How Do Layovers Work?
Layovers can be stressful. Whenever possible, I prefer nonstop flights, even if they’re a little more expensive. But sometimes the price difference is too big to justify, and sometimes it’s just not possible to get where you’re going without a connecting flight. So how do layovers work? What happens with your checked luggage on a layover? Do you have to go through customs and immigration if you’re only in the airport for a layover? Here’s everything you need to know about layovers and how layovers work to help make your journey a little less stressful.
How do boarding passes work with layovers?
Domestic layovers are usually pretty simple. Whether you’re flying within the US, Australia, Canada, or somewhere else, domestic layovers are relatively similar.
Assuming you booked both flights together on one itinerary (as opposed to two separate itineraries) you will get both boarding passes when you check in for your first flight. When you land at your layover airport, you need to look at the departures board and find the gate for your next flight.
International layovers can get a little more tricky. With so many variations of international layovers, there are also a variety of situations you could end up dealing with.
If your itinerary is entirely with one airline or even two airlines that are partners, in most cases, you will get both boarding passes when you check in for your first flight.
But if you used a booking engine and your flights are with two different airlines, especially airlines that aren’t really partners, you might only get your first boarding pass when you check in.
Then, at your layover airport, you’ll have to find a ticket counter for the airline that operates the second flight to get your second boarding pass.
Not sure if your flights are with partner airlines? Just ask at the ticket counter when you check in if you will be getting both boarding passes or if you will need to get the second one at your layover airport. They’ll tell you what to do.
>>Check out these layover perks you never knew about.
What happens with checked luggage on a layover?
For domestic layovers, your checked luggage will be tagged to your final destination, so there’s nothing for you to do while on your layover. Your bags will get taken off the first flight and loaded onto the second flight.
For international layovers, this varies depending on the airport and the country where your layover is.
If you fly from somewhere outside the US or Canada to an airport in the US or Canada, you will have to collect and recheck your luggage no matter where you’re going on your second flight.
In most other countries, as long as both of your flights are on the same airline or partner airlines, your luggage will get transferred from the first to the second flight for you.
Again, if you’re not sure, just ask the agent when you’re checking in if you will need to collect and recheck your luggage at your layover airport.
Avoid luggage worries by learning how to pack light and travel carry-on only! Check out the best carry-on luggage.
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Do you have to go through border control/immigration and customs on a layover?
This only applies for international layovers. Whether you have to go through immigration and customs really varies on the airport and the country.
As with checked luggage, if you have a layover in the US or Canada, you will have to go through border control at the first point of entry into the US or Canada, even if your final destination is somewhere else.
So for example, if you are flying from Europe to Mexico with a layover in the US or Canada, you will have to get your passport checked and fill out the customs form, as well as collect and recheck your luggage, even though you’re not staying in the country or even leaving the airport.
You are a transit passenger if you are not leaving the airport and not staying in that country. In this case, you often don’t have to go through immigration or customs. Look for a sign that says transit or transit passengers or transfer or connecting flights.
I’ve been able to do this in many airports, such as Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Bangkok, and there are many more. If you don’t go through border control, you’re not technically entering that country.
However, if you have a really long layover and you want to go check out the city, you will have to go through immigration and customs in order to leave the airport.
Transiting through the Schengen Zone
Transiting through the Schengen Zone can be a little different since a flight from one Schengen country to another is considered domestic.
So for example, if you’re flying from the US to Paris and then onto Rome, you will go through immigration and customs in Paris but not in Rome.
If you have two layovers, it gets even trickier.
Let’s say you’re flying from the US to Frankfurt to Rome to Istanbul. When you arrive in Frankfurt, you will have to go through border control.
This is because domestic flights, which includes your flight from Frankfurt to Rome, are in a different section of the airport, so you’re leaving the international section and entering Germany, even though you’re not leaving the airport.
You won’t go through border control to enter Italy because you were already cleared in Frankfurt. But you will have to go through passport control in Rome to be stamped out of the Schengen Zone, and you’ll go through customs and immigration in Istanbul since Turkey is outside of the Schengen Zone.
It’s usually pretty obvious once you arrive. When you get off the plane, look for signs that say transit, transfer, or connecting flights. If you don’t see any, and the only option leads you to a passport check line, then you really don’t have a choice.
If you want to know ahead of time, ask the agent when you check in, or even one of the flight attendants on your first flight, if you will have to go through immigration and customs on your layover.
Do you have to go through security on your layover?
Like most things, this varies on the airport. The simple answer is you will probably have to go through security.
For most domestic layovers, you won’t have to go through security again. However, some airports have separate security checkpoints for each terminal, so if you land in one terminal and your next flight is in another, you would have to go through security again.
On international layovers, even those where there is a transit area, you will most likely have to go through security.
Some airports in other countries have security checks for each individual gate or a small group of gates. In this case, you will have to go through security again, but it should be a short line.
There’s also the chance your first flight lands in the same area your second flight leaves from, in which case you might be able to stay within the secured area and not have to go through the security check again.
Unfortunately this means any liquids you purchased beyond security at the first airport won’t make it through security at the layover airport.
For a better travel experience, check out these 30 airport hacks every traveler should know from my friend Eden at Mint Notion.
Do you need a transit visa for your layover?
Some countries require certain nationalities to get a transit visa in order to transit through the airport. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s worth researching before you book a flight with a layover, or at least before you board the flight.
For most nationalities, if you have a layover within the Schengen Zone and your final destination is outside of the Schengen Zone, you don’t need a transit visa. Again, verify this for your nationality.
The US requires transit visas for many nationalities, unless your nationality is on the list eligible for the visa waiver program. For more info, see here and here.
Since this is such a complicated area subject to variations based on your nationality, the country you will be transiting through, and how long your layover is, do a few online searches and check the website for the embassy of the country where your layover is to see if you need a transit visa.
If you’re still not sure, it’s also a good idea to check with the airline or even contact the consulate or embassy of the country you will be transiting through before you book your flight.
Whenever possible, I think it’s best to avoid layovers that require transit visas since there’s usually a fee involved. The hassle of filling out an application and paying a fee for a country you’re not even really going to just doesn’t seem worth it.
Make sure your layover is long enough, and don’t let layovers get you stressed out. Hopefully these tips and explanations of how layovers work will help you transit smoothly from one flight to another.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Carry-On Luggage
- 8 Things to do If You Think Your Layover is Too Short
- How to Maximize a Long Layover
- Can I Leave the Airport During a Layover?
January 28, 2018 @ 7:08 am
Hi there..my friend is from Kenya.. He was supposed to fly from Malaysia to Kenya via various layovers flights. His journey would be Penang (Malaysia) to KL (Malaysia) then KL (Malaysia) to Kochi (India) and then Kochi (India) to Jeddah (KSA) and then finally from Jeddah (KSA) to Nairobi (Kenya).
However, he was rejected from entering a flight from KL to Kochi (India) just because he did not apply for an India Visa. Even just for connecting flights, you need the Visa as well for India? What about later in Saudi Arabia is the same as well? I mean my friend is not going out from the airport as he just want to go back home quickly, so do he need the Saudi Visa as well just to be in order to go back to Kenya?
January 30, 2018 @ 8:29 am
Hi Dennis! I’m not a visa expert. Some countries do require a transit visa for certain nationalities, so India might be one of those that requires it. He should really check with the embassies for the countries he will be flying through to make sure he knows the requirements. Sorry!
January 26, 2018 @ 12:16 am
Hi Ali! Im flying from Helsinki, Finland to Dallas, US. I have a layover at New York JFK airport before my connecting flight to Dallas. I’ll be arriving at terminal 8 JFK at 15:55 and my connecting flight to Dallas will depart at terminal 8 at 17:25. Do I need to go through another security check?
Do I have enough time to change my flight? I’ll be only having carry-on luggage. The airlinelast that im going to be flying with is American Airlines. Will I get all my tickets from the ticket machine at the airport in Helsinki, or do I have to use the ticket machine again at JFK?
Sorry for all the silly questions, but im very anxious about the short debarture time, im afraid that im not going to have enough time. What other things should I expect when I first arrive in JFK? This is my first time flying!
Help would be appreciated!
January 30, 2018 @ 8:27 am
Hi Nelly! You’re layover in JFK might be a little tight, but it’s not impossible. When you land at JFK, you’ll have to go through US immigration and customs, normally you’d have to claim and recheck your luggage so it’s helpful that you’ll only have carry-on, and yes, you’ll have to go through security again. When you check in for your first flight, they should be able to print both boarding passes for you, so that won’t be a problem. Take a look at my tips for short layovers here, I think a few of them will be helpful to you in this situation. Also, sometimes international flights end up taking less time than scheduled, so maybe you’ll get lucky and your flight from Helsinki to JFK will land a little early. Everything should be well sign posted in JFK, so you’ll be able to find your way around. And don’t be afraid to ask an airport employee for help if you aren’t sure which way to go. But as far as immigration, just follow everyone else when getting off the plane. They really don’t let you take a wrong turn when you haven’t gone through immigration yet. You’ll do great, and enjoy your trip!
January 12, 2018 @ 11:29 pm
I am travelling from Seattle – New York – Abu Dhabi – Bangalore. Seattle to New York is American Airlines and New York to Abu Dhabi is Etihad. They are partner airlines and the ticket is booked in one itiernary. I have a layover of 6 hrs in New York. As they are partner airlines and ticket is one itinerary, should I collect and recheck in the luggage at New York?
January 13, 2018 @ 9:20 pm
Hi Rajeev! I am 99% sure you won’t have to get your luggage in NYC, they really should be able to transfer your checked luggage. To be safe, it’s worth verifying with American Airlines when you check in or call customer service ahead of time to be sure. I can’t imagine them not transferring your bags. Keep in mind though, if you’re flying this route or a similar route going back to Seattle, you’ll have to claim and recheck your luggage in NYC or wherever you enter the US first, during the customs and immigration process, before you can proceed to your next flight. That has to do with US customs, not the airlines themselves.
