Should I just check the bag??

My plan was to have one carry on and one personal item for our upcoming trip to Italy -- we are going Seattle to Amsterdam Amsterdam to Rome on Delta but really KLM and the last leg is a code share with Alitalia operating the AMS to FCO leg.

My RS roll on meets the size and weight requirements but I've heard that if it has wheels Alitalia will make you check it.

Do I just check the bag and SEA rather than deal with gate checking it in a jet lagged state in Amsterdam or roll the dice?

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
1348 posts

Will you be staying in Rome for s few days ? (Long enough for your bag to be delivered to the hotel? ) if yes, i'd feel OK with checking in SEA; if not, I would probably try to hold onto my bag as long as possible.
(Coming back from Italy we checked roller bags on Alitalia/KLM via Amsterdam -- and everything got home with us.)

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
14171 posts

Checked bags are lost or delayed every day. It's really difficult to lose or delay a bag that's carried on.

Posted by gone
2081 posts


if you dont mind having/carrying/dragging it with you, id just bring it along until someone tells you not to.

worse case, you have to check it in on your last leg.

happy trails and have a great trip.

Posted by Wray
Boston, ma, usa
518 posts

Check it, but get to the airport reasonably early so the bag has time to make the flight. If you know your address after you land, no worries, if the bag is delayed they will deliver it to you. Delivery has it's benefits…no lugging!

Posted by Kyla
Ypsilanti, MI, USA
217 posts

For my first 10 years of travel, I carried on, but now (with the same bag), I check it when there's no additional fee (such as on flights to Europe). Since I'm usually flying the cheapo tickets, I often have long layovers (in Amsterdam, in Milan, in New York, and [this year] 8 hours in Miami!), and not hauling the bag around then is great.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
9302 posts

If you check it, just don't tell anyone here.
On this site, it's a sin to even think of checking a bag.
Okay, confession time: I sometimes check a bag (don't tell anyone here).

Posted by Judy
Rockford, IL
69 posts


I am one of those who may or may not check my luggage. The last time I traveled to Europe in 2011, I was flying via American. I was able to carryon my 21" roller bag (they were a little more lenient back then). It was stuffed full with out expansion. I am still amazed at what I had in there. This trip I am flying Lufthansa direct from Chicago to Frankfurt. I hate being called a bag lady so I am not sure whether to check or carry on. I also choose to take direct flights when ever possible and then at least I know my luggage does not have to get on another plane with me. I would aim for carrying on when ever possible. I am limited to 8kg or 18#. I am still working on it wait. I am currently at 14#, that includes everything for my personal bag too. I think I will be good. Good luck with your travels.

Posted by stan
Kansas City
1210 posts


Compromise. Consider checking a bag, packed with those things that are replaceable if bag delayed. But if you do so, also take a smaller carryon that has the most important things with you. If you're checking a bag, no rule against also using a carryon.

Traveling light makes travel easier, but if it doesn't work for you in this situation, don't sweat it. I always check a bag on the return flight, full of used clothes, books, etc

Posted by Ginger
253 posts

I don't care about sinning :)

I hate having the bag with me when I have long layovers.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
3415 posts

If you decide to check your bag, just make sure that you carry on a change or two of clothes and any necessities in case your checked bag goes missing. However, usually gate checking is pretty straight-forward (however, if you have any valuables in your rollaboard, be prepared to pull them out and carry on ... you can always pack them inside another bag). It is only when security sends you back to the check-in counter that it is a hassle.

I always check my bag on transatlantic flights for convenience (I hate carting bag around airport). I also put a couple of changes of clothes in my daypack along with tickets and valuables. If my bag doesn't arrive (and I've had that happen) with me, I'm still fine. If your bag goes missing, file a claim before you leave the airport and ask the airline if they have a toiletries kit for you. Air France gave me one that included a T-shirt which at least gave me something to sleep in.

Posted by gone
2081 posts


My first international trip i checked in my baggage. It was for work so the flights were not my choice, but i had a 30 minute layover in SFO. I made the plane, but our (co worker and mine) luggage didnt. Final destination was Southampton, UK via LHR. It took them 3 days to find the luggage and BA wasn't going to deliver it since they said it was too far. We were leaving for Calais, France the next day and I TOLD them to deliver it since we were leaving the next day for France. They did deliver it, but after that no more check-in baggage unless my carry ons are too large for that particular airline or if I'm on my trip back home. I dont care if i check it in on my way back home and they loose my pack/bag since i will be home and have all i need.

there was another trip for work that left me in Chicago in Shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops and no luggage with -10F and snow on the ground. but thats another story.

do what floats your boat and happy trails.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1994 posts

Having flown several Delta/KLM/Alitalia code shares, I would never voluntarily check my luggage on the way to Europe – and that's based on ugly experience. I'll sometimes check it on the way home, since I don't care if my dirty laundry gets home late. On a Delta flight starting with Alitalia and ending with KLM, it took one week for my luggage to get home to me. I don't know which accounted for the delay. I do know that when they finally left a voice mail telling me how to get my luggage, the message was unintelligible. I listened over and over again, and I had coworkers listen – no one could figure out the phone number they were leaving. I tried dialing a number of best guesses, none of which were right. I tried to call the airline luggage folks, and the SFO numbers on the internet were not correct. When I finally got a number that was answered, they said the luggage was now with a third-party vendor – but they had no way of telling me who that was. I finally found the numbers of the third-party services that handle found luggage at SFO, and called them until I found out who had the luggage. I was already home, which made this marginally tolerable. I wouldn't want to think about doing it while moving around Europe.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24207 posts


I've always checked my main Backpack, and so far haven't experienced any problems with that approach. I normally use code share flights, so I check it at my home airport and pick it up at my final destination. I would NOT want to be hauling it around during layovers (I typically have to use three flights to get to Europe).

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
1348 posts

I seem to have this question for every trip -- and I always seem to forget that the TRAIN travel is where the baggage gets messy to handle.