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Arrive LAX from Australia, how much time before onward domestic flight?

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Jul 19th, 2011, 09:06 PM
  #1
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Arrive LAX from Australia, how much time before onward domestic flight?

Hi, we are travelling from Australia to LAX then booking a separate flight to Albuquerque, having a driving holiday then flying back from Denver to LAX, then home.

How long should we allow between arriving in the US and our next domestic flight? We definitely don't want the stress of cutting it too fine, I was thinking of allowing 5 hours between arriving and departing. Is that enough for immigration, customs and transferring between terminals?

We will be flying to the US with either Qantas or V Australia (Virgin) and onwards maybe with Southwest. No idea about reputation/safety of internal US carriers so comments on that would be helpful too.

Thank you.
Kay
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Jul 19th, 2011, 10:47 PM
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Hey,

We flew from SYD-LAX on VAustralia (wonderful wonderful wonderful) and landed on a Sunday morning at 7am. We didnt get out of customs and immigration and all that until about 9am. The terminal there in LAX is quite big as well, not so sure myself about how to get from each one. Personally I would leave 5 hours or so just incase of delays on your way over or weather along route. Thats me though, always thinking ahead and the what if situations.

I flew Virgin American from LAX to San Francisco and from San Fran to Vegas and you get what you pay for..a comfy seat and a free drink and great planes.

I am just about to fly from Vegas back to LAX with South West so am not sure about them yet. Fingers crossed everything goes fine!

Good luck on your journey!
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Jul 19th, 2011, 11:18 PM
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2.5 hours should be enough but not if your first flight ends up being 2 hours late. So really you never know.

It would be best to book with two airlines that have an agreement so that, after clearing customs, you just hand your bags back to your airline to handle onward, rather than toting your bags to another terminal with you. I think Quantas and United work together, or maybe Virgin America flies onward to Vegas if you end up on Virgin? Another benefit of all-on-one-ticket is that if the first leg has a delay or problem, the 2nd leg will be rebooked for you automatically and at no extra charge. When dealing with two totally different airlines, you could lose the whole value of your 2nd flight if you don't cancel it ahead of time. And if you're stuck 30,000 feet in the air before you know that you're going to miss your 2nd flight....well, you get the picture.
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Jul 20th, 2011, 01:35 AM
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Qantas is partners with American (OneWorld). United and Air NZ are part of Star Alliance. Virgin Australia partners with Delta.
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Jul 20th, 2011, 02:20 AM
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I agree with tracys2cents.

I flew sydney-lax-NYC just recently and that transfer was a dream, but that was because most of the people on the flight were transferring through to NYC. As we left the flight in LAX we were handed orange A5 size cards with 'express' stamped on them and we were processed very quickly - less than 90 minutes.

However, friends who flew sydney-lax-toronto had an awful time and it took well over 3 hours.
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Jul 20th, 2011, 02:42 AM
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Thanks everyone. I agree that we won't know if the plane is going to be delayed, we could always have another big cloud of volcanic ash

One of the reasons for not wanting to book the whole thing on Qantas is cost - it is MUCH cheaper to book the international fares and domestic legs separately. Flying with a partner airlines does make sense (but it also limits our choices).

Mel - do you mean V Australia partners with Delta? I get confused with Virgin - isn't Virgin Australia the re-branded Virgin Blue which is only internal in Oz and V Australia is the airline that flies to the USA?

I don't suppose Southwest partners with anyone? Also I checked and Virgin America don't fly into Albuquerque which is where we plan to start our driving holiday, finishing in Denver.

Anyone else?

Kay
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Jul 20th, 2011, 04:15 AM
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According to their website, yes.

I'd check with Delta first as you'd then be able to check your luggage all the way through from Australia to your final destination (you have to clear Customs in LAX, but as mentioned above, it's fast and easy to re-check to your connecting flight). You'd also be protected in case of a missed connection, but I believe it must be on the same ticket...the airline gurus over on the Air Travel forum can confirm or deny that.

I understand the problem with booking the entire trip from Australia as I routinely fly from PER-SIN and then connect with United to the US, and I can't do it all on the same ticket - even though they're partner airlines - it's insanely expensive.

If Delta doesn't work out, check United, I fly them from LAX/SFO to DEN/COS. As far as I can tell, they also fly to Albuquerque. United uses Skywest for their regional flights (still listed under United though).

