Transit time in the USA

Discussion in 'Holidays & Travel' started by bcann, Oct 11, 2018 at 6:00 PM.

  1. bcann

    bcann Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Messages:
    5,089
    Location:
    NSW
    G'day all,

    I'll be going to the us next year, and my flight will be leaving Hawaii and ending in Seattle. Now there are a couple of choices some of which involve a transit through either LA or San Francisco. Given I'll be not leaving the airport will I have to spend huge amounts of time doing security stuff and if so how much time between flights should I allow?
     
  2. chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    102,104
    Location:
    Tokyo
    oh, that's a nightmare. I missed not only one flight because of unexpected long time for additional security checks between flights. Most airports check you now again for transit flights. And the time is much different from airport to airport. The only way to find out for sure is asking the airline in question directly.
     
  3. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    30,598
    Location:
    A Reported Post Near You
    Unfortunately it really varies, even in the same airport. The first time we went to LAX we had to wait over 2 hours in a line while all kinds of other people got called through instead of us, the next time it was all done in about 15 minutes. One of the categories of people called ahead of us was "people with connecting flights", so you might have been ok there. But I would definitely err on the side of caution. Better to have to sit around an airport reading a book and eating sushi for a couple of hours, than to have the stress of missing a flight. Having said all that, domestic flights in the USA are like buses, there's lots on the popular routes. My wife overslept and missed a flight and they just put her on the next one.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    bcann

    bcann Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Messages:
    5,089
    Location:
    NSW
    Thanks guys, i'm now thinking rather then "Hack" a cheaper flight schedule (IE Multiple airlines) together it might be worth just using the one airline and pay the few more bucks. This is all part of my 40th birthday present to myself and family, so fly to hawaii, stay up to a week, fly to Seattle, then go across the border to Canada for up to a week and come back to Seattle, hop on an Alaska cruise ship for a week for the glacier tour, spend a few more days in seattle, and then head back to aus. So all up 3 weeks.
     
  5. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    30,598
    Location:
    A Reported Post Near You
    For that kind of trip I really urge you to adopt a policy of "pay a little extra to avoid stress". If you are a young backpacker on your own then missed flights and stuff are all part of the adventure. But for a family trip around a special event the background stress is already going to be pretty high. You will forget the extra few hundred bucks you paid, on top of the normal cost of the trip anyway, for a more streamlined itinerary or having the hotel limo* meet you at the airport. If you can pay that money to avoid the nightmare of trying to rush the family to meet some connecting flight or having to work out how to get somewhere at 2am in a strange country.. absolutely do it.

    *we did this in Kuala Lumpur when I travelled with my 8yo son. For like $100 the car met us at the airport, thus sidestepping the need to work out the train from the airport to the city, then a tuk-tuk or whatever from the station to the hotel, all with luggage and toys and kid in tow.. and the car was a current high-end merc, super luxury inside, air-conditioned, free wifi, free icy cold bottles of water and free icy face towels on a 40+C day.. and the guy was super friendly and funny and spoke english and told us all about the city and jokes about the government etc etc. We booked him to take us around the city on the way back to the airport when we left and we saw so much more than we would have been able to squeeze in ourselves lugging bags etc everywhere, he took us to Batu Caves, the butterfly house, the palace, war memorial etc etc, every time we got back into the car an icy face towel and cold water.. definitely worth it. Not entirely related to your original question :) but definitely the overall philosophy I would adopt for this kind of trip.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018 at 3:15 PM
  6. mtma

    mtma Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Messages:
    4,605
    Don't hack unless you're looking for content for a shitty travel experiences adventures channel.

    The concept is that if an airline will let you book it on an itinerary, there's sufficient time to connect. But the reality is that shit happens, and also at some ports the minimum time is really single traveller minimum time. However if it's on your itinerary, they generally have to take responsibility to get you to your final destination. If flights are delayed and times are tight, they will generally notice and express you through or give you new tickets if needed, but if you go your own way you don't get that.

    Regarding airports, I generally hear bad thoughts about LAX, so have always been booked into transfers at SFO or DFW. I have transferred at SFO a couple of times myself and have found that airport to be pretty smooth running.

    US domestic flights being like buses... yeah... it's also not uncommon for them to be delayed like buses!

    About limo services, on a trip a while back to the US, I had booked a limo service to pick me up at the airport. It was delayed and the itinerary otherwise f'ed up. Anyway, long story short, it turns out this limo service doesn't have a guy come out and meet you at arrivals - you're supposed to call them - and not only that, my luggage was lost. I gave the driver a ring to let him know what was going on before standing in line for an hour and a bit (at something like 11pm) at the baggage service counter. Meanwhile the limo driver pisses off thinking I gave him the slip (I didn't have mobile reception in line - although I was informed by the call-centre agent earlier that he wouldn't call my roaming number anyway!).

    Their definition of limo isn't necessarily premium service I guess. In any case after the ordeal, I did thankfully have my luggage and I took a taxi, which cost less and were just waiting at the rank.

    Anyway I heard later on that luggage is screwed up in the states because there are no rules as to whether luggage has to fly with the person on domestic legs. In my case the luggage managed to connect onto an earlier flight than I could run through the airport, I sort of guessed this which is why I asked them if I could search the un-searched bags for myself (they had plenty!).

    I digress... hopefully these are things that you won't have to encounter!
     

Share This Page