Do I have to check luggage through to my final destination?
February 17, 2007 6:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering skipping out on the last leg of a domestic US trip (AA). If I do this, can I check luggage, and simply ask it not to be checked through to my final destination? Or am I stuck with carryons only?
posted by kickingtheground to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Carry-ons only.

If its the last leg of the trip, its no big deal. However if its not the very last leg of your itinerary, then you will void the rest of your ticket.
posted by SirOmega at 7:07 PM on February 17, 2007

It is possible for the airline to check your bag only part way (I have done this before when traveling overseas, just to make certain my bag doesn't end up going where I'm not), but you'll need a plausible reason. "I'm going to skip the last flight" isn't a good reason — they might cancel your reservation even on the earlier flights.

Note also some check-in agents don't know how to do this, since it's kind of rare. They might have to call over a more experienced person.
posted by raf at 9:15 PM on February 17, 2007

I have skipped out on the last leg of planned itineraries several times (never tell them that you plan to do this), but each time I had only carry-on luggage. I always called the airline to see if that last leg has any financial value that they could credit to me, but so far no luck (on NWA, Delta, and United). And you can call AA to verify, but in the past I've never figured out how to get a bag checked to a stopover instead of to my final destination. I've been told it's a "post-9/11 security issue". Please, raf, tell us what would be considered a "plausible reason"?

If you're not used to traveling with only carry-ons, is a great resource. Once you learn how to do it, you'll find it's the only way to fly. If you must have large liquid toiletry items, just purchase them at your destination or mail them to yourself at your hotel/destination.

I'm a weekly business flyer who always travels carry-on, but leisure trips with the family in the past always involved checked bags. But no more. I recently convinced my wife, and last month we took a trip to Mexico with out 2 year-old with only carry-on bags with no wheels. It was super-easy, and she's sold on it. I used a MEI Voyageur pack (as mentioned on doesn't sell online so you have to order by phone). My wife used this bag and liked it a lot. Both of these bags have nice hip belts to lighten the load.
posted by Bradley at 9:39 PM on February 17, 2007

Also, I should note that if you do carry bags, and then not show up for the last leg of your trip, they will take your bags off the plane, so they probably wont end up at your destination, but I really have no idea how you'll get them back (maybe AA will deliver them to your home address you supplied when you bought the ticket - via credit card info).
posted by SirOmega at 1:09 AM on February 18, 2007

Also, I should note that if you do carry bags, and then not show up for the last leg of your trip, they will take your bags off the plane

This generally is not the case. You're probably thinking of Positive Passenger Bag Matching, which is a security measure that requires a passenger to be on the same flight as his/her bag. In the US, this is required for international flights, but is not required on domestic flights. For a domestic flight, the checked bag is likely to continue to the final destination, whether or not the the passenger gets off early.
posted by blue mustard at 6:50 AM on February 18, 2007

However if its not the very last leg of your itinerary, then you will void the rest of your ticket.

My experience is different. I was travelling last week with a colleague who did not use an AA first segment ticket (Dallas to Chicago), but did check in at ORD for the second segment (Chicago to London).

Still, maybe this only worked because it was an international flight... but there wasn't anything else unusual about the ticket (I booked it myself, so I know it was booked as a normal DFW -> LHR flight).

I'd say pore over an airline's rules and restrictions before assuming a ticket will be cancelled for skipping a segment.
posted by pineapple at 4:00 PM on February 18, 2007

I've done this with check-in luggage often. However, this was for Malaysian Airlines, so YMMV.
posted by divabat at 4:35 PM on February 18, 2007

Oh yeah, there wasn't much fuss, and the rest of my flights were fine. I had a flight that was Denver -> LA -> KL -> JB and decided to skip over JB; somewhere either in Denver or LA I did the international checkin and they were fine with me stopping in KL instead of JB.
posted by divabat at 4:37 PM on February 18, 2007

Probably depends on the airline, so take this with a grain of salt.

I can tell you I've done a variation on this several times with no problems at all. What I do is get off the plane and let my luggage continue on.
The reason I do it is because on the flight I take, I end up with a 4 hour layover in an airport only an hour and a half away from my house.

So, I take a car home, and then pick up my luggage at the local airport when the flight I was supposed to be on arrives.

However, and this is the part that applies to you, every time I've done this, the airlines have offered to unload my baggage at the intermediate airport. So, even though I've never done it, I suspect you would be able to.
posted by madajb at 5:29 PM on February 18, 2007

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