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Heading for Brisbane from Houston via LAX: Nightmare ahead?

Heading for Brisbane from Houston via LAX: Nightmare ahead?

Old Oct 18th, 2007, 01:41 PM
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Heading for Brisbane from Houston via LAX: Nightmare ahead?

I'll be bringing my family to Brisbane in mid- to late-November from Houston, a trip I've never taken before. We're relocating to Australia, so the trip will be arranged by my company's travel department, for whom cost is a key issue (even though we do get to travel business class).

Here's my question: I've been told that the transfer from a US domestic flight to the international flight is likely to be nightmarish because of LAX's physical setup and transfer procedures: checked baggage must be reclaimed (and we'll be taking a lot!) for rechecking, you have to leave the terminal (in some form of shuttle) and then return, there are three or four security checkpoints involved, etc., etc. This is supposedly the case in a Continental-to-Qantas handover at LAX.

Is this true? If true, what can be done to mediate it? Should I tell the corporate travel office I want to go through SFO instead?

I've done a lot of traveling, but Australia is one place I've never made it to, so in this case I'm a complete newbie. Advice welcome (especially since we haven't booked our tickets yet). TIA

kritz is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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I've done that exact trip: Houston with Continental and then Qantas from LAX. I was able to check my bags all the way through to Sydney and then it was a short walk between terminals.

Re. LAX there is sometimes a long queue for security but if there's a danger of missing a connection let them know and they take you to the head of the line.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 05:40 PM
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I've flown through LAX more times than I care to remember. It's one of my least favorite airports (right up there with O'Hare), so much so that I've recently started flying through SFO.

LAX isn't a fun airport from which to ENTER the US - but I've never had any problems leaving from it on international flights. The biggest drawback on departure is the time it takes to clear security, but that can vary widely depending on the time of day, etc.

I always check my luggage from my departure city directly to my international destination via LAX. I've never once had to handle my luggage in LAX while connecting to an international outbound flight.

Coming into LAX is a different story - you must clear immigration, then clear your luggage in Customs and deposit it at a special counter if you're connecting to another flight.

You should be able to check your luggage all the way from Houston to your point of entry in Australia - just be sure to present all your ticket info at check-in, especially since you're flying on non partner airlines.

Allow yourself plenty of time to connect to your international flight at LAX and you'll be fine.
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Old Oct 20th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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You can check your bags through - just be sure the CO agent checking you in at IAH knows you're going on to BNE.

You'll probably find it faster to walk from Terminal 6 (Continental) to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) than to wait for the "regularly scheduled" (ha) shuttle bus. Just turn left outside the door and walk to the end of the circular road. (You'll pass the American and Qantas counters at T4 - just keep walking.)

You'll need to go through security at TBIT and yes, it can be a mob scene in the late evening when all the late transpac flights leave. Assuming you're on the direct LAX-BNE flight there's no point in routing through some other city; you're using the fastest route as it is.

I might make an off-topic suggestion, however.

See if your travel department can put you on an earlier flight to LAX - one that arrives around 5 PM, say. With bags checked through, grab a taxi at LAX and have them take you to the Manhattan Beach pier, about a 15 min. cab ride. Walk out the pier and maybe have dinner somewhere along the beach... load up on oxygen and get your legs good and stretched; watch the sun set over the Pacific ('cause you'll be watching it rise over the Pacific soon enough.) Then head back to the TBIT in time to check in for your onward flight. I'll bet you find it a lot more pleasant than you would just by connecting straight through.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Not a bad idea -- being loosened up and maybe even relaxed before the 14-hour leg of the flight can't hurt. Not to mention maybe avoiding blood clots. I remember all the trips back and forth to Hong Kong I made in the late 90s (only 11 hours!) and we were generally frantic at the beginning and end of each trip (the kids were infants then, and much more challenging to travel with).
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Old Oct 26th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Try and go through San Francisco if you can because Lax is disgusting. I went through there in February and it took 4.5 hours. Whether that was the time of day or a bad day or whatever - that is just not acceptable.
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