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International flights with connection - checked bags, traveling with children, check-in

Explorer C

I am planning to schedule flights for my family of 4 (children ages 6 and 2) from MSP (Minneapolis) with some layover on our way to a connection in HOU and finally on to SJO (Costa Rica).


Is there a way I can create my reservation so that I don't have to recheck bags during my connection in HOU and they will arrive in SJO?  My best hope is to schedule a multi-city one-way MSP->HOU->SJO itinerary and SW will take care of the baggage transfer.


If not, would the Southwest gate agent let me gate check my non-carry on bags so I don't have to leave the secure area, find baggage claim, recheck my bags, and re-enter security while in HOU?  Seems like that could take a couple hours.


This is my first time traveling internationally with kids.  Is there anything special I need to know, especially with the connection?


Finally, does check-in work the same as domestic travel where I can check-in 24 hours prior to each leg?  In this case, I'd need to check-in for MSP->HOU and also check-in for HOU->SJO.


Thanks for any advice!


Re: International flights with connection - checked bags, traveling with children, check-in

Aviator A

Not sure if you already found an answer, but you can check bags all the way through to your final destination even if you have separate reservations for each leg of the journey.  At the first departure airport check in at the full service counter and ask for your bags to be checked to the final destination.  The agent may ask for information about your other reservations.  As you are looking to make separate reservations you would need to check-in for each one 24 hours before departure, the same as you would for domestic travel.  Nothing special about the connection, hopefully you have/had a great trip!