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-   -   JFK -- customs and security (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/jfk-customs-and-security-961165/)

DianeGermaine Jan 2nd, 2013 11:57 AM

JFK -- customs and security
 
I will be flying from Venice to JFK -- I will have 1 hr and 55 minutes for customs and security before my connecting flight -- flight from Venice arrives at JFK at 4:35 p.m. on a Sunday. Will I have enough time? (Last year I flew in from Liberia, Costa Rica to Atlanta thinking my 3 hour layover was much too long, but it ended up being just about right-- which brings up another question -- I don't recall having TWO long security screenings on international arrivals before -- even the people LEAVING the airport in Atlanta had to go through security before exiting the terminal-- full body scanner, etc. --- I could not figure that one out!)

nytraveler Jan 2nd, 2013 12:38 PM

OK - you have missed out on a couple of things.

First you have Immigration (allowing you into the country) - and lines are often long in the later afternoon when many international flights arrive

Then you have to wait for your luggage

Then you have to go through Customs

(I have had this part take up to 1.5 hours - just arriving in NYC and leaving the airport - so no chance to make the ongoing flight)

Then you need to recheck your bags

Then you need to go through security for the next flight

If these flights are on a single ticket you can take a chance - since if you don;t make it the airline is responsible for getting you on the next flight (but this may not be until the next day) at no charge.

If this is separate tickets there is no way I would risk it. Since if you are a no show for the second flight you would have a buy a new ticket at the (very expensive) walk-up rate.

nytraveler Jan 3rd, 2013 05:46 AM

t t t for the OP

doug_stallings Jan 3rd, 2013 11:21 AM

I doubt very much you will have enough time, and you'll make it only if your flight is on the same airline in the same terminal regardless. Luggage at JFK typically must be checked an hour before a flight. You have to go through immigration, wait for your luggage, glide through customs (which is usually nothing), and then re-check your luggage. That process can easily take more than an hour. Then you have to consider security, which can be daunting.

If you are transferring to another flight on the same airline leaving from the same terminal, then you may have enough time if absolutely everything goes your way (for me lately, immigration alone has rarely taken less than 30 minutes). I've also waited in 45-minute security lines in the afternoon at JFK.

I'd look for a better connection if at all possible. I'm not even sure that's a legal connection at JFK. If you can't change your reservation, then do carry on only for your luggage and hope for the best.

DianeGermaine Jan 4th, 2013 05:12 PM

same airline and I have been told the same terminal. also been told it is a legal connection. since it is on my way home and not the start of the trip, I might take the chance.

doug_stallings Jan 5th, 2013 09:30 AM

Which airline? Not all terminals are equal.

nytraveler Jan 5th, 2013 11:09 AM

Just so you know - you need to have a plan ready (as in what other flight the airline should put you on - they may be slow to respond) - since the chance to make this connection - I would rate at well less than 50%.

RoamsAround Jan 5th, 2013 12:59 PM

It's doable but you've left no wiggle room. Too many "What Ifs" like

What if:

Your in-bound flight is delayed?

You have a very long walk from arrival gate to Immigration control?

There are long lines at Immigration?

It takes a long time for your luggage to arrive at the carousel?

You get singled out for a close inspection by Customs?

If you need to check-in and get your Boarding Pass for your connecting flight there are long lines at the Check-in counter?

If there are long lines at the TSA checkpoint?

Good Luck = if it were me I'd allow more time - better to get through I&C quick and wait a little longer at the Gate for your flight than to miss it completely because you are stuck in a queue.

ellenem Jan 5th, 2013 02:19 PM

If your flight is direct from VCE to JFK, then I suspect you are flying on Delta. I believe that may be one point in your favor since Delta has its own customs and immigration. I've flown that flight a few times and not had a problem, but I often fly carryon only and never have to make a connection beyond JFK. Perhaps others can comment on their experience.

DianeGermaine Jan 7th, 2013 10:47 AM

it is Delta. I prefer to have plenty of time (3 hrs) between flights, but I am on the latest flight out that day from JFK to my final destination. I will check other airlines to see what later flights are available.

Continental_Drifter Jan 7th, 2013 11:37 AM

This can be done, but as others have said, it could be tight. We thought we had plenty of time on Delta coming in from Madrid through JFK to Atlanta last summer. It was maddening that we were corralled into a separate processing area for immigration with two agents, only one of which was processing in US citizens. If you are not from the US, then you were channelled to the regular immigration lines.

The good news is that it's Delta, so there will always be another connecting flight and they're pretty good re-booking you on the next flight, often automatically before you even request it.

The bad news is that just because it's a "legal" connection does not mean you'll make it. Sunday afternoon is typically full of business travellers headed out and leisure travellers returning home.

sf7307 Jan 7th, 2013 11:38 AM

Well, that's another problem -- what will you do if you miss your connection? There aren't any decent hotels near JFK.

doug_stallings Jan 7th, 2013 12:00 PM

There are dozens of decent hotels near JFK. Though none is really good, there are sufficient options that there is fallback. Let's not make things more complicated than they need to be and throw in a lot of extra confusion and anxiety.

I would caution that Delta actually flies into 3 different terminals, all connected airside. Terminals 2 and 3 are the main Delta terminals and are connected with a walkway (not that close however). A few Delta flights operate out of Terminal 4, and coach service connections are offered airside.

Delta's Terminal 3 is perhaps the worst air terminal in the U.S. (it's by far the worst at JFK) and some transfers necessitate walking outside. It's not that big a deal, but it's a long and circuitous route, not always covered.

DianeGermaine Jan 8th, 2013 10:27 AM

I don't usually fly business/first class, but for this trip I treated myself. I saw on its website that Delta has "special" security lines for "business elite" and "first class" travelers -- is this just a marketing ploy or will I really get a shorter line? nevertheless, I am not going to get too worked up since it is the last leg of my journey. thanks for all your replies.

doug_stallings Jan 8th, 2013 10:32 AM

Delta in fact has separate security lines for business/first, but they are in Terminal 2, not Terminal 3. But as I said you can walk outside and access either terminal and might have to anyway. The lines should be shorter in Terminal 2. But security and check-in lines for first/business passengers are always shorter as they get priority access to everything. I have no doubt this will make the transition easier, though business/first passengers don't get priority in immigration lines (though they do get off the plane faster so always have an advantage there).


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