Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

How long to allow for clearing customs at DFW?

How long to allow for clearing customs at DFW?

Dec 17th, 2005, 08:03 AM
Posts: n/a
How long to allow for clearing customs at DFW?

Hi all -- I am trying to book a February FF Award trip to Vancouver. Connecting through DFW AA shows one itinerary with a 45 minute connection on the return. Is that enough time for customs? Is customs shorter if you are returning from Canada, then, say, Europe or Asia? I have not gone through customs at DFW since before 9/11, and the 45 minute connection seems a little too good to be true. I would love your advice on this matter, and thank you!
Dec 17th, 2005, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,067
You go through US customs and immigration in Canada before you board your plane.
ms_go is online now  
Dec 17th, 2005, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,315
For flights from Canada to US, you clears US Customs & Immigration at the departure airport, not on arrival at DFW.
J62 is online now  
Dec 17th, 2005, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,050
Don't even consider it. All it would take is a minor flight delay, or another flight arriving at customs at the same time as yours, to eat up that connection time, which IMHO isn't enough even for a strictly domestic trip.
Anonymous is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
45 minutes is a legal connection. There's no customs and no security check you need to make at DFW. It's tight, but possible. But when's the next flight to your hometown? They'll rebook you on it if you miss the connection, but if you need to overnight, and the first flight was late due to weather or traffic control, you'll need to pay for your own hotel at DFW.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,050
Oh, it's been many years since I've flown from Canada into the US. But 45 minutes still seems like a tight connection. I've had to race thru that airport, and wouldn't want to try it again.
Anonymous is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
For all practical purposes at DFW, it's a domestic flight, as all passengers have already cleared US immigration and customs.

Also, there's a new interterminal train at DFW, which is very fast and frequent. It makes switching terminals much more quickly than before.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,151
I should put this on a new thread but maybe someone here knows -

I have a friend coming from London to Denver. Non-stop flight so he'll be clearing customs in Denver. I've flown into Denver countless times, but have always stopped somewhere else first. I can't for the life of me think where customs and immigration are at DIA. Anybody know? Is it usually quick?
Catbert is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Never been to DIA, but I think the only non-stop from London is on BA. Looking at the official flydenver.com site, he'll come out through the West side of the Jeppensen terminal, towards the northern end.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,151
Thank you. I'm guessing that since there are so few international flights, it will be quick (unless that means one agent open!)
Catbert is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 11:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5,869
No worries rt from CA.
I have cleared customs at DFW scores of times and it takes less than a few minutes if you're not the profiled terrorist/drug or cash mule of the week/month. The wait for luggage is the way longer.
Wish I could say the same about IAH where I always seem to get stuck in the hoards of arriving International passengers.
mikemo is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 01:18 PM
Posts: n/a
Well, thank you all so much -- how convenient, doing customs in Canada. I think I'll take my chances with the 45 minute connection. This is my "week as not a mom" trip and if the worst thing that happens to me is another night in a hotel with maid service and the remote all to myself, then I should be so lucky.
Dec 17th, 2005, 04:27 PM
Posts: n/a
droolpatrol-I just flew through DFW twice this past week, and 45 minutes is more than enough time to make your connection. I think the interterminal train is called SkyLink, and the info I read says the average wait time for the next train is 2 minutes, with an average trip time of 5 minutes. I'm sure it's longer if you're going from one end of the airport to the other, but it should be very doable, even if your flight is a little late. I landed and had exactly 30 minutes to make a connection and did so with 15 minutes to spare (that was walking, with no moving sidewalks or escalators). On my return, I made it to the next gate in under 15 minutes as well using the train (that gate was much farther away).

Look up a map of their airport and where your gates are ahead of time so you know where you're going. If you are pressed for time, it'd help to know which station is closest to your gates.
Dec 17th, 2005, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
In February - and considering where you're coming from - I would double check on how often your flight arrives on time - which could have a huge effect on if you make the connection.

(I saw in a recent travel magazine - don;t remember which - that some flights are late more than 70% of the time.)
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 07:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Looking at AA814, the early flight, on flightaware.com. It's been mostly ontime during the past month.

Scheduled arrival at gate is 1:25. Here are the dates in the last month that touch down is later than that:

12/16 1:47pm
12/12 1:39pm
11/29 1:43pm
11/22 1:38pm
11/21 1:32pm

Others are 1:25 or before. And none is excessively late.

The late flight AA330 is even better. Sceduled arrival is 7:55pm. Only dates in the last month that touch down is later are:

12/7 8:07pm
11/30 7:56pm
11/29 8:01pm

I say your chances of making the connection on either flight is pretty good.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 17th, 2005, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,213
Back in October, we flew into DFW from London. We were at the curbside waiting for our ride 15 minutes after our flight touched down.
yk is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 90
I found this posting while doing a Google search on customs time at DFW airport.

Four of my friends and I are going to London in July, and right now we're putting together the final details of what we want to do. We don't plan on buying our tour package until late Feb, early Mar, but we have seen a variety of valuable options from Expedia in our budget.

Our two finalists both take us to Gatwick. One is on US via CLT, and the other AA via DFW. Because CLT is smaller airport, I am personally inclined toward it. Yet, I am not opposed to connecting at DFW if the price is right. The return flight gives us only 1 hour, 15 mins between connections. Based on your experience, would this be enough time?
tnnonline is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
tnnonline - Where are you flying from. DFW is AA's largest hub, and for most destinations, there will be later flights if you miss your connection.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Coming back from any other place than Canada, Ireland and few Caribbean spots is much different and really can't be predicted with any accuracy.

DFW, just like any other airport has an extensive immigration and customs operation but it's the government that controls the speed of operations not your schedule. They really don't care if you have a tight connection. Airlines have no power to get you through just because you have a tight connection. (there may be an exemption here or there but it's mostly done for very high premium passengers, VIPs, not for the average Joe)

That said, I didn't have much luck with DFW. I had been selected for secondary customs check couple of times, the lines for US citizens seem longer in most cases, but overall it didn't take more than an hour for the entire process even during the customs secondary check times.

ORD, JFK, LAX have been very good to me. On the average, ORD takes me 1/2 hour from the time the plane doors open in Int terminal 5 until I'm sitting in the airline lounge in terminal 3 and that involves immigration, customs, train, security and a long walk to the AA's Flagship first class lounge. LAX takes little longer but still averages out to about 45 minutes.

Reporting from Istanbul Conrad.

AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,213
We live in Dallas. We've gone on at least 2-3 European trips each year and our experience at DFW have always been very positive.

We don't have checked luggage, and on average, from deplaning to out at curbside took us 15-30 mins.

The one and only time we were sent for secondary search at customs was because we checked off "yes" for bringing in food (we brought chocolates). HOwever, we checked that "yes" box every time (cuz we always bring back either cookies or tea leaves or chocolates) and just one out of many times we had to do secondary search.

The immigration and customs officers at DFW are 1000x friendlier than those at JFK.
yk is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Aug 9th, 2017 03:02 AM
Air Travel
Oct 11th, 2016 04:42 AM
Air Travel
Aug 2nd, 2015 07:35 PM
Air Travel
Jul 17th, 2013 11:06 AM
Air Travel
Jun 15th, 2005 11:50 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:59 PM.