December 12, 2017 @ 11:46 pm
I’m planning flying from Moscow, Russia to Toronto,Canada(I have Canadian visa), in order to get a cheap flight it has to be more then 1 stop, for example Moscow-Amsterdam-Baltimore-Toronto, is any airports in the USA that I don’t have to go through immigration? Because I will have to have visa and spend extra time.
December 13, 2017 @ 9:39 am
Hi Alex! No, there aren’t any US airports where you wouldn’t have to go through immigration. If you can’t or don’t want to deal with getting a US visa (I wouldn’t blame you!) you will have to find a flight that does not go through the US. They don’t issue transit visas, and you have to go through customs and immigration even if you’re just passing through on your way to another country. I think the extra money you pay for a different plane ticket will more than make up for not having to get a US visa and not having to deal with that hassle.
November 15, 2017 @ 3:51 pm
I’m a US citizen studying abroad in Spain, and therefore have a Spanish student visa. I’ll be visiting Italy next month, and I’m worried about layover on the return trip. I’ll be flying from Florence to Valencia with a layover in Zurich. My layover is only 50 minutes long. From what I’ve heard I should be able to able the connection if I don’t have to go through passport control or customs. All countries are in the Schengen area, but I’m a US citizen, not an EU citizen so I’m not sure if that matters for passport control. If it doesn’t matter that I’m an American and won’t get stamped and have to go through customs I should be able to make my connecting flight, but if not… it’s iffy. Do you know if I’ll have to go through passport control in Zurich?
November 16, 2017 @ 6:59 pm
Hi Ro! So if I’m understanding this correctly, you’ll be flying Florence – Zurich – Valencia. Since Italy, Switzerland, and Spain are all in the Schengen Zone, you won’t go through passport control or customs at any point. That has nothing to do with citizenship, it’s that there are no border controls between countries within Schengen. You might have to show your passport as ID when checking in and/or boarding. A 50 minute layover is a little short, but it’s doable. Find your gate before doing anything else to make sure you have enough time, but I think you’ll be fine.
December 9, 2017 @ 7:23 pm
My second flight ended up delayed so the short layover ended up not being a problem. Thank you for your help!
December 9, 2017 @ 8:10 pm
Good to hear it!
October 13, 2017 @ 12:21 pm
Hello, I’m flying for the first time on Saturday, I’m flying out of Norfolk to St.louis with a 59m layover in DC. My question is, am I gonna have to go through security again att layover in DC?
October 13, 2017 @ 3:58 pm
Hello! Probably not, but it depends on how the airport is set up. There are three airports in the DC area, so I don’t know which one you’re referring to. Check this article https://washington.org/DC-guide-to/washington-dc-airports and in the first section, there are links to each airport. Pick the one you’re going to, and on that site, look for the airport terminal map. Usually you can tell from those whether or not the terminals are connected beyond the security checkpoint. Also, look at what airline you’re flying and which terminals the airline uses.
October 13, 2017 @ 4:54 pm
Yeah Its Dulles Airport, United Airlines. I tried looking at the map, it’s not working out to well tho. Don’t know what I’m looking at.
October 14, 2017 @ 10:51 am
Yeah ok, that’s not a great map. I found this about security info http://www.flydulles.com/iad/security-information and it sounds to me like you can get from one terminal to another beyond the security checkpoints, so you shouldn’t have to go through TSA on your layover.
September 14, 2017 @ 1:22 pm
I am Lebanese and I have a USA visitor visa. On my way back from Los Angeles to Lebanon, I have a 50 minutes layover in Canada where I reach on Air canada and leave on another Air Canada plane. Do I need a visa?
Hopefully you can answer my question
September 14, 2017 @ 10:42 pm
Hi Saeed! I’m not a visa expert, but you probably do need a transit visa for Canada. You’ll have to go through Canadian border control when you land there, before you can proceed to your next gate, so you’ll probably need a visa. Check with the Canadian embassy, and you can find more info here and here. Sorry, I’m sure that’s not the answer you want to hear, but hopefully it’s not too complicated to get a transit visa.
September 11, 2017 @ 10:28 pm
These may be silly questions… I’m flying from Calgary to Vancouver with a 1hr39min layover, then from Vancouver to Sydney (booked on one itinerary). I am wondering if I check in to the domestic or international airport at Calgary?
Also, when I get to Vancouver, will I have to go through security again? Do you think there will be enough time to make the flight?
I am travelling alone for the first time so just want to be sure!
Thanks so much in advance!
September 13, 2017 @ 7:04 pm
Hi Amanda! As far as I can tell, there is only one airport in Calgary. So you check in with your airline there, and they should be able to print both boarding passes and check your luggage to your final destination. According to this map of the Vancouver airport, it looks like all terminals are connected within the secured area, so you shouldn’t have to go through security again. An hour 39 minutes is a little tight, but not impossible. When you land, find the screen with departing flights and find out where your next gate is, follow the signs, and you should be fine. If you’re worried about the time of your layover, check out my tips for short layovers here.
September 13, 2017 @ 11:48 pm
Thanks so much for your reply, I really appreciate it!
September 4, 2017 @ 7:33 pm
Hi Ali, thank you. I never had any layover at ORD. I had my first layover at MSP and it was smooth, never had problems. All I know Chicago is a very busy airport. I hope they’ll make it.
Again thank you. 🙂
August 30, 2017 @ 7:54 pm
Hi Ali, Good morning. My parents are going on there very first vacation back to the Philippines next year. They both are green card holders. I bought their tickets at kayak and I end up paying 2 different airlines. I was looking through my email and I got 2 different itinerary from each airlines, United Airlines and Asian Airlines.
Their flight goes from MSP-ORD (4hrs55mins layover)-Seoul (3hrs layover) – MNL, Philippines. I am worried since this is their first time, they don’t want tickets over $1000. With having 2 different itinerary, are they going to go through customs – baggage claim – recheck in again in ORD? If they will, can they recheck in with United Air at terminal 1 since they are partners with Asiana Air? instead of riding the ATS with their luggage to terminal 5. My mom can’t really walk fast and go up and down the stairs because of her arthritis and her knee hurts sometimes. Will she be able to ask for wheel chair? does she needs to show proof (Med ID and etc.)? And if they will allow her ti use a wheelchair, is the United Air gonna assist her until she reaches terminal 5? When she reaches terminal 5 will Asiana Air provide her another wheelchair if she wants one? Will they be asking for proof too? and finally will a 3hr layover at ORD from the Philippines around 7:40pm on Friday be enough to get to their gate (when it’s time to return from their vacation)? I know they have to go through Customs in ORD and drop their luggage but ORD is a busy airport (long lines).
I’m so sorry for asking a lot of questions, I never had this situation before because I always go with Delta. I remember having only 1 itinerary when I went on a vacation to the Philippines. I did some research and found out that United Air and Asiana Air were airline partners under Star Alliance. I just don’t have any idea how to help them.
September 4, 2017 @ 11:41 am
The US doesn’t have formal exiting passport control like most countries, so your parents won’t have to do anything special in ORD before boarding their flight to Seoul. Since United and Asiana are partners, they should be able to tag the checked luggage to go all the way from MSP to MNL, but you/your parents need to verify that with the airline. If for some reason United can’t tag their luggage to go from ORD forward, they’ll have to go to baggage claim and recheck their bags, but I don’t think this is very likely.
On the way back to the US, they will have to go through customs and immigration in ORD, if that is the first US airport they land in. They will have to claim and recheck luggage regardless of airline. I haven’t flown through ORD in recent years, but some airports have a place to recheck bags immediately after customs, while at other airports, you have to go back out to the check-in counters to recheck bags. If ORD is option one, your parents shouldn’t have a problem because they won’t have far to go with their luggage. If it’s option 2, they can certainly get assistance.
I doubt they’d have to show proof of physical need for a wheelchair, but if she has some kind of medical ID or other paperwork, it can’t hurt. You should contact the airline ahead of time and find out what she needs and what the procedure is for getting wheelchair assistance at each airport, and for ORD when they are returning from their international flight, specify that they will need help rechecking their luggage.
ORD is notoriously bad for international layovers, but I think 3 hours is manageable. Especially if they are getting wheelchair assistance, they should be able to notify the gate agents that they are bringing someone for the ORD-MSP flight.
I hope this helps!
July 25, 2017 @ 10:21 pm
Ali, this is an amazing resource and awesome that you’re still answering comments.
My question is regarding two parts of a long layover. We’re traveling from Philadelphia to Hong Kong, with a long layover at LAX (24ish hours) in between. We’ll obviously be leaving the airport and going to a hotel to utilize this time in the city. If we’re checking baggage that goes through to a final destination, will we need to pick that baggage up once we arrive in LAX, or do airlines typically hold onto it, even if it’s for that long a period of time, until the connection is ready to leave?
Also, if airlines have certain baggage rules (we’re taking American Airlines for both legs of the flight) regarding no charge for checked bags for international flights, would that also apply to the first leg of that trip (PHL to LAX) or would that only apply to the connection to Hong Kong?
I realize these are sort of obtuse questions, but even the airline had a hard time answering this stuff for us. Thank you for your time!
July 26, 2017 @ 2:41 pm
Thanks Michael! In my experience with long layovers, the airline often can’t even print your boarding pass for the second leg, if it’s more than 24 hours ahead of when you’re checking in for the first leg. So in that case, chances are they won’t be able to check your luggage all the way through either, so you’d have to pick up your bags in LAX. As for the checked luggage fees, you should probably check with American Airlines on that. Sometimes airlines go by the rules of the domestic flight, sometimes they go by the rules of the international flight, and I’m not sure which they do. There’s some info on their site https://www.americanairlines.de/i18n/travel-info/baggage/checked-baggage-policy.jsp but I’m still not seeing anything that specifically answers your question. But especially considering the 24+ hour layover in LAX, my guess is that you’ll have to pay for checked bags on the domestic flight. Try calling their customer service, have them look up your itinerary, and see what they say. Sorry I can’t give an exact answer on this one!
