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Connecting flights

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This is an incredably silly question I'm sure....

I'm not a regular flyer, and have never had to take a connecting flight before. I'm traveling to Las Vegas in October, and will have to catch a connecting flight at LAX (LHR>LAX then LAX>LAS).

How do connecting flights work? What is the actual procedure? Do you go through immigration and collect bags etc. then go back into the airport as a new passinger, or is there a more sensible method?

If someone could give me a step by step guide as to what to expect / how the prrocess works / any pitflls, I'd be greatful.

As I remember the schedule given to me by American Airlines gives me about 2hrs 30min to change goint to las vegas and about 1hr 10min coming back. Is this reasonable?

Thanks for reading my silly question.

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