International changeovers

Oct 17th, 2008, 06:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 21
International changeovers

I will be doing my first international flight with a change over. Once in Brussels and another at Heathrow. My question is, do I have to clear customs and claim baggage and then recheck at both connecting cities? Thanks for the help.
connor02 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 08:19 PM
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Depends on where you're flying to and from.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 11:15 PM
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You have to ask your airline about the specific flights you're taking.

For connections within Europe, the general principles are:

A. If your original airline will through-check your bags to your final destination (standard practice when it's one ticket, though often not when it involves a connection between two non-partner airlines, but varies a lot):

- if your transfer airport and final destination are both within the Schengen area, you go through Immigration but not Customs, then get your connecting flight, and collect your baggage at the destination airport, where you're liable to - but won't get - Customs inspection

- if your transfer airport or final destination are outside the Schengen area you go to the connecting flight without going through Immigration or Customs, go through Immigration at the destination airport and collect your baggage. It's there you're liable to - but will only get in the Third World bits of Europe like Russia - Customs inspection

B. If your original airline won't through-check your bags to your final destination:

- if your transfer airport and final destination are within the Schengen area (as Brussels is), you go through Immigration, collect your bags, go through Customs, make your way to the general check in area, check in for the ongoing flight, get it, then collect your bags at your final destination without any further imigration or customs check

- if your transfer airport is outside the Schengen area (like Heathrow), and your final destination is within the EU, all the above, PLUS you go through Immigration (but not Customs) at your final destination

- if your destination airport is outside the EU, all the above, but you go through both Immigration and Customs at your final destination

Note that it's common in Europe - and universal in Britain - for all passengers to go through security before all fights, however often they've been security-checked earlier in their journey. In Britain we simply don't trust the competence of ANY foreign security agency.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 18th, 2008, 04:18 AM
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I assume you mean you're flying into Brussels on the way to Heathrow...assuming it's one ticket, here's what will happen...

1. You luggage will be checked through to LHR.

2. Upon arrival in Brussels you will not go through immigration or will be directed into the transfer lounge. You will probably, this is the norm today, go through a security check of your hand luggage.

3. Upon arrival into LHR, you will go through first immigration passport control, then to the baggage coursel and when you luggage hopefully comes down (or given the length of queues at LHR immigration control, the baggage might already be there) you will then go through customs. Generally, as a tourist, you will follow the sign nothing to checks are performed by customs agents but usually you walk right through and you've cleared customs.

This is because the UK has chosen not to be part of the Schengen agreement regarding immigration and passport controls.

Now if you were connecting to Rome via Brussels, the difference would be that you would clear passport control (for the entire Schengen area) in Brussels, you would then enter a different transit lounge (officially you've now entered Belgium) and when you arrive in Rome, there will be no passport control...your baggage comes down and you are supposed to report to a customs official if you have something to declare, again usually as an arriving tourist you're usually fine just to walk through!
xyz123 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 21
Sorry, I should have been more specific. My flights will be Chicago to Brussels to Kigali, Rwanda and then returning Nairobi, Kenya to London Heathrow to Chicago. I will be flying American Airlines and then Brussels Air going and returning British Airways and then American Airlines.

I only have two hours between each of the flights (in Brussels and London) and am wondering what hoops I'll have to jump through.

Thanks for the help.
connor02 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2008, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Outbound, your bags will check through and you won't clear immigration or customs at BRU. Only security check.

Inbound, I'm not sure what BA's current policy is with the new T5 opened. Before, they are known to NOT forward luggage to other airlines, but BA/AA are close partners and if you're on the same ticket, bags should be checked through.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 18th, 2008, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
I'm pretty sure you won't have a big problem coming home...BA and AA are both members of one world and I'm almost sure BA will check your luggage through to ORD....

Upon arrival at LHR from Nairobi, you follow sings for flight will not go through take a bus from T5 to T3....a security check awaits you to enter the departure lounge at remember that boarding of all USA bound flights is a very slow process as there are "random" checks and since you will be connecting from Kenya, I would almost bet you will be selected for one of these "random" checks...two hours is a bit tight as the number of buses that run from T5 to T3 are a problem and there may be a queue at security to enter T3 but you should be okay if everything is on time.
xyz123 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2008, 04:09 AM
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Thanks so much for the help. I have Platinum status with AA, do they happen to have an express security line at T3 for flyers with status?
connor02 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2008, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Since you'll be transferring airside from T5 to T3, I don't think there's a elite security line at T3.

You know that you can entitled to use the AA Admirals Club at T3, right?
yk is offline  

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