July 16, 2017 @ 4:28 pm
Hi, Ali! Great article. I just want to really clarify some matters. I am from Philippines and I will go to Canada. However, I have to stop to USA for my connecting flight. I already have my USA Transit Visa. Will I be needing anything else for my transit?
July 19, 2017 @ 2:18 pm
Hi Anne! I’m not an expert at visas, so you should check with the US Embassy to ensure you have everything you need. A US transit visa sounds like all you would need, but I can’t tell you that with 100% certainty.
July 16, 2017 @ 1:57 pm
I am flying to Japan in the beginning of September (but the flights are not organised by me so I don’t know any specific details about them) and I am worried that I don’t have enough layover time…is it possible I make it with this itinerary?
Basically, it goes like this:
1. Rijeka – Stuttgart (Germanwings) –> layover time only 1 h 25 min in Stuttgart
2. Stuttgart – Frankfurt (Lufthansa)–> 1 h 50 min layover time in Frankfurt
3. Frankfurt – Osaka (Lufthansa)
1. Osaka – Tokyo/Haneda (All Nippon Airways) –> 2 h 5 min layover time in Tokyo
2. Tokyo – Frankfurt (Lufthansa) –> 2 h 15 min layover time in Frankfurt
3. Frankfurt – Munich (Lufthansa) –> only 1 h 5 min layover time in Munich
4. Munich – Rijeka (Croatia Airlines)
Is this going to be enough layover time in Munich and Stuttgart? In all other airports I have app. 2 hours give or take, but these ones are cutting it short. Also, I have no idea if I have to recheck luggage or what, as I’m travelling for a long while so I need bigger luggage
Thank you so much in advance if you can answer!
July 16, 2017 @ 2:01 pm
Sorry for the bad formatting, I didn’t expect it to turn out weird
July 19, 2017 @ 2:16 pm
July 19, 2017 @ 2:16 pm
Hi Lucija! The layover in Munich does look a little short, but it’s not impossible. You’ll have to go through passport control to get stamped out of Schengen (because you’ll have to get stamped in when you land in Frankfurt) which could take some time depending on the lines. The one in Stuttgart might be a little short too, since you’ll have to get stamped into Schengen there, but again, not impossible. You probably won’t have any time to waste, so I’d suggest seeing if you can get an aisle seat as close to the front of the plane as possible on the flights that land in Stuttgart, Munich, and even Frankfurt for the 1 hour 50 minute layover. I have more tips for short layovers here.
As long as all your flights are booked on one itinerary, not as separate pieces, your luggage should get tagged to your final destination and you won’t have to claim and recheck it. Verify this when you check in. Also, remember that a long trip doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pack more stuff. You can do laundry in Japan to reduce the amount of clothing you bring with you, and you can buy toiletries there if you don’t pack enough to get through your trip. No matter how long my trip is, I always pack carry-on only by bringing what I would need to get through a week and doing laundry and restocking on things in my destination.
As far as passport checks and customs for your itinerary, here’s what it should look like: You’ll get stamped out of Croatia in Rijeka. You’ll get stamped into Schengen in Stuttgart and stamped out in Frankfurt. And you’ll get stamped into Japan in Osaka. On your way home, you’ll get stamped out of Japan in Tokyo. You’ll get stamped into Schengen in Frankfurt and out in Munich.
Enjoy your trip!
July 3, 2017 @ 9:20 pm
Thanks for the detailed information. I have few questions related to immigration and baggage check-out and check-in. I am travelling from Hyderabad, India to Dallas, US via London (LHR) and Chicago (O’Hare).
Hyd – London -> British Airways
London – Chicago -> American Airlines
Chicago – Dallas -> American Airlines
Will I go through immigration at Chicago or at Dallas? And also do I need to check-out my baggage and check-in again at Chicago? If yes, can I catch the connecting flight as I have a layover duration of only 01hr 40min at Chicago and that too from a different terminal? Please help me on this.
July 7, 2017 @ 11:11 pm
Hi Mohammad! You will go through US customs and immigration in Chicago because that is your first US city. You will have to claim and recheck your luggage in Chicago, and you will most likely have to go through security again. An hour 40 minutes is tight, especially for that airport, though not impossible. You could call American Airlines and see if they would charge you to change to a later Chicago-Dallas flight. If they can’t change it or they’re going to charge you extra to do it, ask them how they handle rebooking you if you miss your connection due to lines at immigration if the London-Chicago flight is on time. (Often airlines are not so helpful in those situations.) And check out my tips for short layovers. Enjoy your trip!
June 10, 2018 @ 1:17 pm
I know it’s too late to reply. I thank you so much for your information. As you have suggested, I have called British airways whether they can arrange a later flight if I miss connection at Chicago, but that discussion turned out in booking a new flight which goes directly to Dallas from London. So I didn’t had any trouble and it was very smooth. I thank you once again and appreciate the work that you are doing. Have a good time.
June 11, 2018 @ 11:37 pm
Thanks for letting me know, that’s really great to hear!
June 24, 2017 @ 11:01 pm
My flight will be from Toronto to Amman, with one stop at London (Heathrow) with Aircanada from Toronto to Amman then British airways from London to Amman. The return flight from Amman to Toronto with one stop at Frankfurt with Lufthanza first then Aircanada. Both flights booked at once through the same agent. I have a Jordanian passport and I am a permanent resident in Canada. I checked the embassies websites to know if I would need a transit visa, I should not need a visa unless I had to get my luggage at the transit airport (Heathrow or Frankfurt) or if I had to see the boarder control. I called Aircanada to know if I have to collect and check in the luggage at the transit airports or see the boarder control, but they did not give me a definite answer.
Thank you very much, Shaima
June 26, 2017 @ 12:37 pm
Hi Shaima! Unfortunately I can’t give you a 100% definite answer either. In most cases, when you are traveling through another country like you will be doing, your luggage gets tagged to go from the first plane to the second, and in most cases, you don’t have to deal with customs and immigration if you’re just transiting. I’ve done it in several airports, but not those specifically. I’ve never had to go through customs and immigration in a country I wasn’t staying in, but I have heard of people doing it occasionally. I think chances are you will not have to go through customs, but I hate to tell you to go for it without complete certainty since this is a visa issue. I know you’ve called Air Canada, but have you tried Lufthansa? Maybe they will have a better answer for you. I’m so sorry I can’t tell you for sure!
June 22, 2017 @ 10:53 am
Hii ! I am traveling from the India to the United States AMD>DFW.
I booked my flights on one itinerary. I have two stopovers, one at LHR London and second at ATL USA.
AMD > LHR || 2 hr 30 m Layover || LHR> ATL || 1 hr 55 m Layover || ATL > DFW.
As shown in Itinerary from Atlanta to Dallas I have same flight number but I do have to change planes at ATL.So my question is, ‘Do I have to recheck my luggage at ATL ?’ and ‘Where should be my port of entry?’, ‘Do I have to clear border security, custom, and immigration at ATL or at DFW?’
Thank you in advance…
June 22, 2017 @ 1:20 pm
Hi Dhruv! You will go through customs and immigration in Atlanta. That’s your port of entry since it’s your first stop in the US. The Atlanta airport has an option for passengers with connecting flights, so go that way. You’ll have to claim your checked luggage and recheck it after customs, and going to the connecting flights line makes that a lot easier. When you get to DFW, you’ll just have to claim your luggage like normal.
Your luggage should automatically get transferred from the AMD-LHR flight to the LHR-ATL flight, but double check that with the check-in agent.
Have a great trip!
June 20, 2017 @ 4:30 am
First of all, you are a GODDESS for answering all these questions. Thanks!
I’m Canadian. I will be returning to Toronto from Iquitos, Peru next month via Lima (Peru) and Cancun (Mexico). My flights from Iquitos to Lima, and then from Lima to Cancun, will both be on Latam. The final leg from Cancun to Toronto (after a 20 hour layover) will be on WestJet.
Question: If I check my bag in Iquitos, do you think it will follow me all the way home to Toronto or will I need to pick it up and re-check it every step of the way (i.e. in Lima and Cancun).
I really appreciate this because I’m not sure the airport personnel in Iquitos will be able to speak English- and I sure as heck can’t speak Spanish! Any insight would really help.
Thanks in advance,
June 20, 2017 @ 1:06 pm
Thanks Craig, glad to help! Latam should be able to tag your luggage to transfer from the Iquitos-Lima flight to the Lima-Cancun flight. Normally I’d say if you’ve booked everything together on one itinerary (in other words, if you booked it all at once in one transaction, not two separate purchases) then they should also be able to transfer your luggage from the Lima-Cancun flight to the Cancun-Toronto flight. BUT since you have such a long layover in Cancun, they might not be able to transfer your luggage no matter how you’ve booked it. And since your flight out of Cancun will be more than 24 hours after your flight out of Iquitos, they might not be able to print your boarding pass for Cancun-Toronto, so you’ll have to check in again in Cancun. I’m assuming you might be getting a hotel for the night there anyway though since it’s such a long layover, so this all shouldn’t be a big deal. If you hadn’t planned on leaving the airport…might want to reconsider. Go enjoy a margarita or book a day tour to Chichen Itza!
In my experience, people who work at airports, especially at the check-in counter, usually speak enough English to handle relevant conversations, especially when there are a lot of tourists going through. I think it’s totally worth asking the person at check-in at Iquitos to confirm that your luggage will be transferred in Lima to your next flight, and even if it will be transferred again in Cancun. And you’ll know for sure if they only hand you 2 boarding passes instead of 3 that you’ll have to check in again in Cancun. That’s been my experience with really long layovers, that I have to check in for the later flight separately because their computers will only let them go so far ahead.
