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Flight from Seattle to Dublin via London -- What to Expect and Dare I Check My "Big" Bag

After watching the price of my preferred multi-city flight from Seattle to Dublin and back go up and down on Google Flights, I finally decided to fire up the VISA and book. I made the reservations through American Airlines. British Airways will be operating the flight to London as well as the return to Seattle from London 5 weeks later . Aer Lingus will be operating the one to Dublin. Those as well as my return to Seattle from London are all on the same ticket.

According to the Heathrow info on arrival to LHR and departure to DUB, transfer from my arrival at Terminal 5 and departure from Terminal 2 should take 90 minutes. I made sure to allow 3 hours and 20 minutes between the two flights. I think I've researched how that works pretty well and understand what I'll need to do. If the BA flight is very late, there are many flights from LHR to DUB after the one I'm ticketed for.

As best I can tell, largely from reading Forum discussions on transferring through LHR to flights for other locations, I can check my major bag (actually carry-on size, cost is covered in my reservation) through to DUB. Having always packed light, almost always carried on and rarely checked bags over the past several years, the thought of checking a bag, especially with a plane change is scary to me. However, those who do it have made some good points, and I'll be taking my hiking poles.

So my questions are:
1. Has anyone had issues with this particular transfer, whether the BA flight was on time or not?
2. Has anyone had issues with their luggage arriving in Dublin okay if they have to take a later flight?

3. I'll arrive in Dublin on 21 July, 3 nights before my RS Best of Ireland in 14 days tour starts on 24 July and we will be in Dublin 2 nights. If my bag goes AWOL, will it make to me in what amounts to 4 days?

Thanks for any experiences you've had with this transfer, positive or negative. I want to hear them all.

Posted by
5109 posts

I wouldn't expect that you would have any difficulties. That doesn't mean that something can't go wrong, but I have never had a bag not make it with me while transferring through London. Just make sure you have your medications, passport, etc with you and one change of clothing to "be sure."

I like to check a bag because it frees me up in the airports on transfers.

Posted by
3175 posts

Our experience with lost bags is that your bag is highly likely to find it's way to Dublin within 4 days.

Posted by
21709 posts

I think the lost bag is one of the over discussed items. Over the past sixty years we check maybe half or a little more and have only one delayed bag and that was within the US. It can happen and it is a pain in the butt when it happens but your probability is so low it is hard to determine. Make sure you bag is well tagged both inside and out, take a photo on your photo and relax. Be sure you know you exact address for the next three or four nights so that if you have to file a claim you can tell them where to ship your bags. Don't have anything in the checked bag that is critical for the next couple of days. You can always buy a second tooth brush. AND -- no experience -- try the Apple ID flob that is supposed to track you luggage. But -- lost luggage is very low on my worry list.

Posted by
713 posts

I agree with Frank. The fact is that while passenger enplanements have risen by multiples over the past couple of decades lost luggage has gone down year over year, to a fraction of what it used to be. Sure - it can happen, and we all hear the stories. We don't hear the infinitely more stories of times when... nothing happened.

Posted by
838 posts

I'm a carryon-only guy. After losing my bag more than twice, I'd never let it out of my sight, never again. Period. Going carryon-only also enables me to pack appropriately.

Luggage arriving with you is a binary event, it either happens or it does not. There are no odds, no statistics, that sway the event to your satisfaction. Like flipping a coin, previous experience has not the slightest influence on the outcome of any future events. None. Consider also there are other ways your bag can be separated from you, outside of the institutional systems. My bag was once taken off the carousel by someone who thought it was theirs. Took me 48 hours to get it back. Never again.

Hope you make all your connections! Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
1259 posts

Regardless of the length of journey, our minimum to Europe is 10 days and prefer three weeks, we always pack only a carry on case for each of us and NEVER check luggage. We have learned to adapt our clothing needs to staying within the constraints of a carry on. Hence, our travel life is truly less stressful.

Posted by
843 posts

I would check the bag. BUT I would carry on anything I couldn’t do without for a day or two: medications, phone chargers, etc. If your bag is delayed, it will most likely arrive before you leave on your tour. If it doesn’t, your trip insurance will cover a little shopping spree!

Posted by
3680 posts

Thanks for the encouraging and realistic comments. I will definitely follow the usual guidelines about having the basics with me, no matter what. And I'll do all the things suggested for identification purposes.

My reason for such concern is that on a trip to Montreal from Seattle via Vancouver, someone took my husband's bag. Of course, being new to flying in general, much less internationally, he didn't follow my advice and put his meds in that bag, not the one he carried on board.

Well, he at least had his underwear with him. We had to shop for everything else (including a new bag) and to try to get his BP medication for the 10 days we were there. The former was successful. The latter not. We kept checking with Air Canada, I think it was. No one we talked to seemed to care.

The bag was finally returned to us about a week after we got home to Tacoma. It had gone to China!

I'm trusting that my bag will make the full journey to Dublin from Seattle. If it gets lost on the nonstop flight back home, it won't be the big deal it would be if it gets lost on the way there.

Posted by
843 posts

If you are a couple traveling together and both checking bags: each of you pack a couple outfits in the other person’s bag. That way if one bag is delayed, you still have some clothing.