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Domestic layover on an international flight

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Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and have a silly question that I hope the experience travelers can answer. I'm going on vacation to Italy on United. I bought my ticket on the United site going from San Francisco (SFO) to Milan, Italy (MXP) with a 2 hours layover in Newark, NJ (EWR). The trip is on one itinerary.

The first leg is from SFO to EWR, and then after a 2 1/2 hour layover, EWR to MXP. Both legs are on United.

I'd been told differently so I hope you all can help. When I check in at SFO, do I check in at the International terminal since the end destination is Milan, or do I check in at the domestic terminal since the first leg is domestic. It doesn't make sense to check in at the international terminal since the first leg is domestic. Why check in at the international terminal and then have to go to the domestic terminal for the first flight? I would think I would check in at the domestic terminal, and they would check my bag all the way through to Milan, and check my passport. However, when I spoke with United, they told me I need to go to the International Terminal. Not sure if the rep was giving me correct information but hoping you can give me your advice and experience.

Thanks

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