I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip to Peru!
June 11, 2017 @ 10:26 am
I read all the posts but as this is my first flight out of Europe, then it’s better to ask and be prepared. I will be traveling to Ottawa. All tickets have been bought through Air Canada and all it is on itinerary.
I will be traveling Amsterdam to Frankfurt (with Lufthansa under Star Allianse ). There will be 2h25min layover (what do I have to do? Where do go?) And then next flight will be with Air Canada straight to Ottawa. I have EtA flight Visa which is said to be mandatory or estonians (Starting my trip day before with KLM to Amsterdam, didn’t have the guts to take those flight on same day as I do not wanna be late:D )entering Canada but as I get from the embassies webpages, that’s it. I also only have carry-on baggage. In Frankfurt – do I have to go according the transit signs.. It all confuses me. I thought that if I buy those ticket from air cada and their one itinerary then they automatcally have set the layover that way that everybody will get on board.
On my way back – I start from Ottawa- land in Toronto, have 2h and 25 min layover and then with air canada to Amsterdam. Do I get it right that if I go through customs, passport control and so on in Ottawa, then I do not have to do it in Toronto? Both flights are operated by air canada but the plane will be most definetly be diffirent.
Thank you for helping everyone. It is awsome that there’ someone from who to ask.. 🙂
June 12, 2017 @ 1:48 pm
Hi Maris! When you get to Frankfurt, look for the departures board to find out what gate your next flight leaves from. Since that flight is leaving Europe, you’ll probably have to go to a different section of the airport, but there are plenty of signs. You’ll have to go through passport control to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone. Sometimes those lines are long in Frankfurt but I think you have plenty of time. You’ll probably have to go through security again, but in most sections of the airport, there are separate security checkpoints set up for only a handful of gates, so the lines are usually fast. When you get to Ottawa, you’ll go through customs and immigration to get stamped into Canada. You won’t really have much choice of where to go since it’s kind of the only thing you can do upon arrival, so no worries about getting lost there.
As for the layover, since not everyone on your first flight will be on your second flight, it’s still your responsibility to make sure you get to the next flight. Like I said, it sounds like you have enough time to get through the airport and make your connection.
On your way home, you’ll go through passport control in Toronto, not Ottawa. This is because your flight from Ottawa to Toronto is domestic. Again, 2 hours 25 minutes sounds like plenty of time to deal with passport control and get to your next gate. Check out the Toronto airport website here and you can put in your flight info and it’ll tell you step-by-step what to do while your there, super helpful. And then when you land in Amsterdam, you’ll go through customs and immigration to get stamped back into Schengen.
I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip!
May 17, 2017 @ 10:29 pm
Hello! This will be my first time flying alone and out of country, and I’m nervous about my 1 hour layovers on the flights out and back.
I will be flying Toronto -> Minneapolis (1 hour) -> Houston (And the reverse order on the way home).
All my flights are with the same airline and I will only have a carry-on bag. On the way out I go through Pre-clearance in Toronto, but I don’t know what will happen in Minneapolis. Will I have to go through security of any kind when I get there or is it as easy as going from one gate to the other and waiting to board a plane again? What will I experience coming back home? Will this be enough time? I hope that isn’t silly to ask, but hearing some feedback would really take some worries off of my mind! Thank you!
May 18, 2017 @ 10:59 am
Hi Pauline! Not a silly question at all, I’m glad to help. When you land in Minneapolis, you shouldn’t have to deal with anything special for entering the US since you’re going through US customs and immigration in Toronto. You’ll just have to get off the plane and find your next gate. Here’s a list of which airlines use which terminal at MPS: https://www.mspairport.com/flights-and-airlines. So if all your flights are with the same airline, you shouldn’t even have to switch terminals, which means you shouldn’t have to go through security again. It’ll just be a matter of finding a departures board to see what gate your next flight is at. I think one hour should be fine in this case. As for the way home, it won’t be much different. They might check your passport again in Minneapolis before you board, but that’ll be at the gate. The US doesn’t have any official exiting passport control checkpoint, so when you check in for your flight out of Houston, the ticket agent will check your passport. When you get back to Toronto, you’ll have to go through Canadian customs and immigration. Overall I think you have an easy set of flights here! You’ll do great, and enjoy your trip!
May 10, 2017 @ 10:53 pm
Hello hope u r doing well. I am a pakistani citizen ,traveling from Malaysia to Bahamas on 6 of June via uk.can u tell me weather I need a transit visa or not my transit in uk only 6 hours.
May 11, 2017 @ 10:28 am
Hi Raj! I’m not a visa expert, so your best option is to contact the UK embassy and find out if you will need a transit visa. I think 6 hours is plenty of time for a layover, whether you need a transit visa or not. But it’s best to get visa advice directly from the embassy so you don’t have any problems.
May 8, 2017 @ 8:31 pm
Thank you. Steve
May 2, 2017 @ 10:29 pm
We are traveling from Atlanta to Stuttgart, Germany and have a 4 hour layover before heading on to Paris, Two separate itineraries but with partner airlines Delta to Stuttgart and Air France to Paris. Will we have to go through customs in Stuttgart and recheck our bags to Paris?
May 3, 2017 @ 1:54 pm
Hi Steve! You will have to go through customs and immigration in Stuttgart, but that has nothing to do with the separate itineraries. You’d have to do it no matter what, because it’s your first point of entry into the Schengen Zone. Since you have two separate itineraries, you will most likely have to claim and recheck your luggage in Stuttgart. Since Delta and Air France are partner airlines, I think it’s worth asking in Atlanta if they can 1) tag your luggage to transfer from Stuttgart to Pars, and 2) check you in for the second flight and print your boarding pass. They might not be able to do it, but I think it’s worth asking. If they can’t, you’ll have to check in for the second flight once you get to Stuttgart, but 4 hours should be plenty of time to get through customs and immigration, claim your luggage, find the check-in counter for Air France. Enjoy your trip, and if you need any other tips for your trip, I have some Paris ideas here.
April 28, 2017 @ 9:39 pm
Hey Ali. Just found your cool site.
My wife is travelling on American from Dallas to Paris with 24 hour lay over in Heathrow!
Does she have to go through security in London?
Also i am meeting her in Paris and we are flying on to Dublin on a separate ticket on the same day. How does that work re picking up her checked bags, immigration and security when she hits Paris?
April 30, 2017 @ 10:51 am
Hi Jeff! She will most likely have to go through security in London in between flights. Plus, since her layover is so long, there’s a chance American won’t be able to print her second boarding pass and she’ll have to do that in London. With a 24 hour layover, I assume she would want to go into the city and get a place to sleep for the night. If she does, she will have to go through customs and immigration, and probably pick up her checked luggage. Then the next day, she’ll be able to check in for the next flight. She’ll have to go through passport control to exit the UK, and she’ll go through security before getting to her flight. If for some reason she doesn’t want to leave the airport, check out this: http://www.sleepinginairports.net/europe/londonheathrow.htm But really, with so much time, she’d be better off finding a hotel and seeing a little bit of the city.
As far as arriving in Paris, she’ll have to go through EU customs and immigration to get stamped into the Schengen Zone. She’ll have to claim her checked luggage as well since it will be on a different ticket. If you’re both booked together for the Paris to Dublin flight, you probably need to check in together, so it might be best for her to come out to the ticket counter to meet you. Then you’ll both have to go through passport control to exit the Schengen zone (because Ireland is NOT in the Schengen zone) and you’ll go through security before getting to your gate. I hope this makes sense! And I hope you have lots of time in between her landing in Paris and your flight to Dublin to get through all these steps. Let me know if you have any other questions!
April 3, 2017 @ 3:57 pm
You seem to be quite experienced, thank you for this very beneficial post! I have a question that I thought you could have an answer. I am flying from Frankfurt to New York via Toronto. There is a 22h layover between my flights. Can I leave the airport on my transit visa?
Some said no and some said yes, so I am pretty confused. As far as I know, I have to go through customs, claim my baggage and re-check it since I am continuing to US. If I am going through customs, this means my passport will be labeled, and I will be in landside. If I decide to do the check-in later for my second flight, I think I am free to go? Is my reasoning wrong? If you could help, I would be grateful.
April 4, 2017 @ 10:17 am
Hi Marisa! I don’t know how transit visas work for Canada and I’m sure some if it depends on your nationality, so it’s best to check with the embassy on this. The Toronto airport has this helpful site to tell you what you need to do when connecting through the airport: https://www.torontopearson.com/Connecting.aspx# My gut thought is that you should be able to leave the airport during your layover since you will have to go through customs and immigration anyway, but please check with the Canadian embassy on that.
March 15, 2017 @ 4:15 am
Hey there! I’m going to be taking a trip alone for the first time and I am wondering about a few things.
I will be flying YSB-YYZ with a 6 hour layover then YYZ-PRG. Both flights are with Air Canada so I assume the process will be pretty simple. When I check in at the first airport, will I get both boarding passes then? And what do I do when my plane lands in Toronto? I want to be able to leave the airport because of the longer layover. I won’t be taking any checked luggage so I have no worries there but will I just have to go through security and then onto my gate?
Also, my return flights are KRK-FRA, 1:45 layover then FRA-YYZ. Both flights are with Lufthansa and then after a 2:20 layover, my flight from YYZ-YSB is with Air Canada. When I check in with Lufthansa will I get my boarding passes for all 3 flights even Air Canada? These were booked as one itinerary through Expedia.
I feel silly asking for every detail like this but I appreciate any input you can give me!
