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Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

Venice, Florida
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Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

I am an experienced traveller, and this is probably a dumb question, but perhaps someone can help....we have booked a flight on British Air Business Class from Philadelphia to London Heathrow using mileage. We purchased a flight on US Air to connect to the BA flight in Philadelphia. In addition, our ultimate destination is Vilnius, Latvia...through Heathrow with SAS.

Is there any way to link up all of these disparate legs to check luggage through to Vilnius? Or will we need to claim our luggage after each leg and recheck it?

It makes me a bit sorry that I used points for just one leg. but it was outrageously expensive to attempt t book all the way through!! we have plenty of time between each of the flights, but the thought of exiting security to claim luggage, then go back through the process two more times makes me nuts.

We will attempt to do all carry on, but this is a two week plus trip for two of us, needing layers for cooler weather in September in the Baltic's and Russia.

Thanks for any advise or ideas!!!

1. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

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Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

British Air? What one breathes in Britain. Your flights are with British Airways (or BA) ; - )

Since US are a StarAlliance carrier and BA oneWorld, and since you have separate tickets, you'll have to collect your bags and recheck them at PHL. You will also have to go through passport control, collect your bags, and make your way to T3 for the SAS flight to ARN or CPH to connect to Vilnius (?Lithuania, is it not?).

How much time have you allowed between the flights at Heathrow? Will you travel on a weekday or during the week?

Crew on board the flight from PHL will hand out landing cards, which you'll need at passport control even though you're just making a landside connection. Write 'In Transit' on the cards and tell the agent you're going to T3 for an SAS flight.

After having collected your bags at T5, make your way to the Heathrow Express station for the free shuttle service to Heathrow Central, which serves T1 and T3. The walk from the raili station to T3 will take about five minutes, as will the journey, but there are just four HEX shuttles per hour.

With separate tickets, you won't be able to use a lounge at T3 before your flight to ARN / CPH. You will have the pleasure of the Galleries lounges at T5 for the return journey, though.

Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

Yikes. Not just two separate tickets but THREE!

What are your flight details (departure and arrival times) for each airport? And what about the return?

This may, or may not, be very problematic depending on your layover times.

You would definitely have been much better off had you booked the LHR-Vilnius route on BA (or Finnair) as you'd have had OneWorld protection for misconnects on separately ticketed flights (you don't have that with SAS as they're a different alliance to BA).

As US and AA are heading towards a merger (not completed yet), and through that they will ultimately be a BA partner, you may get favorable treatment for through checked bags for XXX-PHL-LHR. But that's not guaranteed.

Venice, Florida
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4. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

Thank you for the prompt replies. TravellerPlus... Sorry, did mean British Airways, and yes, it is Lithuania, not Latvia. Too late for a clear headed thought.....

USBT.thanks for your advice as well. I may actually change the SAS flight to Finnair. It makes it much easier and is not too much of a cost differential. Well worth it to avoid the hassle.

Crazy flights... We leave Tampa at 8:00 am to PHL. Then a late afternoon BA flight to LHR, arriving around 06:30, then a connection at around 10:30 am in LHR to Vllnius.

Coming home is Moscow (LED) on Aeroflot to LHR...connect to Virgin Atlantic back to the USA. I am certain we will need to claim and recheck luggage in London on that return as well. We have at least three hours in London to connect.

Because I had miles on BA and Virgin, and two of us are traveling, I needed to split the US-London-US flights. Did not have enough miles to do two round trips on one or the other.

I guess I will need to pack my good nature and patience for these connections.....

Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

If you do switch to Finnair, still allow plenty of time for the layover. While OneWorld carriers definitely do through check bags (on separate tickets) and will rebook you for free if there's a missed onward flight, it's not clear what happens if there's a schedule change that makes the "connection" impossible.

What (exactly) are the flight details (timings) for your return? Aeroflot (T4) to Virgin (T3) sounds potentially worse than your outbound.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

Even if you do change the SAS filght to Finnair, with a separate ticket the ground agents in PHL may balk about checking bags through to Vilnius. AY and BA are both oneWorld, but BA's rules indicate that separate tickets usually mean bags won't be checked through.

If you can use Avios to book BA794 from LHR to HEL then you should be able to link it to the flight from PHL - but that might not leave you with a good connection at HEL to Vilnius (arrives 1705) and could mean a night at the airport. If you do go with AY and book separate tickets, that will mean another trek to T3 as well, as AY use that terminal building and BA's flights to HEL depart from there too.

You've allowed enough time and certainly sound prepared to do what's necessary to make the journeys work. Good luck!

Venice, Florida
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7. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

Thanks again. Actually the AY flight shows up on BA as their flight numbers operated by Finnair....if we change I will purchase from BA as their connections.

The outbound from Moscow has about four hours in between. Hopefully that is enough to change terminals and recheck bags!!

Banbury
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8. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

LED is St Petersburg, you really need to check where your airports are.

Aeroflot don't fly from LED to LHR directly, you would have to change flights in Moscow at SVO where your luggage would be transfered automatically to your connecting flight.

You do plan to get a Russian visa for this?

Venice, Florida
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9. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

Yes I know LED is St Petersburg...thx. We are flying from there to Moscow at the end of our trip for two days then going back to the USA from Moscow. And yes, our VISAs are being done. Thanks again.

Edited: 10:47 am, July 24, 2013
10. Re: Do I need to reclaim & recheck luggage on various carriers??

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