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iflyrc5

International flight question

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We will be getting off the Maasdam in Auckland, NZ and flying American Airlines back to Indianapolis, IN via a plane change at LAX. American changed the flight times and we have a 2 hour layover - we have the Global Entry certification which should help.

 

Question #1 Will our luggage be checked all the way from Auckland to Indianapolis or do we need to collect it at LAX and check to Indy?

 

Question #2 Will 2 hours work for this turn around? It will be at 6:40am on Friday Dec 2.

 

We have only flown back into the USA a couple times and don't remember how the luggage was handled.

 

Appreciate all input.

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Can't help with your second question, but every time I've returned to the US from abroad and had a connecting flight, I've had to claim the bags at the first US airport, where you go through immigration and customs. Most airports have a place right by the doors leading into the airport where you can leave bags for your connecting flight.

 

You MAY have to go through US security screening to get to the gate for your connecting flight. If this is the case, remember to put all of your liquids >100 mL in your checked bag before you send it off to meet your connection. A friend lost a nice bottle of Argentine malbec he bought in the airport because he couldn't bring it through security the second time!

 

 

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I would be researching this on the Cruise Air board.

 

You will claim your bags at LAX, and recheck to your final destination after Customs. This is true anytime you enter the US, unless you are going through a pre-clearance location like Toronto. NZ doesn't qualify.

 

2 hours should be plenty.

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I fly internationally a lot. When you check in for your flight in Auckland, your bag will be tagged through to IND. It should read LAX/IND. However, since you're arriving on an international flight you always do immigration and customs at the first point of entry, that being LAX. So you'll go through the passport process but you'll also have to collect your bags and take them through customs. Since they are already tagged through to IND, you just simply turn the bags back over to the airline upon exiting the customs hall. Its a simple process.

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I came back from South America earlier this year via LAX on American Airlines and had to clear customs and immigration and claim my luggage and immediately drop it off at a transfer check station which was very easy and fast. But, you DO have to go through security again after you've dropped off your checked luggage so as others have noted here, make sure you don't have any banned liquids, etc with you or you'll lose them. I had a small bottle of wine that had to be left behind because I forgot about the security line.

 

 

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The same process applies to returning to Canada from the US. We normally return via Toronto on our way to Ottawa. The big thing to remember is that if you buy duty free alcohol at the airport in NZ or purchase it on the plane, you'll need to pack it in your checked luggage before flying on to Indianapolis.

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Ah yes, the duty free/liquids scenario. So you check your bags at your departure airport, then you go through security and do some shopping, you buy liquor and wine and put it in your carry on bag and board the plane. You arrive at your first point of entry and must do immigration, customs and security again. Here's where you have to put the liquid you bought duty free that exceeds security limits into your checked bag before you give it back to the airline. Airlines many times run announcements in flight to remind you of this, but not always.

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If you buy any alcohol at Duty Free at your NZ airport, be sure to have them put it in the special sealed bag for transport. I can't imagine them not having them with non-stop to the US flights. I've had them at my departure airport in Italy and France and Puerto Rico. If you have the sealed bag, you are allowed to keep this with you instead of having to put it in your checked bag. If they do not have the bags, be sure you have brought something to protect the bottle.

I'd be a little wary of just a 2 hour connect at LAX. Your GE should shave some time and hope that you get the PreCheck on your connecting boarding pass. I believe the flight from NZ (I only see one Nonstop) will park at TBIT. You'll have to get to the AA domestic terminal from there. Not sure if the security is set up now to be able to transit via the tunnel between TBIT and T4 or if you'll have to do security with the masses by going outside and walking to T4 (next-door). I don't do international connections at LAX, so I cannot verify if this has been completed.

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I think 2 hours is plenty of time. It takes all of 3 minutes to walk from Bradley International to American. Having Global Entry will allow you to do TSA Pre check in security.

 

 

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OP will have to claim luggage at first point of arrival in US. While Global Entry can expedite customs and immigration, and might expedite clearing security for connecting flight - making sure TSA Precheck is noted on flight receipt so it will appear on boarding pass.

 

I am not sufficiently familiar with LAX to opine on time to get from international arrival to American domestic gates (allowing for clearing security), but two hours really is not all that much time. Apparently American believes it is sufficient, but there have been times when they have changed flight times giving almost impossibly short connection times.

