What Happens to Luggage after Check-in (Full Process Explaination)

It is normal thing to be concerned about your luggage because during trips you only have your luggage to get the items you need. After leaving your home to return after a trip you keep your luggage with you all the time but after checking in you have to hand over your luggage to the airport staff and you must wonder “What Happens to Luggage after Check-in”. You’ll also get worried about your luggage and don’t want it to get stolen or misplaced. In this article, I’ll discuss the whole process from the time you submit your luggage to getting it on the conveyor belt.

What Happens to Luggage after Check-in

What Happens to Luggage after Check-in

After checking your luggage is completely taken by airport staff and you can’t access your checked luggage before landing. However, the whole process of storing or loading luggage starts from its checking. This complete process comprises the following three steps:

  • Checking of suitcases
  • Storing the suitcases on a plane
  • Unloading of a suitcase after landing

Let’s discuss each step in detail.

Checking of suitcases:

Firstly, airport staff attach some tags to your luggage having some basic information. After this, your luggage gets screened thoroughly to check that all the things inside it are completely safe and are according to airline policies or not. All this screening is done by using X-ray machines. These machines scan each and every item inside the luggage and the staff in the control room inspect those scanned images. If they find any prohibited item then they separate that thing and dispose of it.

If TSA officers or airport staff find any illegal item in your luggage then they inquire about that item and you may have to pay some fine or you might have to go to jail. These consequences depend on the nature of that illegal item so must check the official websites of TSA and your airline and then pack the allowed items only. You can also read my following two articles to get help in packing. I’ve covered all the allowed and prohibited items on the plane in these articles.

What Can I Take on A Plane In Checked Luggage

What Items Are Not Allowed in Checked Luggage

After proper checking, your suitcases will be given to the baggage handles and now the process starts that you can’t see. Your luggage will fully disappear for you till landing.

Storing the suitcases on a plane

Every airline has their own methods of loading the suitcases and it also depends on the available space in the plane for storing luggage. For small planes, the luggage is stored in their cargo space. Baggage handlers usually spread conveyor belts there pick up the luggage and keep it there. In this way, they don’t need to go again and again to pick up the suitcases one by one.

When it comes to storing the suitcases they usually place heavy suitcases first and then place light-weight suitcases on them. The main reason for the limitations of luggage weight and size is this cargo space, especially for small planes. Airlines don’t want to overweight this cargo space that’s why they only allow the luggage weight and size that they adjust in this space. Sometimes in cargo space, TSA randomly selects some suitcases for manual checking. This checking is not done daily, but TSA can check some suitcases randomly.

Unloading of a suitcase after landing

When you land in your destination country, baggage handlers start unloading suitcases. They have to transfer the suitcases from the cargo space of the plane to the conveyor belt. This process might get delayed for some time due to various reasons like sware weather conditions or shortage of baggage handlers. The conveyor belt is the destination of suitcases you can collect your luggage from the conveyor belt.

It’s good to decorate your luggage or use a piece of multi-colored attractive luggage so that you can easily pick it up from the conveyor belt and don’t have to wait for hours there. Some people also pick up the wrong luggage mistakenly because they think it’s their luggage so if your luggage looks different from other suitcases then no one can mistakenly pick up your luggage.

What happened to your checked luggage on connecting flights

What Happens to Luggage after Check-in

When you need to take connecting flights then your luggage can also be transferred automatically and you can also need to pick up your luggage and submit it again on your next plane. This thing depends on various factors like your airline and the rules of your destination countries. For the following two conditions, your luggage will be transferred automatically.

  • If you have two connecting flights but booked them on the same ticket then your luggage will transferred automatically to your final destination where you have to collect it.
  • There are also some airlines that work on a partnership basis. The main purpose of this partnership is to facilitate travelers and save them from the hassle of booking different airlines. If you have booked the airlines having an interline agreement then your luggage will be transferred and rechecked automatically.

On the international connecting flights. for the following conditions, you need to recheck your luggage.

  • If your airline doesn’t have any interline agreement then you need to collect your luggage from one plane and put it on the conveyor belt for check-in on the next plane. However, it’s not a difficult task you simply need to do the processes that you did on your first flight.
  • On international flights you might need to go through customs, in that case, you need to recheck your luggage. It might take some time because they’ll check your luggage thoroughly and make sure that there’s no illegal item in your luggage.

How Often Is Luggage Stolen From Baggage Claims?

It’s not an easy task to steal away luggage from the conveyor belt and get out of the airport. The airport has several cameras to record every single movement in the airport. Let’s suppose, someone steals luggage from the conveyor belt very smartly but he can’t get anything except for clothes, shoes, makeup, or toiletries because most people keep their costly items in their carry-on or personal items.

There are a few chances for the suitcases to get misplaced on from the conveyor belt. Airport staff check the luggage tag and person ID at 2-3 terminals to check whether this person is having its own luggage or not. If you don’t get your luggage at the conveyor belt then firstly, inform the airline because your luggage might left behind in cargo space or taken by someone else. Always keep your expensive items in your hand-carry or cross-body bag so if your luggage gets misplaced, lost, or delayed you don’t have to face any problem. Additionally, choose a piece of attractive luggage so that you can recognize your luggage at the conveyor belt quickly and pick it up immediately.

Also Read: How To Recover Luggage Stolen From Carousel 


Q1: Can my luggage get misplaced on connecting flights?

Ans: Sometimes people don’t get their luggage after having connecting flights. They suppose that they lost their luggage but actually, their luggage just gets misplaced. Sometimes suitcases get loaded on the wrong plane. In this case, people just need to inform airport staff in time and they find out the luggage in some hours or within 1-2 days.

Q2: Does your luggage go on the same plane as you?

Ans: It usually depends on the airline. Most of the time they load the luggage in the cargo space of the plane However it can loaded onto another plane in the following situations:

  • If you are having connecting flights then the luggage can be stored in a separate plane.
  • If you get late for the airport or your luggage was brought to the conveyor belt in the last due to any reason then it might be loaded on any other plane.
  • Sometimes airlines don’t want the plane to get overweight that’s why they store luggage on separate planes for a safe flight.

Q3: How to prevent theft from checked luggage? 

Ans: You can keep your luggage safe from being theft or misplaced by following these tips.

  • Always use TSA locks to keep your items safe.
  • Buy vibrant-colored luggage because thieves usually stay away from bright-colored suitcases.
  • Keep your costly items in carry-on luggage except for packing them in checked luggage.
  • You can also use a luggage tracker so that if your luggage gets misplaced you can track and find it.
  • Read More


Hopefully, you know about “What Happens to Luggage after Check-in”. After checking in suitcases are delivered to the cargo space of the plane and after landing travelers can get them on the conveyor belt. Just for connecting flights, you might have to recheck your luggage to customs otherwise you simply collect your luggage after reaching at the final destination. Must follow all the measures to keep your items safe from being misplaced.

Hello, I'm King Singh and I'm the owner of this Blog. I personally have well Deep Information related to luggage & Travels. I'm trying to share the Information with you all to make your next journey flawless...

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