Connecting flights

Jul 24th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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Connecting flights

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.
i79 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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You will get off the London plane in LA, go through immigration and customs, then re-check your bags at a connecting flights counter, go to the departure gate for your LV flight, wait, get on the plane, fly.

You will either receive a boarding pass for the LAS flight when you first check in in the UK, or else when you re-check your bags at LAX.

Going back, you will check your bags all the way to LHR, so the time required at LAX is less.

If you were to connect to a flight to, say, Edinburgh coming the other way, you would go through the same sequence of events at LHR - customs and immigration at LHR, recheck, connect.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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The first part of Gardyloo's answer is right. You go through US immigrations and customs at your first point of entry (LAX). Same thing in reverse on your return. You would go through customs and immigration at your first point (LAS) and the bags would be checked thru to the UK.

But if you were connecting through Heathrow for a final destination of Edinburgh, you would go through immigrations but NOT customs. You do not collect your bags. Just proceed to the gate for your connection once thru immigration. You would collect your bags at your final destination in the UK and go through customs there.
nibblette is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:15 AM
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Oops meant to say, if you are connecting to EDI, you would go thru UK immigrations only, NOT customs, at LHR.
nibblette is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:40 AM
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I don't believe that is correct, nibblette, Gardyloo is right. The LAX-LAS-LAX flights are dometic flights. I've flown between LAX and LAS and did not go through customs.

The terminal map for LAX shows American and American Eagle use terminal 4.
I don't see American listed as a user of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, so MAYBE their international flight will arrive at T4, but I doubt it. Am guessing that OP is flying on a codeshare into the international terminal. The connection on the return sounds tight to me, but T4 and Bradley are close enough together to walk.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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There is no immigration/customs checkpoint for flights departing the US. Basically the same as a domestic.

Gardyloo is therefore correct about the return trip LAS-LAX-LHR. 1hr10min is enough.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:51 AM
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I checked with AA. Their LHR flight does arrive at terminal 4, at least sometimes, but it also may arrive at terminal 5 or the TB international terminal. Your LAS flights will use T4.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:53 AM
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AA uses T4 for international and domestic.

You don't go through US customs or immigration upon exiting the US. The counter person, security person, and maybe the gate agent at LAS and again at LAX will want to see your passport on an international itinerary.

If you're connecting international > domestic at LHR you go through HM Imm and the "green line" (if you want) before going to the connecting gate. You don't go through bag customs at LHR if you're transiting to another country. However, you do go through security and passport check whilst transiting through LHR.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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and the traveller will go through both immigration and customs at LHR, right rkkwan?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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LHR-LAX - immigration, collect luggage, customs, re-check luggage at the counter right outside of customs, security and you are ready to fly to LAS. All done in terminal 4. AA does NOT use T.Bradley International terminal. 2.5 hours should be more than enough.

LAS-LAX-LHR - You will get BPs and check your luggage in LAS. Your passport will be checked by the AA TA. You will arrive and depart from terminal 4 again but this time, no extra security since you will be airside, no immigration, no customs, nothing. It's like connecting to a regular domestic flight. 1 hour connection is very sufficient. the terminal is not that big.

Arriving in LHR you will go through the normal UK immigration and customs procedures.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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AT LHR, if you are heading to elsewhere in the UK, you go thru immigrations ONLY, following the connecting flights signs/lines. NO CUSTOMS! After all, how can customs check your bags if you don't have them (they are checked thru)! You usually have to change terminals. You do have to go thru security again.

I travel to the UK several times a year. It is always the same UNLESS my airlines are not the same or on one ticket and my bags are not checked thru. In that case, I do have to collect my bags after immigration, go thru customs and then recheck my bags and collect my boarding pass with my next airline. I rarely do this since the lines at LHR can be unpredictable and slow moving, esp in the AM when many flights from the US are arriving at the same time.

Sorry about the LAS mistake. I meant that you do have to do a passport check (actually several) upon leaving. But you're right, no customs until you reach the UK. And bags are checked straight thru.
nibblette is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Yes my brain cramp. No customs at LHR on Int'l > LHR > UK connections unless the bags aren't tagged through. Niblette is right.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 25th, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Cheers guys, thanks for the help. You have put my mind at rest.

Thanks again - a very good forum.
i79 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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I have a question....I understand many of the countries (but not all) have dropped border regulations between them.

Recently I flew from JFK to FRA via AMS. I understand that when I arrived in AMS to get to my FRA flight I had to go through passport control and that there would be no passport control in Frankfurt because of this treaty.

But there was no customs check (not that I had anything to declare but just suppose)...when I got to Frankfurt and got my baggage there was a sign something to the effect that if you were arriving from outside the EU you had to clear customs but how do they know where you are arriving from and quite frankly it did not seem there was any place there to go through customs.

Am I missing something?
xyz123 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Baggage checked at an EU airport carries distinctive green stripes along the side of the baggage tags. So if you collect bags without these tags from an intra-EU flight, it's clear to Customs that they originated outside the EU.

Remember, virtually all airports and all airport terminals in the EU are international: there's a Customs presence, however slight, everywhere. From memory, there are actually signposts at Frankfurt pointing to the place you're supposed to go if you've got something to declare. At many other airports, the Customs chap will be hovering out of your sight, or you'll be on CCTV.

In any case, EU Customs are more concerned with guns and narcotics than the odd extra bottle of booze, which is why they appear so laid back. Actually, their energy goes into profiling flights, x-raying and sniffing incoming bags and all the other things that don't involve stopping passengers with their bags.

BTW (and there'll be a test on this later), the mechanisms of the Schengen no-passport zone and the mechanisms of the EU "all merchandise can travel unrestricted unless it's France and they're having one of their weekly anti-British spats" zone are quote separate.
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 26th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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The 15 member countries that are part of the Schengen treaty are the ones that have dropped internal border controls. These comprise of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. So you're correct in that you would go through immigration/passport control at your first point of entry and customs at your destination airport. 'Customs' though is usually a non-event. Unlike in the US, there may be no agent to collect any forms or ask you any questions or even any agents in sight. Unless you have something to declare, very often you simply walk out of the airport.
Patty is offline  

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