 

I know a couple of posters have confidently assured the two hours is plenty --- while it certainly can work, it really is not plenty of time - considering the chance of a late arrival, delays in claiming luggage, getting through entry, getting to other terminal, clearing domestic security, etc. If other options exist, I would want more time - better to kill a couple of hours - getting a decent breakfast,etc. worth asking American if any later connections are possible.

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a two-hour layover in LAX would make me extremely nervous. I have never been into or out of LAX on time, NEVER. The one time I had a 3 hour layover, the plane was over an hour late arriving AND for reasons that were never communicated, decided to cut customs/immigration/passport control staff to 2, even though there were at least 8 arriving flights at that time.

 

It took over 2 hours to get through the process, with a as much of it being the wait for luggage to take through with the passengers as the line at passport control.

 

I would definitely see what you can do to get a longer layover or have a backup plan for flights. When I missed my flight because of the delays, well beyond my control, the airline could not have been less helpful in getting alternative arrangements made. They didn't even have an agent there to assist passengers. I was so glad my parents had booked me a flight on another airline when they saw how late I was going to be and how tight the connection was.

 

Lesson learned, I never plan international flights without less than a 4 hour layover, and in LAX, I stretch it to 6 hours. I'd rather be stuck in an airport for longer than have to deal with missed connections. Though, in all honesty, I pay a premium to avoid LAX whenever possible!

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Can't help with your second question, but every time I've returned to the US from abroad and had a connecting flight, I've had to claim the bags at the first US airport ...

 

You MAY have to go through US security screening to get to the gate for your connecting flight. ...

There is one very simple principle that applies everywhere: If you have touched your checked bags, then you must clear security again before you can board another flight.

 

There are a couple of exceptions that I can think of, but they are in very uncommon situations.

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I fly internationally a lot. When you check in for your flight in Auckland, your bag will be tagged through to IND. It should read LAX/IND. However, since you're arriving on an international flight you always do immigration and customs at the first point of entry, that being LAX. So you'll go through the passport process but you'll also have to collect your bags and take them through customs. Since they are already tagged through to IND, you just simply turn the bags back over to the airline upon exiting the customs hall. Its a simple process.

Agree with the poster, with the caveat that the path from customs to turnback was not well signed and there was a bit of chaos about which line you should be in.

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I think 2 hours is plenty of time. It takes all of 3 minutes to walk from Bradley International to American. Having Global Entry will allow you to do TSA Pre check in security.

 

I agree. The Bradley terminal is the most westerly terminal. You'll exit the building facing the theme building, (the one with the arches). The American terminal 4 is a right turn to the south and a short walk in the fresh air. There is a connecting tunnel but it's kind of hard to notice, and I do not know about the current customs arrangements. With your GSE card TSA should be quick. Without unforeseen problems there's enough time, but not much to waste.

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I think 2 hours is plenty of time. It takes all of 3 minutes to walk from Bradley International to American. Having Global Entry will allow you to do TSA Pre check in security.

 

 

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Misinformation here. having GE does NOT guarantee Pre Check. You may still get the random "normal" line pass. More often than not you will get Pre Check, but it is foolish to count on it to shave 30 minutes from your waiting in line... It would be an unwelcome "gotcha" if you have only 2 hours to transit and you are relying on getting through all the checks quickly to make the flight.

Edited by slidergirl

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Just a friendly reminder that while TSA PreCheck is an additional or included benefit of being enrolled in Global Entry it is not 100% guaranteed. To use the PreCheck lanes you either have to have PreCheck printed on your boarding pass or get randomly selected by TSA to go through the lane. Some, in like a very few, have reported they've been able to talk their way into PreCheck using their Global Entry card but that's not a part of the program benefit.

 

PS - Typing at same time as Slidergirl.

Edited by Randyk47

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Just a friendly reminder that while TSA PreCheck is an additional or included benefit of being enrolled in Global Entry it is not 100% guaranteed. To use the PreCheck lanes you either have to have PreCheck printed on your boarding pass or get randomly selected by TSA to go through the lane. Some, in like a very few, have reported they've been able to talk their way into PreCheck using their Global Entry card but that's not a part of the program benefit.

 

PS - Typing at same time as Slidergirl.

 

Great minds think alike ;)

 

Sometimes, it works in reverse - you get pulled from the PreCheck line and get the regular check. Had that happen once - since I always opt out of the nude-o-scope scan because of a blown shoulder, I had to get the Freedom Grope as well as a tear-down of my daypack. Good thing I had a long connection time!!!

