Point of Entry wondering.. Help?

Old May 24th, 2016, 05:09 AM
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Point of Entry wondering.. Help?

Hey, I'm travelling to the US from Finland for the second time in my life come this fall.. Last fall I flew to LA directly from Finland and there was no question as to where I should pass the US Customs and Border Control. However this time I will fly to LA (United Airlines) with connecting flights as follows: Helsinki->Stockholm->Newark->LA. I've been stressing over the fact that my first contact with US will be in Newark which is not where I will be staying (also I have never flown through Newarl so the airport itself is unfamiliar). I only have a three hour transfer time in Newark and I'm worried that if I have to go through customs and border control then (being that it is my first point of entry) I might not have time to change flights. Can anyone here help me with this? Or at least give me some advice? Am I to go through customs in Newark or will the flight be connected automatically to LA and I will go through them in LA? When I think about it more, I think it makes more sense for me to go through CBS in Newark as my last flight is within the US.

And then onto my other concern.. If I am to go through CBS at Newark, I will also probably have to go and claim my luggage and do a new check-in for my flight to LA... In which case the transfer time is quite short.. :/ Does anyone know if they prioritize travellers with connecting flights in these kind of situations? In a worst case scenario I will have to go through CBS in Newark, claim my luggage, change terminals and re-check-in within three hours. I'm so concerned... I've travelled alot so I know how airports work but when it comes to CBS and the US regulations I'm lost... SOMEONE PLEASE HELP, I'm desperate!
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Old May 24th, 2016, 06:06 AM
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Yes, you will go through immigration and customs at your 1st point of entry, Newark.

Here is the sequence.

1. Immigration
2. collect baggage
3. customs
4. immediately outside of customs you will drop your bag off with UA. It will already be tagged for LAX.
5. Proceed to your departure gate, - you will need to pass through security.
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Old May 24th, 2016, 06:27 AM
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Your airline should have told you that and made sure you had enough connection time to make the connection. Call them if you're concerned.
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Old May 24th, 2016, 06:42 AM
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I'm sorry - but with 3 hours it's quite possible you will make the connecting flight but it's also possible you won't. I would want more time than that.

Your process will be as noted above. Your potential delays are:

Plane landing late
Long lines at Immigration (esp for non-US citizens)
Delay in arrival of checked baggage
Making your way through customs (can be a long line)
Dropping your bag for next flight
Taking Airtrain to your next terminal (find out NOW if it's a different terminal and exactly how to get there using airport map)
Going through security again with very long lines (many more travelers this year combined with fewer ATS agents so possibly a delay of more than an hour)

What you can do:

1. Sit as far forward as possible in the plane
2. When you get off run to Immigration (many people will be trotting/jogging) to get as far forward in Immigration line as possible
3. Make sure there is nothing in your luggage that would cause Customs/sniffer dogs to want to check your luggage
4. Make sure you have boarding passes for both flights before you leave home - or at least at your departure airport
5. If you are far back in the security line they may allow you to go to the front if your flight is about to leave - IF you have an excuse. Your excuse would be delays coming from previous flight. (I have seen agents tell people who were very late it is their own fault since they arrived at the airport much later than advised - seemed to be true - and the people ahead are also rushing to make a fight).

If it were me I would try to get a later connecting fight - but I am risk averse and have had a couple of bad experiences leaving from Newark
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Old May 24th, 2016, 09:54 AM
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Thank you so much to all of you for your advice! So my gut instinct turned out to be correct... I will contact the airline and see what they can do.. I'm hoping everything goes well and we make it! All of your comments helped alot!
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Old May 24th, 2016, 11:35 AM
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The good thing is New York/Newark to Los Angeles has a lot of flights, so if they won't switch you now (without charging you a lot), if you do miss the connection at least there is a chance they can get you on another flight the same day. I'm guessing you were on the 3:00. If so United looks like they typically have 4 later direct flights each day, almost one every hour with the last at 8:00.
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Old May 24th, 2016, 04:20 PM
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Let us know!
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