JFK Connection Time

Old Nov 24th, 2010, 06:51 AM
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JFK Connection Time

Should I even consider trying to make a 2.5 hour connection with an international arrival and flights that are ticketed separately?
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 06:58 AM
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No.

NEVER ticket separately, while the chance is small, if your domestic leg is delayed, canceled, or late for ANY reason you would miss your international leg and be plain out of luck (and $1000-$2000).

Again, the risk is very small, but the consequences are too huge, IMO.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 08:15 AM
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2.5 hours is cutting it very close. You have to claim and recheck your baggage and possibly go to a different terminal. What day are you considering traveling, where and which airllines?

BTW I would never put myself in such a situation.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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By international arrival I assume you are coming into JFK fro outside the US - and will have to go through Immigration, pick up your bags, go throgh customs and then possibly on to another terminal, check in, do security etc.

Your chance of success depends on if you are a US citizen, i fyou arriving flight is usually on time, how many international flights arive at the same time and if you have to switch terminals.

On a separte ticket I would never risk this.

Which airlines are you taking? Have you checked the on-time arrival record of your incoming flight? Will you be arriving midafternoon when most of the european flights land and Immigration is mobbed?
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 08:44 AM
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What time of year may also factor into your decision - will weather delays be a factor?

An international arrival will take at least an hour and perhaps as much as 1.5 hours to deplane, clear immigration, claim your luggage, clear customs and exit the terminal. Add to that the time it takes for you to get to your departure terminal, recheck your bags, check in for the domestic flight, go through the TSA checkpoint and finally walk to your departure gate and you could be cutting it very close.

You could save a little time if you are able to use "on-line check-in" for your connecting flight.

Personally, flying on separate tickets is something I avoid at all costs but sometimes it can't be helped. Just be prepared for Murphy's Law of Airport Travel which states the shorter your connecting time the more delays you'll encounter. Have an alternative plan of action and be comfortable with the potential cost consequences if something goes wrong.

2.5 hour connection time is doable but cutting it close.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 08:48 AM
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Is there a reason you are planning to ticket the flights separately? Any travel website (travelocity, expedia, etc) and even many airline websites will let you book flights on different airlines.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 09:01 AM
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I fly into JFK on international flights about 4-5 times each year, and I can't think of one time in the past 5 years where I would have missed a connecting flight with a 2.5 hr layover had I been connecting.

Using T1, T4, and T8 I've been through customs within 45min each and every time, usually closer to 30 or less. That time is from arrival at gate all the way through customs.

When I only have carry-on then the longest part is immigration. If I have checked bags then there's the typical wait for baggage claim.

That said, no, I would not book an unrelated (separate ticket) connecting flight with a 2.5hr layover - Mr. Murphy and I are close friends. OK, I might consider it if I could do online check in from overseas and I only had checked bags.

In my experience long haul flights into JFK aren't subject to as many delays as shorter haul flights. I suspect (not proven) that is because shorter flights are subject to ground holds at the departing airport when there is weather or ATC delays but at the time a flight from Europe, SA, or Asia is ready to depart it's the middle of the night at JFK and there is nothing at JFK preventing the flight from taking off.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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My most recent trip brought me into Terminal 7 at JFK, and I was off the plane, through immigration, and had picked up my bags within 40 minutes. So I guess the answer is that if you feel you have no choice, 2.5 hours is probably sufficient. It HAS gotten a lot better recently. But there's still a chance that you could miss your flight, and that would be unfortunate.

It also depends on whether you have to transfer to another terminal and how far it is. You have to allow 10 or 15 extra minutes to get to the other terminal, 15 minutes to check into the next flight, then 15 minutes for security. That leaves you with a very tight window, and that's if everything is going well.

If you are transferring to a domestic flight that leaves from the same terminal, then I'm somewhat less worried, but you simply won't be cut any slack if you miss that domestic flight. It will be considered your fault.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 11:11 AM
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15 minutes to get through security is cutting it very close. At some terminals (American is notorious) it can easily take 30 minutes or more. I would really consider trying to get the flights on one ticket.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for the replies. They confirm what my instinct tells me. I would be arriving on Finnair in one terminal and flying out on Delta from another.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 12:01 PM
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Oh, the reason I would be ticketing separately is that I'd be with Smartours and they include the air from JFK, but you have to get to and from JFK on your own. I thinking spending the night would make sense.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 08:06 PM
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It might not be necessary to spend the night. Are you saying there are no later flights. Finnair comes into Terminal 8. Delta--depending upon where you are going goes out of terminal 2 or 3. Airtrain at peak runs at 7 minute intervals, off peak they are further apart. It takes 2 minutes between terminals so you could at best need 20 minutes to get from one terminal to the next. ( and since you don't know where you are going , it will take longer)
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Old Nov 25th, 2010, 06:29 AM
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I'm going to San Diego. The latest flight I can find is on Delta at 5:30pm. I'd arrive on Finnair at 4:00.
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Old Nov 25th, 2010, 06:30 AM
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I meant 6:30pm.
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Old Nov 25th, 2010, 06:40 AM
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You'll be arriving at the end of the international arrivals pattern. If planes were on time you ight get through Immigration quicky - i fflifhts were late you might be bakced up - I've had it take 2 hours from wheels down to outside on the sidewalk - bu tI've alos had it take only abuot an huor.

Th eproblem is that even if it takes an hour, then 20 minutes to the Delta terminal, then 20 minutes to check in and 20 minutes through security - you are now 30 minutes before the flight - usual boarding cut-off and would have to gallop through the terminal, hope the gate is a near one and that they haven't filled your seat with a standby passenger.

The problem is not staying overnigh near JFK. the problem is that you were a no show for the flight and the next day will have to buy a ticket at a full fare price - which is who knows how much versus the $250 or whatever you probably paid.
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Old Nov 25th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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We flew from BWI to Milan with the international connection at JFK. Same airline, same terminal. We had a 3 hour connection time and missed the flight. Coming back we had the same in reverse except the connection time was 2 hours. We missed the flight to BWI. Lesson is that things can happen, don't take that chance.
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Old Nov 25th, 2010, 09:01 AM
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I'm realizing that with all the extra overnights, etc., going on this particular tour with Smartours loses its cost-advantage. Better to go with another company and fly all the way on one ticket.
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Old Nov 25th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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I believe AA has a late non-stop from JFK to SAN. AA and Finnair are both oneworld alliance, so it may be possible to link a Finnair ticket you get through Smartours and an AA ticket you buy into a single itinerary.

I'm not quite sure how that works. Maybe one of Fodors AA/oneworld experts like Gardyloo or AAFF will chime in.

If the AA flight is 6:30 or later your chances of catching that are definitely greater than the Delta flight since all your flights would be in/out of JFK T8.
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Old Nov 25th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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Time of year is indeed a factor. Still, in summer the Finnair flight arrives at 3:50 PM and AA's nonstop departs at 5:05, both from the same terminal (T8). It's a "legal" connection in that it's eligible for through-ticketing and bag check, so I see no reason that the OP couldn't opt for that. As soon as one exits the customs hall (and I've found T8 immigration and customs to be pretty speedy) there's a bag re-check desk where the bags are put back through, then you just go upstairs and clear security for the departing flight.

I'd contact whoever and see if your ticket could be amended or extended to SAN from HEL, so that you'd be protected in the event of a misconnect.

I'd also mention that AA is starting nonstop service from Helsinki to Chicago in the spring, and the connection to SAN through ORD would be even easier.
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Old Nov 25th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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I always get trip insurance. Would they cover me if I make a risky booking like this?
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