March 20, 2017 @ 12:32 am
Don’t feel silly, it’s totally fine to ask! Since all your flights are with Air Canada, they should be able to print all of your boarding passes when you check in, both directions. On domestic flights, your luggage will be transferred from one flight to the next. Your luggage should also be transferred from the KRK-FRA flight to eh FRA-YYZ flight. When you’re in Frankfurt, you’ll have to go through passport control to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone. An hour 45 minutes should be enough time there, but you probably don’t have time to waste. When you get off the KRK-FRA flight, follow the signs to your next gate (you probably have to go from one terminal to another since KRK-FRA is similar to a domestic flight within Canada) and you’ll end up at passport control before you can get to security and your gate. The Toronto Airport has a wonderful tool to see what your steps are when transiting through the airport, check it out here: https://www.torontopearson.com/Connecting.aspx#. You should be able to leave the airport during your layover in Toronto on the way to Prague, and I think your luggage will be checked all the way through, but again, check that website, but make sure you leave yourself enough time to get back to the airport and through security. Six hours isn’t as long as you think it is since it takes sometime to get off the first plane and through the airport, and you should be back at the airport 2 hours before your next flight. I hope this helps!
March 3, 2017 @ 11:41 am
Let’s say your going Sydney to LA with a stopover in Brisbane. If the Sydney to Brisbane flight is at a domestic terminal do you go through customs at Sydney or Brisbane?
March 3, 2017 @ 1:20 pm
Hi Matthew! You should go through passport control to get stamped out of Australia in Brisbane. Sydney-Brisbane is a domestic flight, so the gate is probably in a part of the airport where you wouldn’t go through passport control, since some people on your flight might only be flying domestic. When you land in LA, you’ll go through US customs and immigration/passport control to get stamped into the US.
February 13, 2017 @ 11:18 pm
Great post especially for a newbie flyer like myself. 🙂 I am flying internationally for the first time and will more than likely have 2 layovers (haven’t booked my tix yet). With 2 layovers, will my baggage go all the way to my final destination or will I have to pick them up at one of my layovers and recheck them? Thank you!
February 19, 2017 @ 11:04 am
Hi Elizabeth! As long as you book your flights all on one itinerary, your luggage should be tagged to go to your final destination. Sometimes there are exceptions for the country, like if you’re flying from say Paris to New York City to Pittsburgh, you’ll have to claim your luggage in NYC when you go through customs, and then re-check it for the next flight. But if you’re flying NYC to Paris to Florence, your bags should be transferred through each flight. I hope that helps!
February 22, 2017 @ 4:42 pm
Dear Sister Ali Garland,
I am happy to learn about your helping nature to many travellers . In fact, I went through many mails of your previous available on this section
I am Inadian citizen, and first time international traveler from BANALORE TO Koula lumpur. My agent suggest to fly via sigapore with a layover period of 2 .30 min. He is trying to book ticket from BANGALORE TO SINGAPORE AND SINGPORE TO KOULA LUMPER IN SINGAPORE AIR LINES.
I have got visa for Malasia. Please advice whether I need visa for singapore? If not required whether I am eligible to roam around airport before boarding next flight?
February 24, 2017 @ 12:26 pm
Hi Prakash! I’m not an expert on visa requirements, so I recommend you check with the embassy website to see what the requirements are for Indian citizens transiting through Singapore. In general, if you’re only connecting in Singapore, you should be able to look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and bypass customs and immigration, proceeding directly to your next flight. Which means you’d be able to walk around the airport on the secured side, potentially just in the one terminal. Sorry I can’t be much more help than that! I hope you enjoy Kuala Lumpur though!
February 8, 2017 @ 9:44 pm
We are flying from San Jose Del Cabo Mexico to DFW with a connection in San Diego with no plane change and 1.5 hr layover. Will we have to get off the plane and go through customs in San Diego?
February 9, 2017 @ 3:31 am
Hi Paula! Yes, you have to go through immigration and customs, plus claim and recheck your luggage, at the first airport where you enter the US, so that would be San Diego for your itinerary. Also, just because both of your flights have the same flight number doesn’t necessarily mean you will be on the same plane. I don’t have experience with the San Diego airport, but if you’re worried about your layover being tight, check out my tips for dealing with short layovers. Have a great trip!
February 9, 2017 @ 3:45 pm
Thanks for clearing that up for us Ali. My group assumed that when it said “no plane change” we were free and clear. We will check into the San Diego airport and make sure we have plenty of time.
February 10, 2017 @ 12:06 am
Hmm, if your ticket specifically says “no plane change” then yeah, you’ll still be with the same physical airplane. I still think you’ll have to go through customs in San Diego though, especially since some people probably end their trip in San Diego or are connecting to a different city. So even though you’ll get back on the same plane, I’m 99.9% sure you’ll have to get out, go through customs, and come back.
January 24, 2017 @ 1:11 am
I am a US citizen and will be travelling on Air Canada. The itinerary is San Francisco to Toronto and then to Bombay.
I have a 12 hour layover in Toronto, so I plan to go out and visit the City. My questions are :
1. Will I need any Visa at the Toronto airport to visit the City?
2. Do I need to collect my checked baggage at Toronto, if I am stepping out to the City. I would prefer to leave it with the airline. I intend to check in the baggage to the final destination of Bombay at the start of the journey.
3. Even if I do not step out of the airport, will I still need to collect and re-check the baggage at Toronto?
January 24, 2017 @ 3:26 pm
As a US citizen, you do not need a visa to visit Canada. So I think going into the city on such a long layover sounds like a great idea! I’m 99% sure you’ll have to claim and recheck your luggage in Toronto, whether you leave the airport during your layover or not. The Toronto airport has a really great site to determine what you have to do for your connecting flight: https://www.torontopearson.com/Connecting.aspx#. Often you can immediately recheck your luggage, but hopefully that site will help you determine that. If not, the airline should be able to tell you for sure if you recheck it right past customs or if you have to go find their check-in counter. I hope this helps!
January 24, 2017 @ 10:44 pm
Thank you for your quick feedback. I am hoping that I do not have to carry my checked-in baggage with me when I visit the City. Keeping the fingers crossed! My travel will be during the upcoming summer months. Will definitely share my experience at Toronto with you.
Thank you again,
January 25, 2017 @ 12:21 am
Thanks, I’d love to hear how it goes! I don’t *think* you’ll have to carry your checked baggage, but I can’t know for sure. Good luck, and enjoy your trip!
January 10, 2017 @ 9:37 pm
Hello! Thanks for the great article! I have a question about the Schengen Zone: I am a USA citizen looking to travel from New York to Florence with a stopover in Munich. I am assuming I will have to go through security and border patrol in Munich to continue on to Florence. On the return, will I have to clear border patrol again at Munich to leave the Schengen Zone? Or will I clear it at Florence and just go through security in Munich? I’m trying to figure out how much layover time I can get away with on my Munich stopovers. Thank you!
January 11, 2017 @ 10:02 am
Hi Kaitlin! You will go through immigration/passport check and customs in Munich and get stamped into the Schengen Zone. Then you’ll have to go through security before you can get to the next gate for your flight to Florence. The Munich to Florence flight will be similar to a domestic flight in the US in that you won’t have to go through any immigration checks on either end. When you leave, it’ll be similar. The agent in Florence will probably look at your passport when you check in for your flight but you won’t go through the official passport control checkpoint there. Once you arrive in Munich, you’ll have to go through the exiting passport control checkpoint to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone. Sometimes that’s really fast, but sometimes the lines can be long. You’ll have to go through security again in Munich, too. I hope this helps, and enjoy your time in Florence!
November 20, 2016 @ 6:35 pm
Hi there. I wonder if you can answer my questions please. My daughter is travelling to Australia at the beginning of December. She has two layovers, both ways one is china and the other in Paris. On the way back to the UK she has an 11 hour layover. Is it possible for her to reclaim her bags at Paris and instead of waiting 11 hours, she could check into another different flight and get home sooner? Debbie.
November 22, 2016 @ 4:41 pm
Hi Debbie! It really varies depending on the airline. Sometimes if there’s room on an earlier flight, the airline might not have a problem just switching her to that flight. Sometimes there’s a fee, which may or may not be a reasonable amount. Then there’s the issue of her luggage. Checked luggage will be checked all the way through, so the airline would have to get her bags re-tagged in Paris. She can’t claim her luggage if it’s tagged to go from Paris to the UK – it won’t be at baggage claim. My suggestion is to call the airline and see what they charge to either 1) change her Paris – UK flight now or 2) see what they charge if she decided to change it that day when she arrives in Paris. If she can’t change her flight or it’s just too expensive, depending on the time of day, she could opt to go through customs and immigration and go into the city for a few hours instead of staying in the airport. Here are some things to consider if she wants to leave the airport on a long layover.
November 18, 2016 @ 12:10 am
If I am flying with American airlines from Sao Paulo to Mexico via Dallas, does my baggage get transfered automatically? As it is arriving at Dallas at daytime I would not be leaving the airport?
Also, on the way back I am flying to Sao Paulo from Mexico via Miami. This time I will be staying overnight at Miami (and hence at a hotel). Does the baggage get transferred automatically in this case?
The layovers in both cases are 14 hours.
Cheers so much!
November 18, 2016 @ 10:59 am
Hi Mick! Unfortunately the US makes you go through immigration and customs when you land there, even if you’re just passing through. This also means having to claim and recheck your luggage. I’ve seen mention of a few airlines/airports starting to check luggage all the way through, but I don’t have anything concrete on that yet, so you should plan on having to claim and recheck your bags. Sounds like you have plenty of time for that though. And since you have to go through immigration anyway, you certainly can leave the airport during your layover for a few hours if you want to. One thing to keep in mind though is that sometimes the airline can’t take your checked luggage too far ahead of the flight. It’s probably worth calling American Airlines and asking them if you’ll be able to recheck your luggage immediately after you clear immigration.
