customs @ O'Hare after flight from Spain

Mar 14th, 2010, 08:15 PM
  #1  
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customs @ O'Hare after flight from Spain

Can anyone please let me know if 1 1/2 hours is enough time to get from customs to our connecting flight to Seattle. We originally had 3 hour layover, but we received an email today that changed the layover to 1 1/2 hours. We'll have checked bags. Do we have to retrieve them first? Thankful for any info to make me less nervous. (Also thankful that this is for the last leg of our trip, so what will be will be. Just want to know what to expect.)
kelly22904 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2010, 08:25 PM
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You'll have to go through passport control and then retrieve your bags and go through customs since it's your first port of entry in the United States. After customs, there will be a place to drop off your checked bags to continue for the rest of your journey. You'll take a train to Terminals 1, 2 or 3, depending on which airline you're continuing on. You'll have to go through security again and go to your gate. It is a lot to have to do in 90 minutes.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Mar 15th, 2010, 06:58 AM
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I always made it in less than an hour @ O'Hare, but with customs being involved there is no guarantee. Less than an hour means, the plane doors open, looooong walk to customs hall. passport control, waiting for your bags (although I only had to do that twice at O'Hare out of about dozen times), customs, dropping off the bags right outside customs hall, taking an escalator up to the train, train to terminal 3, go through security, looooong walk to the end of the terminal where the first class lounge is located, making myself a drink). Yes, 1 hour or less.

But again, if customs decides to send you to a secondary, then even 3 hours might no be enough. It happened to me in Dallas. Customs does not care about your airline schedule. They have a right to detain you until they are satisfied.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Mar 15th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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I think that might be tight.

Although I have never waited long at passport control, its a long way from the jetway to the customs hall. And if a few international flights are landing at the same time, it could take a while.

Also be aware that today they are starting up the full body scanners at terminal one (United). Lord knows how long that extra step might take.
Queenie is offline  
Mar 16th, 2010, 08:48 PM
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Well, thanks folks. I've heard sort of what I expected. I doubt there's anything I can do in advance of this trip to make any changes, unless anyone has another suggestion?
kelly22904 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2010, 05:00 AM
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FWIW. I had to do customs and baggage in OHare enroute from Tokyo to Boston in January 2010 and I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and painless it was. I would definitely talk to the airline before you depart and let them know you have a tight connection - they may help you get off first, etc.
usernameistaken is offline  
Mar 18th, 2010, 09:58 AM
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I would agree that one of the considerations is just how many planes have landed from abroad at about the same time as yours. That can mean longer lines at passport control, and maybe waiting a bit longer for checked bags to come down the carousel.

That said, I have sometimes landed at a gate at int'l terminal that is practically right next to immigration (passport control) so I didn't have that loooooong walk that I would usually have at OHare terminal 5.

It is probably going to be OK to have 1 1/2 hours, but there are variables... as you can see by the posts here.

I just cleared customs at LAX yesterday and was AMAZED at how easy it was!!!! (SFO was NOT that easy last time I went thru there)

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2010, 04:07 PM
  #8  
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Would it do me any good to call the airline now, to see if they can get us to customs quickly, i.e. let us get off the plane in Chicago first, or is that not done in these situations? Or as Usernameistaken says, talk to someone before we depart Barcelona for Chicago?
kelly22904 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2010, 04:33 PM
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Many of your fellow passengers have 1.5 hour or even shorter transits. If you want to get off the plane early, try to get seats closer to the front. Trying to get off first by "asking" doesn't work.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 19th, 2010, 07:23 PM
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I don't think any airline has the ability to speed you through customs.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:37 PM
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It isn't customs that slows you down, generally. It is the possibly long slow line to have immigration stamp and check your passport; then there is the wait for your bags to come down the conveyor belt (and sometimes this has been quite a wait, if several plans have landed the same time). After that, just walk thru the customs line, hand in your customs form, and be on your way.

Now, if you've claimed more than your $$ limit, or if you are carrying anything "unusual" in your bags, customs has the right to stop you, and then you WILL get slowed down by them.

My bags have been randomly selected for an agriculture scan by customs, but I've never had anything they suspect in any way, so then it's off to the line, hand in my form, and go on my way. I usually do not have an on-going flight to catch, but the usual procedure of immigration/bags/customs takes me about 45-50 minutes, from the time the plane lands to the time I'm exiting and looking for my ride home. If you have the same timing, you'll be fine.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 10:01 AM
  #12  
 
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Are you sure the 1.5 hour connection was your only choice? Usually when the airline changes the schedule you have the chance to request a different combination of flights than what they first assign you as the alternative if that is what you prefer.
laurie_ann is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 08:34 PM
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This is not about O'Hare or Spain specifically. Generally speaking I would not take a 90 mins. connection when it is my 1st stop back in the U.S. therefore involves both immigration & then customs. YES you have to get your suitcase, take it thru customs yourself, recheck it, then get on to your next flight. And O'Hare is no small airport!!

Another factor I don't think anyone's mentioned yet, what if your first plane is late landing? That's the biggest place that might possibly chip away your already short amount of time.
suze is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 04:36 AM
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OP, yes you can call the airline and ask for a longer connection. I would!
CarolA is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 08:34 AM
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I bought our tickets through Iberia Air. We fly from Madrid to Chicago to catch a connecting flight to Seattle on American Air. Our ORIGINAL itinerary was a flight that gave us a 4 hour layover. I checked AA's site. That flight is still available. I called Iberia Air and they are convinced we'll be fine. Personally, I know it's a 50/50 chance this will all work out. We fly into Terminal 5, and catch our connection in Terminal 3. I wasn't that forceful and insistent with the customer service guy w/ Iberia. Should I call them back and be more forceful? (And polite, of course.) Would calling AA work?
kelly22904 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 08:36 AM
  #16  
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Oops. Sorry CarolA. I read your post after submitting my last post.
kelly22904 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:46 PM
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Sounds like you have already changed once (from 4 to 3 hour layover.) Usually when there is a schedule change the airline will cut you some slack and allow a change to another connection without penalty fees. You may be OK with he 90 minute connection but as noted above if your incoming flight is delayed and/or there are several arriving international flights it could be tight. When will you be flying?
Seamus is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:13 PM
  #18  
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Oct. 8th. It's a Friday. Inbound flight @ 14:15, and connecting flight @ 15:55. I guess this can be the problem with purchasing airfare so far in advance. We purchased it in December.
kelly22904 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 04:41 AM
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A few years ago, coming into O'Hare from Paris for a connecting flight to Denver, we got through immigration and customs fairly quickly, but it was going back through security where we were delayed for an hour. The line was incredibly long and there is absolutely nothing you can do. We literally ran to our flight, but made it. If there's any way you can change your schedule to allow more time, especially if you're on a route that doesn't have a lot of choices, do it!
tekwriter is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 04:10 PM
  #20  
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Well, I just want to thank everyone for their input on my situation. I called the airline, and they said we couldn't make any changes with out paying an extra $195 per person, to get on the following flight, 3 hour later. Being budget conscious, that's that. Hopefully, luck will be on our side, that day. Adios amigos.
kelly22904 is offline  

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