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I agree. The Bradley terminal is the most westerly terminal. You'll exit the building facing the theme building, (the one with the arches). The American terminal 4 is a right turn to the south and a short walk in the fresh air. There is a connecting tunnel but it's kind of hard to notice, and I do not know about the current customs arrangements. With your GSE card TSA should be quick. Without unforeseen problems there's enough time, but not much to waste.

 

How certain can anyone be that there will be no "unforeseen problems"?

 

While TSA "should be quick", sometimes it's not.

 

If there is a reasonable alternative - anywhere up to a few hours later, take if.

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I have entered the US at MIA, ATL, CLT, and LAX, among other airports. 2 hours is definitely not enough time. You first have to clear immigration, and even with GE, that takes time. Then, you have to wait for, and claim all of your bags, and a luggage cart to roll them on. Then, you must clear customs, usually long lines. After that, you must re-check your bags with American. Your bags will already have the proper tags for your domestic flight, so it is a simple drop-off. Then, you have to exit the international arrivals terminal and enter the domestic terminal. Your carry-on bags and you will have to pass through security, because you have been outside of the clean areas, and also had access to your checked bags. After that, you find your gate for your IND flight.

There are plenty of reasons for arrival delays into LAX. ATC delays, available gate delays, luggage delivery delays, etc. I arrived into LAX on an international flight with a 3-1/2 hour layover. We have GE and TSA pre-check. We barely made our domestic connection. And, after sitting in a coach seat for 12 hours from SYD to LAX, you want a little time to relax, grab a bite and a beer, before settling in for a 4 hour domestic flight. I would look for at least a 4 hour layover. Murphy's Law says that if anything can go wrong, it will, at the worst possible time, (when you only have a 2 hour layover). A 2 hour connection, international to domestic, is a legal connection at LAX. American is not responsible for delays out of their control, eg- gate delays, customs clearance, etc. Why take a chance to ruin the last day of your holiday by missing your connection ?

Edited by TAD2005

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Hi Iflyrc,

If it's the 787 overnight, I'd go for it. If the AKL departure is on time, there's enough slack in the schedule, and a morning departure from LAX isn't a problem.

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Totally agree - 2 hours leaves no leeway for anything to go wrong. You will end up being strung out at the end of what will, I'm sure be a relaxing cruise.

I would definitely ask for a later connection

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This is reminiscent of the hundreds of threads on this and other CC boards asking whether a flight at x:xxAM out of FLL is too early. Some will post that it's definitely too early, others will respond that they regularly book flights at that time without difficulty and a third group cautions that it is probably doable... if everything goes according to schedule.

 

I enjoy a nice relaxing end to my cruises with no rushing and no worrying, so if the OP's shoes, I'd book a later connecting flight.

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We will be getting off the Maasdam in Auckland,

NZ and flying American Airlines back to Indianapolis, IN via a plane change at LAX. American changed the flight times and we have a 2 hour layover - we have the Global Entry certification which should help.

 

Question #1 Will our luggage be checked all the way from Auckland to Indianapolis or do we need to collect it at LAX and check to Indy?

 

Question #2 Will 2 hours work for this turn around? It will be at 6:40am on Friday Dec 2.

 

We have only flown back into the USA a couple times and don't remember how the luggage was handled.

 

Appreciate all input.

 

We're from Carmel. We are doing the Westerdam Sidney to Auckland sailing that ends Dec 6, 2017. When we recently returned from an international flight and landed in Washington DC, 2 hours would not have been a enough time to make a connecting flight. I would imagine LAX is similar to DC as far as the number of flights landing etc. Many flights are overnight flights and arrive in the morning at LAX. If you can arrange at least a 3 hour layover, it would be good to do simply for your own peace of mind. In DC it took us 3 hours to get through custums, security etc. as others have described. By the time we got to our gate for the connecting flight, they were already boarding. Good luck.

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Why is it that when airports and airlines now almost universally suggest getting to an airport FOR A DOMESTIC FLIGHT at least two hours before flight time, we hear people saying that a SCHEDULED international arrival two hours before a connecting flight gives plenty of time?

 

I think the answer is a combination of two or more of the following: they have never flown, they have never experienced a late arriving flight, they have never experienced delays at immigration and/or customs, they have insufficient imagination to even conceive of things going wrong, they like the idea of sounding like experienced travelers by giving bland assurances, and maybe they hope to play a nasty trick on some gullible travelers.

 

Of course, it can be done - but the hassle of missing a connection - especially after getting off a trans-Pacific flight - is not something to unthinkingly risk - so why not suggest a reasonably cautious approach?

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