Customs and Connection Time - DFW

Old Dec 6th, 2004, 03:08 PM
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Customs and Connection Time - DFW

We are flying into DFW from LGW, and have a one hour connection time to our next flight. It is my understanding that we will collect our bags in Dallas, go through customs, and re-check our bags for our next flight. Is an hour enough time to do that considering your bags must be checked 30 minutes prior to your flight?

tmorrell is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 08:14 AM
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Assuming your flight arrives "on time" one hour is cutting it very very close and if at all possible, I'd suggest you consider taking a later "second" flight. A lot will depend on how many people are on your flight, how many other international flights arrive at the same time as yours and whether or not you are connecting to a flight on the same airline or one that leaves from the same terminal. Will you have your boarding passes for your connecting flight? If so that will save you some time. If not, you will first have to clear immigration and customs then go out into the main terminal to check-in at your connecting airline and then proceed back through security into the gate area. Depending on your airline your connecting flight might not even be in the same terminal (there are 5 terminals at DFW and American, for instances, has 3 terminals). One other thing to consider, DFW is a big airport and it is not all that uncommon for it to take 15 or 20 minutes from the time the plane lands to the time it reaches the gate. Add to that the time it takes to deplane, clear immigration, collect your bags and clear customs and you can easily eat up 45 minutes of your one hour connection time. That leaves you very little time to get to your next flight (remember boarding usually starts about 30 minutes prior to departure time and gate agents "close" boarding about 10 minutes prior to departure - rules vary from airline to airline so you'd be wise to check this directly with your airline). You really should check with your airline(s) to see if you have a legal connection. If you've booked both your flights on one ticket then the airline will be responsible for getting you to your destination if you miss your connection but on the other hand if you booked your flights on seperate tickets and you miss your connection it is all your responsiblity.
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 08:46 AM
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Definitely not. It is very little time to connect after arriving on an international flight. Try to change your connecting flight to at least give you 2 hours between flights. When arriving in a international airport to clear immigration and customs it has usually taken me one hour to an hour and a half. If the airline is saying that it will be fine, then make sure you will be put on the next connecting flight to your final destination if you miss your original flight.
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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Thanks for your replies. According to American, it is a legal connection, but I didn't think it was enough time. I've been through DFW a hundred times, just not coming in from an international flight.
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 04:00 PM
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It certainly is possible IF:

No checked luggage
Premium class
No unforseen circumstances

Recently I came in on AA from LGW on a 2 class 767. I was sitting in the first/business class, no checked in luggage. I was one of the first ones to get off the plane. The walk to immigration/customs hall took about 5 minutes, immigration about 1 minute and customs another minute. Also remember that regardless if you are connecting to another AA flight, another airline, you still will have to go through security. Once you pass through the exit doors from immigration/customs you are landside. Again for me it took about another 5 minutes to go through security so I was sitting at the Admirals Club within 20-25 minutes after leaving the plane.

Would I plan on this happening again? Probably not, but it's very much doable.

That said, pick another flight. At least 1.5-2 hours, just in case. Domestically AA will allow you to go standby without any charges, so if you happen to get to the earlier flight in time and there are seats available, AA will allow you to get on.

Good luck!
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Hi, It is a big gamble. I frequently fly to and from Mexico via DFW. Customs, immigration and rechecking bags is almost always very quick but the slowdown comes when you have to exit and go through the security check again before getting to your connecting flight. That alone has taken me an average of 20 minutes. Please try to get a connection that is at least 2 hours after your scheduled arrival time. Good luck.
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