I've never flown Delta, but I personally have no issues with any US carrier when it comes to safety (other issues, yes, but not safety).
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Jul 20th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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Five hours will be okay as long as international plane isn't delayed.

Would you consider spending a night near the airport just to be sure? You should be able to find something reasonable with a free shuttle. Priceline, Hotwire, Expedia, etc.
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Jul 20th, 2011, 02:34 PM
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Unless you really need a partner airline, Southwest is fine. We've flown Southwest from ABQ to LAX a couple of times, then walked to the Air New Zealand terminal next door with no problems.

Allowing five hours between flights sounds like a good idea.

Lee Ann
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Jul 20th, 2011, 02:58 PM
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United.com or Quantas can book you straight through to Alb , and with a return from Denver. Just use the "multi city" booking option. It is no more expensive than doing it separately. Upon departure in Sydney, make sure that they check your bags all the way through to Albuquerque. You will have to handle your bags through customs at LAX, but they will take them right back and re-check them.
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Jul 20th, 2011, 06:29 PM
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"Quantas" is a common mistake that drives Australians wild.

It's Qantas - Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.

Sorry, tracy, I just couldn't resist.
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Jul 20th, 2011, 07:44 PM
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Thanks tracys2cents but I have checked quite a few times and it is a lot more expensive to book the whole trip through to Albuquerque with Qantas. If it was the same price or cheaper I would happily book it all on one ticket.

You can't book with V Australia to Alb, I'd have to book Delta separately for the LAX/Alb sector, so will check out prices and schedules. Also not keen on United, they don't have a good reputation.

Thanks for all the food for thought.
Kay
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Jul 20th, 2011, 07:47 PM
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United's not that bad Kay. A domestic flight is a domestic flight. Where United really falls down is on it's international flights IMO.
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Jul 20th, 2011, 09:10 PM
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Hi Mel, completely agree, I meant I didn't want to fly with United from Melbourne. A really short flight would be OK.

I think we're either going to have to spend more time or more money - extra time at LAX in between separate international and domestic flights or extra money on a carrier that flies Melbourne to Albuquerque.

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Jul 20th, 2011, 09:16 PM
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Does it have to be LAX? Is SFO a possibility?
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Jul 20th, 2011, 10:15 PM
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We have no desire to go to LAX, it's just that most flights from the east coast (Mel/Syd) go to LAX. Pity we can't fly direct to more cities. SFO would be great, do you know who flies there and on to Albuquerque and back from Denver? I've done a lot of searches on the airlines and the US airlines tend to be more expensive than Australian based airlines but looking at all options.

All help is appreciated.

Kay
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Jul 24th, 2011, 12:06 AM
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Hi, Qantas is flying to Dallas now and i read an article that because it is further to fly they have to carry more fuel which means they can never fully book the flight and you MIGHT end up having spare seats. It might be worth thinking about as I have also read that Dallas is an easier airport to transfer through. However, I haven't done any research on how many hours it would add to your total flight, so that might make it unreasonable. Anyway, it's just a thought.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 02:29 AM
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Thanks cathies, I had read that too, that the planes are not full. Those longhaul flights are bad enough but if you have a person squished on either side it's even worse. It would be bliss to have space to spread out, maybe even lie down

I'll check prices and total journey times, though part of Qantas website is not working properly, and has been like that for weeks (multi-city function).

It would add another flight sector each way as the Qantas Dallas flights fly back into Brisbane and we live in Melbourne, also I think they leave from Sydney. I'm not going to find the perfect flights and am driving myself a little nuts!

Kay
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Jul 24th, 2011, 02:45 AM
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Just in case anyone is interested -

It's about AUD$3000 on Qantas return Melb to Dallas. Flight going over approx 18 hours, return is about 21 hours. We'd have to add on time and cost for domestic flights.

AUD$2800 on Qantas return to LAX. Journey Melbourne to LAX is about 14 hours (direct), return is approx 16 hours, also direct.

V Australia is AUD$2112 return Melb to LAX so much cheaper.

Still looking at all options, airfares from Australia are so expensive I wouldn't book anything without checking every airline I can think of.

Kay
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Jul 24th, 2011, 03:27 AM
  #20
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Using www.kayak.com I see MEL-ABQ, DEN-MEL for as low as $1646 USD ($1515 AUD). This is for random dates in Sept.
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