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Luggage Queston

I am traveling across the US (3 legs) to Naples Italy ( 2 legs). I ticketed with United for the whole trip, using their partners.
When I check my luggage in California, do I have to pick up my bag in Brussels ad recheck or will it be checked all the way through t Naples?

Posted by
15564 posts

Are you saying there are five legs between when you first get on in California until you arrive in Naples?

Technically, you shouldn't see your bag until Naples However, with that many legs, I'd pack a change of clothes in my carry on.

And make sure the bag has contact information for you both inside and out.

Posted by
1078 posts

Wow! You like to live on the edge! With that many legs, I would carry-on. We normally check our bag going, however, it's never been more than one change of planes. Also, where you are flying through and time between flights ups the odds of whether you will see your bag or not. For example, a "legal connect" in BRU is 55 minutes-grandsons' bag made the connection, wifes' didn't and they chased us around Sicily for 4 days. Other choke points in my travels' with customers' and business associates have been CDG and Heathrow, both of which were nightmares working with American and Air France. Finally, we have (and are) always travelled with a backpack and Rick's carry-on for trips of up to 3 weeks. When the wife of friends we travel with showed her photos to her elderly aunt, she commented "you always have the same cloths on! That's life with a carry-on!

Posted by
11294 posts

If you are all on one ticket, you should be able to check your bag through to Naples. When you check in for your first flight, make sure your tag says NAP.

If you are not all on one ticket, show them the various tickets and ask if they will check bags to Naples. Reports here indicate that even if you are told in advance that they will not, they sometimes will at the airport itself.

Assuming your bags are tagged NAP, you will not see them until Naples. You will go through customs in Naples, but this is merely a matter of walking through the "Green Channel - Nothing To Declare" line. Unless you are "randomly selected for additional screening (rare but possible), you're done.

You will go through passport control on your first entry to the Schengen zone. If you post your entire itinerary, we can give more details.

I agree with Frank that you should have 2 days of clothes in your carry-on, but that's not just for this itinerary - that's for any time bags are checked. And if you have extra space in the carry-on, bring more underwear. You can re-wear clothes more easily then underwear, if your bags are seriously delayed for any reason.

Posted by
4171 posts

You don't say how long your trip is or what airlines will be operating the flights. Whether you can carry-on or not, how big your carry-on can be and weigh, even those sizes for checked baggage, will be affected by the operating airline(s).

Speaking as a person who packs for a week, travels for 4 weeks minimum and does laundry along the way, my recommendation would be to do your best to pack light enough to carry-on for all those 5 (!) legs. The only time I check a bag is when there is no other option or maybe on a nonstop on the way back home. Five opportunities for a checked bag to go astray are way too dicey for me.

Posted by
470 posts

It is entirely possible that your luggage will not arrive with you, and as long as you are prepared for that it will be fine. We flew United from California through Brussels onto a third-leg destination last year. We had more than two hours connection time, and our luggage was still left behind at the Brussels airport. The United partner airplanes were parked WAY OUT from the terminal (took a shuttle bus to get us to our plane), so that may be the weak link in the luggage transfer process. We knew the risk, and found it acceptable because we were going to be at our first destination for four days. Our luggage caught up with us after two days. From this point forward we will always carry on. (At least outbound. Coming home is a different issue if we have found significant souvenirs.)

Posted by
23431 posts

Unlikely is too strong a term to use. Over the years, we have done several multi leg flights and the luggage always make it. The more legs you have the greater the possibility of luggage not making it but it will the vast majority of the time. But it wise to be prepared with a good carry-on. With five legs, I hope that was a $600 ticket.

Posted by
19151 posts

I've done several multi-leg trips, and my luggage has always arrived with me. But then I carry on. That's the only way to be sure.

However, if your travel is all on one ticket, your luggage should be checked through to Naples, and you won't see it until then - eventually.

Posted by
1194 posts

There's loads of factors in the luggage connection question.
* Is one of the legs a commuter airline? That increases the probability of misconnect. Especially if your luggage is heavy
* who are the United partners?
* are they in different terminals?
* which airports are the transfers at?

Some airports are way better at transferring luggage than others. Anytime you interline you increase the probability of lost bags.

If I had that many legs I would for sure be doing carry on only.