Have I got enough time to connect at Dulles?

Old Aug 6th, 2010, 05:41 AM
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Have I got enough time to connect at Dulles?

Hi everybody,

I am going to the USA tomorrow and I am concerned that I may miss my flight in Washington. I will be arriving from Munich with UA 903 at 2:47 pm and taking off at 3:48 to Denver UA 903 again.

It means that I've got 1h between both flights but I am planning on bringing only carry on luggage.

Is 1h enough? Can I skip the line at the custom saying that I might miss my flight?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 06:29 AM
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You can't skip either customs or immigration checks - even if you were flying onward to somewhere outside the US.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 06:34 AM
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I know I've been to the USA before but I meant to skip the line and not to wait 2h before reaching the custom agent.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 06:55 AM
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No, you can't skip to the front of the line. Maybe you'll make the connection, maybe you won't.

If you don't make the connection, United will put you on their next flight to Denver, at 5.40. (Seats are available on that flight.)

Presumably, one or both of your flight times have changed since you got your ticket. The flight times that you currently have are not a valid connection.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 07:11 AM
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1 hour is cutting it very close, especially if you are not a US citizen. Immigration lines (for non-US citizens) can move very slowly and you never know how long or short the lines will be. Also, one cannot predict how closely the Immigration Agent will scrutinize your Passport - but one good thing is that it usually only takes the Immigration Agent a few moments to process each person. It's the lines that can be quite long.

Customs lines tend to move much quicker but if you happen to be singled out for a "close inspection" you'll never make your connecting flight. Once you clear both Immigration & Customs you will still have to clear the TSA Security Checkpoint than get to your departure gate. Remember too, that your connecting flight will begin boarding about 30 minutes prior to departure and the gate agents can "close" boarding 5 or 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure. You also haven't taken into consideration what will happen if your inbound flight is delayed.

So, even if you allow say 20 minutes to deplane, walk to Passport Control and clear Immigration, 10 minutes to clear Customs, 20 minutes to walk to and clear the TSA Checkpoint and another 5 minutes to reach your departure gate for your connecting flight you've used up 50 to 55 minutes of your 1 hour connecting time. Like I said that's cutting it very close with no margin for error. Take the 1 hour connection only if you have a back-up plan to catch a later flight to Denver if you miss your connection.

Regarding your question about "skipping the line" - I assume you mean moving to the "front of an existing line" to shorten your wait time. If so, you should know there are no "formal procedures for this. It would be soley up to the "generosity" of the people already in line if they want to let you ahead of them. I wouldn't count on it.

Remember Murphy's Law of Airprots will come into play here and that clearly states a short connecting time means your inbound flight will either be late arriving or sit out on the tarmac for a while waiting for the arrival gate to open, you'll be seated in the back of the plane and be one of the last people off the aircraft, 3 jumbo jet loads of people from some third-world country will have arrived at the Immigration Checkpoint just moments before you, you'll be randomly picked for a thorough customs inspection, the TSA Agent will single you out for a "hand wanding" and your connecting flight will be departing from a gate at the far end of the terminal. Conversely, if you have a 3 hour layover, your inbound flight will arrive early, there will be no lines at either Immigration, Customs or TSA and your departing gate will be right next door to the TSA checkpoint.

Seriously, I'd go for a longer connecting time if I were you. 1 hour is just too short.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 07:16 AM
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Oh, I just realized you are flying TOMORROW so what you are realy asking is "What are the odds you'll make your 1 hour connection?" Answer: VERY SLIM, be prepared to to take the later flight to Denver and celebrate your good fortune if you do make it.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 08:31 AM
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See if you can find out what gates your flights will be using in advance. That could present another problem. Dulles is NOT a small airport. It's a nice one I think and I've had good connections there but always with 2 hours and never with customs involved.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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Thanks you all for answering!
I'm packed and I'll just rely on my good fortune I guess!

Have a very good day!
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 05:47 PM
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I would expect to miss the connection and ask at MUC at checkin in I could be protected on a later flight.

It took me well over an hour to clear through the immigration line at IAD once afternoon. That prompted me to sign up for the Global Entry program. The next time I came through IAD the immigration line was empty.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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(so I wasn't able to employ the Global Entry mojo)
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 07:19 PM
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If your flight is one of the first in that afternoon rush, u can make it. We've had FA's tell us to hurry since our flight is the first to land and a bunch are coming in right behind us. In those cases, we've whizzed thru. At least no thunderstorms to delay u tomorrow. Good luck!
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 09:15 PM
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Around same arrival time:

1:59p 953 FRA
2:30p 947 AMS
2:31p 951 BRU
2:47p 903 MUC
2:53 915 CDG
3:10 961 FCO
3:20 917 FRA
and then other flights from ZRH, LHR, GVA, NRT, and so on
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