On the way back, it’ll be the same thing. You’ll have to go through immigration, claim your luggage, and go through customs in Miami. So in that case, you probably want to keep your bags with you to go to the hotel, and then just check them back in the next morning.
I hope that helps, and enjoy your trip!
November 16, 2016 @ 7:34 pm
Thank you so much for this article! You’re probably tired of answering everybody’s questions, since this was posted over 2 years ago! But, if your still willing I had a few quick questions! This is my first international flight, and I’m a little nervous about the details. Its a long haul flight, but I’m so excited for 2 weeks in Thailand! I posted my itinerary below. I don’t plan on leaving any of the airports, so do you know if I need to apply as transit or need visas? Are my layover times too short? I don’t want to miss my connections. Also, do I have to go through customs multiple times. Any helpful information or tips you have for me I would greatly appreciate!
I’m a US citizen traveling from Los Angeles to Bangkok. I will be booking the entire trip directly with Singapore Airlines, so I probably don’t need to collect my checked luggage until I arrive in Bangkok, correct?
LAX to BKK
ICN (Seoul) 2hrs 5min
SIN (Singapore) 1hr 15min
I have the same layovers going back to LAX, around the same lengths. I REALLY appreciate your help! Thank you!
November 18, 2016 @ 10:53 am
Hi Donika! I love to help, no worries! You don’t need transit visas for these layovers. Your luggage should be tagged to go all the way to BKK. And since you’re not staying in Korea or Singapore, you should be able to bypass immigration and customs. Just look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and ask an employee if you need help. You’ll have to go through security again, but that should be it. It’ll be the same procedures going back to LAX. If LAX is the first airport you reach in the US, you will go through US customs and immigration there. If you have to fly from there to somewhere else, you’ll also have to claim and recheck your luggage (it’s an annoying US rule) but it sounds like LAX is your final destination on the way back. I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip to Thailand!
November 11, 2016 @ 3:46 pm
my flight is manila to calgary i have a connecting flight to us but my airlines are the same.. my layovers is 4hrs and 30 min. do i need to have a transit visa
November 11, 2016 @ 5:04 pm
Whether or not you need a transit visa depends on a lot of things, such as your nationality and where your layover is. I recommend looking up the embassy of the country where your layover is and seeing if they have details about transit visas and who needs them.
November 6, 2016 @ 5:33 pm
I’m flying out of Paris-ORLY to Stockholm Arlanda. I arrive there at 4:45PM. I have an hour and ten minutes layover. My flight from Stockholm to JFK in New York, USA leaves at 5:55pm. The terminals are next to each other (Arriving at terminal 5 and leaving from terminal 4 or visa versa). Are the security check ins within the terminals? Am I cutting it close? I’m guessing I do not need to go to immigration or customs. I’m assuming I’ll get my boarding passes for both flights when I check into the first hotel in Paris and that they just send my bag to the next plane without making me go get it to check in. PLEASE HELP! This is my first time doing something like this and I’m really nervous I won’t have enough time.
November 9, 2016 @ 6:26 pm
Hi Ticarra! France and Sweden are both in the Schengen Zone, so your flight from Paris to Stockholm will be similar to a domestic flight in the US. You’ll go through security in Paris, but not passport control. When you arrive in Stockholm, you’ll have to go through passport control to get stamped out of the Schengen Zone, and you’ll have to go through security. Yes, you should get both boarding passes when you check in for your first flight in Paris, as long as you booked both flights together on one itinerary. And again, as long as your flights are booked together on one itinerary, they should tag your luggage to go all the way to your final destination, so you shouldn’t have to deal with it in Stockholm. An hour and 10 minutes is a little tight, but it’s not impossible. Check out my advice for short layovers, and enjoy your trip!
October 31, 2016 @ 7:41 am
Flying from us to philippines with layover in korea what would the process be flying this route its my first international flight and i havent flown at all for over 15 years what do i need to know thanks in advance
November 1, 2016 @ 7:01 pm
Hi Daniel! Your flight from the US will be pretty simple. The agent will check your passport when you check in for your flight, and your checked luggage should be tagged to your final destination. However, I always recommend verifying with the agent that it will go all the way through, just to be sure. When you land in Korea, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” because in most cases, you can bypass immigration in a country you are only transiting. You’ll have to go through security again, and someone will look at your ticket, but that’s about it. When you land in the Philippines, you’ll go through customs and immigration to get stamped into the country.
On your way home, you’ll have to go through passport control in the Philippines to get stamped out before you leave. (The US doesn’t do this.) Then you’ll do the same procedure in Korea. Then when you land in the US, at the first US airport you land in, you’ll go through customs and immigration. You’ll also have to claim your checked luggage and, if you have a connecting flight within the US, you’ll have to recheck your luggage and go through security again.
When arriving in the Philippines and again back in the US, just follow the signs for immigration or passport control, and follow the other people on your flight. You kind of can’t make a wrong turn because they’re not going to let you slip out of the airport accidentally without going through customs and immigration.
I hope this helps, but let me know if you have any other questions, and enjoy your trip!
October 29, 2016 @ 9:14 pm
Hello, thanks for such an informative website! I will travel from Abu Dhabi to Detroit, Michigan via New York. The layover in NY is about 4 hours, but I have to change airports from JFK to La Guardia. Will I have to collect my suitcase and take it with me to La Guardia, or will this be done for me? I was hoping to stop somewhere for lunch and not have my suitcase with me…. Thank you so much!
November 1, 2016 @ 6:54 pm
Hi Alina! Yes, unfortunately you will have to collect your checked luggage when you land in JFK (this is true no matter what when you land in the US from an international flight) and take it with you to recheck it in La Guardia. I think your layover will be a little tight as it is without stopping somewhere for lunch. Your best bet is to go straight to La Guardia, and then if you have time there, grab some food at the airport. Remember, you’ll still need to go through customs and immigration in JFK and go through security in La Guardia. Add in the transit time between the airports, and you really won’t be left with much time.
October 26, 2016 @ 5:01 pm
I have a question!
Toronto -> LA -> Sydney, AUS
I arrive at LAX at 11:45 am and my layover is about 11 hours.
I would live to leave LAX airport to explore the city but I’m most concerned about my baggage. Will I need to collect my bags and re-check them before I head through security and customs again? Or will they be sent automatically from flight to flight?
My flight from TO to LA is with Qantas operated by WestJet and my flight from LA to SYD is with Qantas operated by American Airlines.
I know I can always ask once I get to the airport but I’d like an idea if possible. Please help if you can!
Thank you 🙂
October 27, 2016 @ 7:02 pm
Hi Chanel! Unfortunately you will have to claim and recheck your luggage in LAX. You’ll go through immigration/passport control, then pick up your bag, then go through customs, then recheck your luggage. It’s been awhile since I’ve flown through there, so I’m not sure exactly how the rechecking procedures work now, but some airports will have a place to drop off your luggage just past customs, no hassles. But other airports don’t, and you would have to go back out to the check-in counters, which is where it could potentially be a problem trying to check your luggage so far ahead of your flight. You might be able to call American Airlines and ask them if you’ll be able to recheck your luggage several hours ahead of time. If for some reason you can’t recheck your luggage that early, do some searches for luggage lockers or baggage checks/hold (I don’t think they have them at US airports anymore) or see if there are any hotels nearby that might be willing to hold your bags, even for a few dollars. As for leaving the airport and checking out the city, sounds like a great idea for such a long layover, just make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to the airport and through security before your next flight. Have a great trip!
October 18, 2016 @ 11:06 am
I have recently received Canada Permanent Residence Visa and would be travelling end of Nov 2016. My flight itinerary is India-Seoul-Vancouver-Calgary.
Since its my first time travelling to Canada, I guess I have to got through the Port of Entry concept. The layover time in Vancouver before my connecting flight to Calgary is only 1hr 30mins. So I am not sure if I have to go through the port of entry formalities in Vancouver or Calgary, I may miss my flight to Calgary if I go through the port of entry procedure in Vancouver. If you have idea regarding anything related to my concern, could you please let me know.
Since Vancouver to Calgary is domestic flight, how does that work out with the immigration, customs, port of entry procedures.
(India to Seoul is Korean Air) (Seoul to Vancouver to Calgary is Air Canada)
October 18, 2016 @ 5:28 pm
Hi! Yes, you’ll have to go through immigration and customs in Vancouver, no way around it. In general in Canada, you have to claim and recheck your luggage. You’ll also have to go through security again to get to your next flight. Check out this guide the Vancouver airport has on their site: http://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/navigate-yvr/passenger-guides You can use the little drop-down menu to choose connecting from an international city to a Canadian city, plus Air Canada as your airline, and it’ll give you a step-by-step guide. I’m not sure how much time you’ll need. An hour and a half seems a little tight, but it’s not impossible. You might want to ask Air Canada what their procedure is if you miss your Vancouver-Calgary flight due to customs procedures. And check out my tips for short layovers. Congrats on the visa, and have a great trip!
October 16, 2016 @ 2:21 am
I have a question. If traveling to Spain from california- we have a 12 hour layover in New York- we were hoping to go explore the city- it what happen she to the luggage. Does it get sent through to the final destination? Or are we stuck with it in NY. (We wanted to leave the airport to see little bit ft the city)
Also, on the way back, we have a 10 hour layover from Barcelona to Paris and from there back to the states. Same question about Paris- we would like to explore the city for a few hours but what happens to all the luggage?
October 18, 2016 @ 5:19 pm
Hi Aisha! On your flight leaving the US, your luggage should be checked all the way to your final destination, so you won’t have to pick it up in NYC. Always verify this with the airline when you’re checking in for a flight with a long layover, but there really shouldn’t be any reason in this case to have to pick up your bags there. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport and get through security again for your next flight. Depending on the time of day, you might want to look at public transport options instead of a taxi so you don’t run the risk of getting stuck in traffic.
