layover time - immigration process

Old Sep 29th, 2015, 06:34 PM
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layover time - immigration process

I hope someone can help me!

I am traveling to Ireland from Guatemala --> Atlanta --> New York --> Dublin

Flight schedule changed suddenly two weeks after my reservation and layout time in Atlanta is now 1 hour and 15 minutes before my flight to NYC.

Since I am arriving from international terminal (Guatemala --> Atlanta) I was wondering regarding procedure for this...

I am worried on all levels... beginning with immigration time, baggage claim time, boarding time...
I don't know if I have to go through all the above in 1 hour and 15 minutes or.... exclude some...

So my question is...
Will I go through immigration process @ Atlanta or NYC?
Will I have to transfer the baggage myself @ Atlanta or will it be sent directly to Dublin from Guatemala?
- I heard that arriving international it is law to go through customs with baggage before transfer, wondering if this is true...

Please help!!

Thank you!!
jinaseo is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2015, 09:57 PM
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Welcome to Fodors jinaseo. See the change forum pull down menu up top? Click that and re-post your questions on the Air Travel forum and maybe on the United States board too.

This forum is very slow and more people will see your questions on (especially) the US board. I think I know the answers but I'm not sure simply because you are traveling from Guatemala and I don't know how that effects things. So I don't want to give you incorrect info/advice - re-post on the forums where more people will see it.
janisj is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2015, 07:36 AM
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Yes, repost on the Airline Forum but here's the answers in a nut shell:

1) You will clear Immigrations & Customs in Atlanta (when arriving in the US from an international destination you ALWAYS clear Customs and Immigration at your first point of entry).

2) Even though your luggage will be tagged "Dublin" when you check in for your flight in Guatemala you will have to claim & recheck it in Atlanta. After you clear US Immigration you will have to claim your luggage, clear Customs and recheck your bag as you exit the Customs area. There will be people there to assist you. After you re-check your bags you'll have to proceed to the TSA Security Checkpoint then go on to the gate for your connecting flight to NY.

3) When you land in NY you just deplane and proceed to the gate for your flight to Dublin. Your luggage will be automatically transferred to the Dublin Flight.

NOW THE IMPORTANT PART - a 1 hour and 15 minute connecting time in Atlanta is VERY SHORT and you risk not making your connection. It is doable only if your inbound flight arrives on-time, and you don't encounter any delays getting through Immigration & Customs or TSA. I'd feel much better with a minimum of 90 minutes between flight - 2 hours would be better. Call your airline NOW to see if you can get a longer connection time in Atlanta. or at the least find out what your options will be if you miss the connection.
RoamsAround is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2015, 12:11 PM
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I went through customs in Atlanta last year, had a 2 hour layover, and *just* made my flight.

We landed quite early in the morning, so zero lines at immigration, but getting my bag, rechecking it, going through TSA and then going to a new terminal (because I like you was going from Intl to Domestic) took up a lot of time.

I would call your airline to see if you can get different flights.
needmorevacation is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2015, 02:17 PM
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The legal connection time for international to domestic in ATL is 90 minutes, so this is a legal connection, and I doubt your airline will change your flight (but it still doesn't hurt to ask). If your flight is on time, then you stand a good chance of making it, but if you are even 15 minutes late, you could miss your connection. I hate double-connections on international flights, especially through the US. Perhaps you could get a flight straight to Dublin from ATL. That would be your best bet. Otherwise, hope things work in your favor, and don't hesitate to be a bit pushy asking for expediting assistance in Atlanta even if they do. Ask the airline to put a note in your record, and ask again for help immediately as you deplane. Make sure you get to the front of the line at both immigration and security.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2015, 04:12 PM
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If the airline has changed the flight schedule you should be able to refuse their offer and request a better routing. If the legal connection time is 90 minutes, that's an hour and a half, not an hour and 15 minutes. I would not want to risk it.
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