Changing flights in LAX.

Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 08:13 PM
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Changing flights in LAX.

Hey, this is my first flight to the US - and I have a few questions. I leave on the 12th August from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport) to Los Angeles International Airport via Thai airways (TG 794) . This flight lands at 2135 on 12th August in LA. I then, am flying via Delta Airlines (DL 933) from Los Angeles to Tampa International Airport. Once I have landed in LA, do I have to check in for immigration, collect my luggage and go for customs? Or, how do I proceed once I have landed in LA and have to change flights.
Hoping for help ASAP.
Regards,
Rajashri Singh
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 08:35 PM
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There are other more expert on here that may give you better info - but that seems a very short connection time for international arrivals at LAX. DL 933 departs at 2345 from terminal 5 but I assume you land at Tom Bradley.

You may have a long line at Immigration, then claim your bags and re-check them. Then either take the shuttle bus or walk to T-5, and go through security. Late at night either the lines will be short -- OR they could really long because of short staffing.

is this one ticket or did you book them separately?
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 10:39 PM
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the timing does meet the 2 hour usually required for connections between international and local flights how ever given that your flight could be late and time in immigration varies from 30 mins to 3 hours (my very recent experiences)it could be cutting it fine.
After going through immigration you have to collect your luggage, go through customs and then either take it with you OR
If Thai and Delta are connected(unsure ) you would be able to drop your bags in the arrival terminal and proceed without baggage to your local terminal. You will still have to go through security at the local terminal.
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Old Aug 4th, 2011, 05:17 AM
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Your connecting flight leaves what, somewhere around 23:45? So if you do indeed land at 21:35, that gives you 2 hours. According to at least one source (American airlines) the minimum connecting time for international to domestic flights is 1.5 hours, so assuming your incoming flight isn't late, this should be enough time.

That said: yes, you'll have to go through both immigration and customs, as LAX will be your port of entry into the US. Do not expect this to be a speedy procedure, especially for non-US citizens. Not only may lines be long (in my experience, the line is not only long, it can be confusing to even find the line - you'll understand when you get there!) but officials can take as long as they please. They don't try to make difficulties, they deal with thousands of people every day - but the point is, you want to be absolutely sure you don't give them any reason to take any longer. Be sure your passport and any visa required is in perfect order, and don't try importing any foodstuffs or anything else that could get you detained at customs.

Good luck.
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Old Aug 4th, 2011, 06:47 AM
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I am going to bet that these are on separate tickets? If so, I'm quite concerned at that timing. The Thai flight will arrive at the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) where you will have to clear US immigration and customs. IF your luggage is tagged through to Tampa, you ought to be able to re-check it at a bag re-check counter inside TBIT after customs. Then you will need to walk (don't wait for the shuttle bus) from TBIT to Terminal 5 (turn right outside the door) where you will have to obtain your boarding pass for the Delta flight and go through security all over again.

With luck, you'll be through immigration and customs in an hour; the bag re-check should take 5-10 min, the walk 10 min, and the security business at T5 another 30 min. That will mean you'll get to your departing gate right about the time it opens for boarding.

Frankly, I'd be quite nervous with this timing. If your incoming flight is late, you've used up precious minutes. If you need to collect your bags and physically transport them to T5, you've used up more minutes.

And with separate tickets you have no recourse - Delta is NOT obliged to put you on their next flight (which might very well not be for hours, as it's an overnight flight in the first place.) They probably will, but it's a big gamble.

I don't know what to suggest at this late hour, except to be sure your bags are checked through to TPA when you turn them in (so as to expedite the process at LAX) and to make every effort to be quick to the front of the immigration queue if at all possible.
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Old Aug 4th, 2011, 06:35 PM
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1. Chances are the TG will flight will arrive on-time or early.
2. Immigration at that time shouldn't be too bad.
3. Security at T5 at that time could be bad, as quite a few DL red-eye flights departing late evening for the E. Coast from LAX.
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