if one of the airlines didn't take your bag from the first flight while the other one did on the second flight, how would they know about your missing item? You might want to keep track of which airline has which ticket numbers so that you can make sure to tell each company about any losses or delays during checking procedures.
Also note that some airlines require you to pay extra for additional bags. So if you're planning to travel with more than one pair of hands, make sure to ask how much extra it costs before you book your tickets.
Finally, remember that your baggage fees may vary depending on where you are in the world.