JFK customs and connecting flight

Old Aug 28th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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JFK customs and connecting flight

Is anyone familiar with international flights landing at JFK? In October I'm flying Delta into JFK from Edinburgh. From JFK I connect to BWI. I have 1:35 before my Delta connecting flight leaves for Baltimore.

Q: Will that typically be enough time to make it through passport control, baggage claim, customs, and rechecking my suitcase before boarding my connecting flight?

(If I don't make the connection the next plane leaves ~5 hours later, which isn't the end of the world but of course I'm hoping to avoid that.)

Thanks to anyone who may have experience with the processing time for folks on intnl. flights at JFK.

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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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International arrivals at JFK come into several different terminals, and the operations at each terminal are different/unrelated.

Were this T1 (LH) or T8 (AA) I'd say you have sufficient time, assuming you are US citizen (I don't have any personal experience for foreign nationals).

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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 08:54 AM
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Thanks J62. I am an American citizen. I'll try to get a map of the airport gates. If anyone else has anything to add, or if they want to direct my question to another forum here, please feel free. Thank you all.

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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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We alow a minimum of 1.5 hours between connecting flight when arriving JFK but 2 hours is better. A lot depends on how many "international jumbo jets" arrive around the same time as yours as that will govern the lenght of time you'll spend in the immigration lines also there's no guarantee your inbound flight will arrive "on time".

If you are a US citizen you should be OK with 1:35 but be prepared for a bit of a sprint through the airport.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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An 1:35 connection is doable, but tight.
NY weather is good in October, so chances of a weather-related delay are lower. Also, my impression is that arrivals at JFK are less prone to congestion than departures. Delta has two terminals (JFK Terminals Two and Three), but they are connected by an airbridge on the air side of security, and the distances aren't huge. (You can always go to Delta's website and see which gate numbers your flights are using today and tomorrow.) I thought the customs and immigration folks at Terminal Three were pretty efficient, but I haven't flown internationally into Terminal Three recently.
If the connection times shrink because of a delay, maybe the flight attendants can get you off the Edinburgh flight ahead of the crowd.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 05:40 PM
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Oh my - I wouldn't be comfortable with such a short time to clear customs, collect bags, go through immigration and get my next flight at JFK. I've never been able to clear customs in anything less than 2 hours there, and have missed flights back to Miami after clearing customs 2 times out of 3 I've flown with flights on the same day. Since then, I just stay overnight at one of the closeby "hotels" - loose term - and fly out first thing the next day.
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 07:01 AM
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We returned from Venice on Delta connecting to Delta to Boston.
The transfer will all take place in the Delta terminal. The place is very cramped. There are now lots of Delta international flights coming into a space that is too small. If you arrive when other planes are deplanning, it will take extra time. E.g. we were held on the plane for 15-20 min waiting for immigration to open space (still had long waits). The rate limiting step is still waiting for baggage. Security recheck was also long.

The bottom line is you should allow 1.5 hrs. 1 hr would be too short. 1.35 hrs, if all goes well you should make. But be prepared for waits, etc.
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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Everybody uses the same phrase clearing customs and technically there are two steps to the procedure at JFK and at all other USA entry points.

1. Immigration....you are broken into two queues..those who are American citizens and holders of green cards go to one queue and all others go to the second. Since you are a USA citizen you'll go to the first one and generally, that queue moves pretty quickly...the immigration officers scans your passport and if there are no outstanding parking tickets you haven't paid, that's it...

2. The big hang up comes since you have to collect your baggage no matter what your final destination and it is here that American airlines suck....they still haven't figured out how to get baggage on the caroussel quickly...that's where the wait comes in. You culd wait as much as 45 minutes to an hour which is ridiculous but tha's what you have to put up with the incompetence of American carriers.

From there, you "clear" customs...the customs inspector looks at your declaration and usually lets you go right through..on the other side you re-surrender your baggage to the airline and then go into the world and then have to clear security again....

Yes it can take 2 hours...but it can take 45 to 50 minutes. There's no way to really tell.

But you know what..if you the airline has booked the ticket it is their responsibility to get you on the next flight so why worry.
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Old Sep 7th, 2008, 07:43 AM
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Thank you all for taking the time to answer my question. Your messages are a great help.

You have me thinking that, since I'll only be in Scotland 1 week, maybe I should try to make do with a carry-on and no checked baggage. I'll research the largest allowable carry-on and then determine whether I can get by with that. (I can pack pretty informally; I'm just going to visit my daughter who is studying for a semester abroad, at Stirling.)

If I come to see that indeed I will need to have a checked bag, so be it; I'll rush to make the connecting flight and if I don't get it, then I'll have to wait for the next available flight back to BWI.

If nothing else, this is a good lesson to me to pay closer attention to layover/connection times when booking my flights.

Thanks again for all the great information!

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Old Sep 13th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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You will go thru security again at JFK before boarding the connecting flight, so if you have any duty free booze or liquids that you bought in first airport you MUST wrap them and pack in your luggage that you pick off the carousel. Do that before clearing customs.

Our shortest connection at JFK was 1:40 and it was fine - it was AA and we are non-US.

If both flights are on same airline you're okay - just pray your flight is a few or more minutes early landing in JFK!!
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 01:35 AM
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I love JFK immigration/customs etc etc., it has usually been a breeze ........ and have often been able to get through in very quick time.

Yes, depends on terminal etc etc., but over the years I have had very good luck with BA and Emirates flights arriving in the afternoon time.

Infact, end of August - when I landed in the afternoon I got out of the airport in next to no time. Immigration, baggage collection and customs all done.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2008, 03:09 PM
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Just wanted to let folks know that I did make my connecting flight at JFK, with about 25 minutes to spare. The plane from Edinburgh was only about half full so that may have helped me get my luggage sooner than if it had been a full flight. Nevertheless, next time I will ensure that I have at least 2 hours between connecting flights when one of the flights involves passport control, customs, baggage claim, and rechecking.

Thanks again to everyone who volunteered their experiences to me.

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