As for the layover in Paris, it should be the same thing. Your bags should be checked all the way back to your final destination. It’ll take you a little longer at the Paris airport on your way back because you’ll have to go through passport control to be stamped out of the Schengen Zone, as well as having to go through security again. It’s probably worth looking at public transport there too. You won’t have a lot of time since you need plenty of time to get back through the airport, but probably enough time to go see the Eiffel Tower (though maybe not go up it) and maybe one other sight.
I hope that helps, and have a great trip!
August 29, 2016 @ 2:41 am
First of all thank you for creating this article, it was extremely informative! I had one last question catered to my specific travel plans. I am traveling from Chicago to Paris, with a 70 minute lay over in Iceland. I am traveling with the same airline the entire time but I am wondering if, in your opinion, it will even be manageable to catch my connecting flight when I know I will need to go through Border Control. I am just trying to get a grasp on what sort of time frame approximately I would be looking at to get from one plane, through border control to my next flight.
August 30, 2016 @ 4:16 pm
Hi Paige! Normally I’d say 70 minutes sounds really tight for a connection where you have to go through customs and immigration and security. But it looks like Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik isn’t too big, so I don’t think you’ll have far to go once you clear customs. There’s only one terminal, and they’re very used to people transiting through. I don’t think you’ll have much time to waste, but I think you should be ok with this one. If you’re worried though, check out my tips for handling short layovers here. Enjoy your trip, and if you’re looking for more tips for Paris, be sure to check out our France section here.
August 25, 2016 @ 6:20 pm
Wow, you seem very knowledgeable! I am traveling to Italy in 3 weeks and am trying to get a clear answer as to whether I will need to file a Declaration of Presence upon arrival. I am a Canadian citizen and will be traveling from Toronto, catching a connecting flight in Munich, Germany with a 2 hour layover, then continuing on to Florence. In Italy I have booked private accommodations, I will not be staying in commercial hotels. The Canadian travel advice website says the following:
Canadians arriving from a Schengen area country, staying less than 90 days and not staying in commercial accommodations, must file a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza) with the local police office (questura) within eight days of arrival. Commercial accommodations will generally file the declaration of presence on behalf of travellers; however, the traveller is responsible to ensure that it is done. Obtain a copy of the registration form from the hotel. Failure to comply with this regulation could result in expulsion from Italy. If arriving from a non-Schengen country, ensure that border officials place an entry stamp in your passport, as this is the equivalent to a declaration of presence. See the Italian Foreign Ministry for details.
So I’m just a little confused if I need to do this or not. Will I go through immigration in Munich? Is that where my passport will get stamped? If that is the case then I assume it wouldn’t get stamped in Italy? Or will it get stamped in Italy since that is my final destination? I assume if it gets stamped in Germany then I would have file the Declaration because then I would technically be arriving from a Schengen country. My airline told me my country of origin of departure would remain Canada, but I’ve been reading a lot of different things.
Hope you can help with this!
August 26, 2016 @ 10:35 am
Hi Lea! You will go through customs and immigration in Munich, and that’s where you’ll get stamped into the Schengen Zone. You won’t get stamped in Italy. So I guess technically you would have to file the declaration, but honestly, I’ve never done that. I’m sure hotels have done it for me when I’ve stayed at hotels in Italy, but I’ve also stayed in Airbnb rentals, and I’ve never gone to the local police to do that. I can’t advise you to ignore it, but that has been my experience. In theory you could try to get a border official at the Florence airport to stamp your passport, but I’m not sure you can even get to that section of the airport if your flight arrives from a Schengen country. Ask whoever it is you’re staying with if they know anything about the declaration and if they can help you do it, or if it’s even worth doing. Overall, try not to worry too much about this. You should always obey the laws of the country you’re visiting, but like I said, I’ve never done this. Use your best judgement. And enjoy your trip to Italy!
August 26, 2016 @ 4:04 pm
Thank you so much for your quick response, it makes me feel a better to know what your experience has been. I guess I will see what happens when I get there. I haven’t done a lot of traveling abroad so this is all a learning experience for me as I like to plan my trips myself without using a travel agent.
August 21, 2016 @ 2:21 am
We are flying from heathrow to Vancouver with a connecting flight in salt lake on a delta flight lading in salt lake 17:51 departing salt lake 20:10
Comming back from Vancouver to Heathrow with a connection in Seattle on delta flight landing in Seattle 19.30 departing 21.15
Where do we go when we arrive in each of the connecting airports ? do we have to go through security?
August 21, 2016 @ 1:16 pm
Hi Christine! When you land in Salt Lake City, you will have to go through US immigration and customs. Follow the signs for passport control when you get off the plane, but you can’t really make a wrong turn because it’s your only option. You might have to claim and recheck your luggage. It’s standard procedure when landing in the US from an international flight, but some airports have recently made changes to this for passengers who are only transiting through the US. I don’t know if Salt Lake City is one of them, so talk to the Delta representative when you check in for your first flight. I’d probably also verify with someone when you get to Salt Lake City. You will also have to go through security before you can get to your next gate. I think you’ll have enough time for your layover, but if you’re worried, check out my tips for short layovers here.
On your way back, it should be even easier. According to this article, Vancouver is one of the Canadian airports that has US customs agents, which means you will actually go through US customs and immigration procedures while you’re still in the Vancouver airport. So when you land in Seattle, you’ll just get off the plane and look for your next gate. Most of the terminals are connected within the secured area, which means you won’t have to go through security again, but even if you do have to go through security to change terminals, you should have plenty of time on this layover. Look for the departures board to find out where your next gate is and follow the signs to the train that connects the terminals. It should be obvious if you have to leave the secured area to change terminals, but when in doubt, look for an info desk to get help.
Enjoy your trip!
August 1, 2016 @ 2:16 pm
I’m travelling from Beijing to Salt Lake City, with a 2hr 40 min layover in Seattle .From Beijing to Seattle I’m travelling with Hainan and from Seattle to Salt Lake City with Alaska.I booked these flights all together one itinerary.Do you think I can make it? How can I reach Concourse C from South Satellite?Thanks!
August 2, 2016 @ 10:27 am
Hi! Yes, I think you’ll have enough time. It might be a little tight, but it’s not impossible. The terminals are connected by trains, and it looks like you might have to take two different ones to get from the south satellite to concourse C. Here’s a map of the airport that shows the trains: http://www.portseattle.org/Sea-Tac/Maps-and-Directions/Pages/Terminal-Overview.aspx And I also found this which has some info on how to get from one terminal to another and specifically mentions coming into the south satellite from an international flight and transferring to a domestic flight: http://www.ifly.com/seattle-tacoma-international/terminal-map
I hope this helps, and have a great trip!
July 20, 2016 @ 6:17 pm
This is a really great article, thanks so much for it!
I’m taking my first long haul flight in a few months – Heathrow to Tokyo Narita via Rome Leonardo de Vinci with Alitalia. I don’t have to change terminals in Rome, so am I right in thinking I wont have to re-check my luggage in Rome? I suspect I already know the answer but I wanted to double check, as naturally I’m quite anxious about doing such a big trip!
July 21, 2016 @ 1:32 pm
Thanks Hayley! Your luggage should be transferred from one flight to the next, so you shouldn’t have to do anything with it in Rome. You’ll go through passport control in London to be stamped out of the UK. You should be able to bypass immigration and customs in Rome (look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights”) since you’re not staying in the Schengen Zone. You’ll probably have to go through security again before continuing to your next gate. Once you land in Tokyo, you’ll go through immigration and customs to get stamped into Japan, and you’ll claim your luggage there. I hope this helps, and have a great trip!
July 20, 2016 @ 6:02 pm
Hello, I have a quick question! I’m traveling from Dublin to Estonia, but I have a 8 hour overnight layover in Helsinki between the two. Will I need to get my passport stamped in Helsinki, and then not in Estonia because they’re both within the Schengen area, or will I wait until I get to my final destination in Estonia? My understanding is that all flights in Helsinki leave from the same secured area, and I don’t intend to leave the area unless I absolutely have to. Any advice you could give me would me wonderful, because I’m traveling solo and don’t want to get lost 🙂
July 21, 2016 @ 1:29 pm
Hi Sophia! Yes, you will go through immigration and customs in Helsinki and get stamped into the Schengen Zone. That’s because it’s your first entry into the Schengen Zone. You won’t get stamped in Estonia. You might still have to go through security to get to your second flight, but there will be signs, and as confusing as airports can be, it’s often hard to really get lost. When you’re getting off an international flight, they don’t let you make a lot of decisions as to where to go because they want to make sure you go through the proper procedures.
But you have 8 hours in Helsinki! I don’t think I could resist popping into the city for a few hours. If you decide to leave the airport during your layover, check toandfromtheairport.com for your transport options, and check out my post here about leaving the airport during a layover.
Anyway, I hope this helps, but let me know if you have any other questions!
July 18, 2016 @ 10:07 pm
I am an Indian student travelling to Virginia,USA in August to begin my PhD studies.
I have an F1 VISA with me.
My Travel plan is this:
Kolkata(CCU)(Jet Airways)(18:55, August 6))—–>Mumbai(BOM)(21:40,August 6);
Mumbai(Jet Airways)(07 Aug, 01:40)——–>London – Heathrow Airport (LHR, T4)(07 Aug, 06:45);
London – Heathrow Airport(T3)(American Airlines)(07 Aug, 11:00)—>Charlotte (CLT)(07 Aug, 14:55);
Charlotte(American Airlines)(07 Aug, 20:05)—>Charlottesville(CHO)(07 Aug, 21:08)
All this has been been booked on a single ticket via makemytrip using the multicity option.
What is to be done at LHR regarding luggage, Customs, Immigration (and there is also a change of terminal as you can see)?
Jet Airways has been answering the following which has confused me. –
“Please allow us to mention your immigration will take place in Mumbai departure and your baggage will be through checked in till final destination.
However in London there is change of terminal and airline so will be asked to identify your baggage on the arrival in London and then you need to hand over your baggage to American airline counter to board onward flight with them.”
And then, “Please allow us to mention your customs will take place in London arrival and Charlotte first port of entry in US.
After customs you need to hand over your baggage to the transfer desk. ”
I hope I shall be exempt from a transit visa, as I am carrying an F1 Visa for USA and also satisfy the criteria stated in this link[https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa].
Can you please explain a bit further about all of the above?
July 21, 2016 @ 1:47 pm
Hi Sarasij! I think you have me stumped! Normally when you have a layover in a country you’re not staying in, you don’t have to go through immigration and customs or claim and recheck your luggage (Canada and the US are exceptions) so I’m not sure why Jet Airways is telling you that. I also found this on their site which says that for flights booked on one itinerary, like yours, they will transfer your luggage to American Airlines. Can you call Jet Airways and speak to a customer service rep to get more clarification? As for a transit visa in the UK, unfortunately I don’t know those rules. If you satisfy the criteria listed on that UK site, it sounds like you won’t need a transit visa, but I don’t feel comfortable telling you one way or another on that. Your best option there is to contact the British Embassy and ask them.
If you do have to go through customs and immigration in London, it’s a hassle, but it shouldn’t be a big deal. Make sure you have your F1 visa handy to show them, along with your next plane ticket. Claiming and rechecking luggage is usually easy to figure out because there are signs, and really, they don’t want you to leave your luggage behind. You’ll have to go through security in London before boarding your flight to the US.
When you’re leaving Mumbai, you’ll have to go through passport control to be stamped out of India. In Charlotte, you’ll have to go through immigration and customs as well as claim and recheck your luggage. You’ll also have to go through security again before continuing onto your flight to Virginia.
I’m so sorry I couldn’t be more help on this! Keep calling people and asking questions, and ask when you check in for your flight in Kolkata. If I find anything else, I’ll let you know. Regardless, I hope you have a great time in Virginia!
July 21, 2016 @ 1:56 pm
Thanks for your advice!! 🙂
Jet Airways recently replied again this time saying that:
‘Please allow us to mention, having checked with concern your baggage will be through checked in from Kolakatta to Charlotte by Jet Airways.
However immigration will take place in Mumbai departure and customs in Charlotte arrival.
Further once customs is done you need to hand over your baggage to the transfer desk to board further code share flight with American Airline.”
I hadn’t included this in my earlier comment as I received it after July 18. However, I did write this in the mail I wrote to you. with the ticket attached.
I am not sure why even they are confused! I am deeply grateful to you for looking into it 😀
July 21, 2016 @ 2:10 pm
Good to hear it! It really didn’t make sense for you to have to go through customs and immigration in London. Good luck with all of your flights, and with your PhD program!
July 21, 2016 @ 2:12 pm
Thank you Ali. 😀
July 8, 2020 @ 1:42 pm
I have a question.
I am travelling from Canada Toronto to Frankfurt with 1st ticket then I booked from another airlines 2nd ticket from Frankfurt to my home country (not in EU).
Even though airlines both arent partners the check in agents in Canada will probably tag my luggage to final destination now since I wont have to collect and re-check it in Frankfurt, and I will not go in the area of check in, how do I obtain the 2nd boarding pass of my flight, that airline does not offer the opportunity to print it out from self service kiosks in airport.
Can I get it near the departure gate where passengers are called to board the airplane, by showing my passport ID to gate agents?
I am looking forward to hearing an answer from you as soon as possible.
July 10, 2020 @ 12:03 pm
Hi Ermis! It sounds like you’ve booked these two flights separately, not in one itinerary, so that’s how I’m answering. If the airlines are partners, you could ask the first one if they are able to print your second boarding pass. Or you could see if online check-in works (sometimes it doesn’t for international flights, but it’s worth trying). Also there are sometimes airline counters within the secured/transfer area where you could get your boarding pass, depending on the airline. I recommend starting with the first airline, calling their customer service line and see if they will be able to check you in for both flights and print both boarding passes. I hope this helps!
July 10, 2020 @ 4:36 pm
Yes, I am clear about it now.
I already checked in from mobile and I have the electronic boarding pass with its barcode.
What about passport control in Frankfurt airport, I have seen passengers going through automated border control (for EU nationals) before reaching specific gates. Those who are not EU nationals do they stand in queue a few meters next to the automated border control, so they undergo a physical passport control, right?
July 11, 2020 @ 12:24 pm
I’ve only ever flown into Frankfurt as my final destination, so I don’t know for sure, but usually when you land and you’re NOT staying in the country (or in the Schengen Zone in this case) you can bypass customs and immigration. Look for signs that say “transfers” or “transit” or “connecting flights” and you should be able to get to other international gates. If you do somehow have to go through passport control anyway, you’ll want to look at the signs above the passport check lines for the non EU (or sometimes it says “all other passports”) lines.
July 13, 2016 @ 5:35 pm
Ali, Thanks so much for your help! I’ll let you how it pans out.
July 9, 2016 @ 5:24 pm
Hi Ali, I am flying on United from Narita Tokyo to Newark, NJ, with a 1.5 hour stop over in Washington DC, and am trying to confirm how the luggage and customs work. A united representative (from India) insists that I will go through customs in DC but that my luggage will go straight on to Newark NJ. This appears to be different than what your site suggests. I actually called United twice and got the same answer. Could they be wrong? Just trying to figure out what will happen. Thanks in advance for your help!
July 10, 2016 @ 7:33 pm
Hi Larry! It seems that United might be changing some procedures when it comes to checked luggage on international flights. I found this https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/travel-tourism/george-bush-intercontinental-airport-iah when someone else had a similar question about a different airport, though that site says United will transfer luggage if you’re only connecting in the US, not staying, which isn’t your situation. I can’t find anything on United’s website, but if their customer service people have told you twice that your bag will be transferred from your first flight to your second, I’d believe them. (Also, congrats for even finding a phone number, I’ve been looking all over their website for one!) Anyway, I’m going to keep digging on this a little because I want to make sure I can continue to give accurate advice. If I find anything different, I will post it here and send you an email to let you know. But for now, I think you can assume they’re giving you accurate information. Might be worth verifying with the agent in Tokyo when you check in, and if you’re really worried, ask at DC airport when you’re in the immigration area.
July 11, 2016 @ 3:26 pm
Hi Larry, I looked all over United’s site again, and decided to try them on Twitter since they seem pretty active on their account. I was told “He will go through Customs and likely need to pick up his luggage after clearing. He will not need to pay to re-check it if he is traveling on the same ticket, but will need to move it from the carousel to the next check area. Agents will be there to assist and direct him.” I think your best bet is to keep asking along the way. Better to ask, and even check the luggage carousel in DC, then to assume your luggage will be transferred and leave it behind.
July 2, 2016 @ 8:31 am
Hi Thank you soooo much for such helpful info!
I’ve booked my mutli-city ticket (all in one itinerary) with United airlines through a travel agency for a flight in late September.
My first flight is from SYD-LAX-DEN, with 1hr 55min layover at LAX.
From all the comments and your posts it sounds possible, but since it’s my first time flying to the States I’m a little worried.
So just to confirm the procedure:
1. When I get off at LAX (Terminal B), I go through immigration (I assume there will be only one way/aisle to go there? I’m planning to run lol),
2. Pick up my baggage (I have one checked-in) – Is this on the same level of the airport would you know?
3. Go through customs, and drop it off for transfer? (again, is this all happening in close distance from Terminal B? Sorry I really have no idea of the LAX airport 🙁 )
4. If I get both boarding passes (SYD-LAX & LAX-DEN) in Sydney airport do I just have to go to my next terminal (Terminal 7 – again I’m running instead of shuttle bus)?
5. Show my boarding pass at the gate and doneeee
Do you think 1h55min will be okay? United airline says they don’t give any sort of “Express pass”, is it the LAX airport that gives them out to passengers with short layover time? Or is it depending on the airline?
Thank you so much for your help in advance!
July 2, 2016 @ 6:18 pm
Hi Lauren, glad to help!
1) Yes, go through immigration as soon as you get off the plane. You really can’t make a wrong turn because they don’t want you to be able to accidentally miss it. Follow the herd, and follow the signs that say immigration or passport control.
2) You should be able to pick up your checked luggage shortly after passport control. Again, it should be hard to miss. I can’t remember if it’s on a different level in LAX (it’s been a few years since I’ve flown through there) but you should be see signs or be able to follow where everyone else is going.
3) Then go through customs, which is usually really quick if you have nothing to declare. You should see a transfer desk or a luggage drop-off point shortly after that.
4) You should get both boarding passes in Sydney since your flights are on one itinerary. This is about the point where you’ll have to go through security again before you can get to your next gate. Take a look at this map of LAX and decide when you get there if it’s really worth walking (I can’t imagine having the energy to run after that long flight!) or waiting for the shuttle. The map says it takes 3-5 minutes to walk between each terminal.
5) Yes, they’ll check your boarding pass at the next gate.
If at any point you get confused or aren’t sure where you’re going, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The US Border Control agents aren’t exactly known for being friendly, but they should be able to point you to the next step of the process. And the customs person should be able to point you towards the luggage rechecking area if you don’t see it. 1 hour 55 minutes is a bit tight for LAX but not impossible. Read through my tips for short layovers here. I don’t know anything about express passes. There are some benefits to having Global Entry that could save you time at passport control, but my understanding is that it is only available to US citizens and a few other select countries, but I don’t see Australia on the short list. There really isn’t much skipping ahead at the immigration lines, even if you have a short layover.
I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip!