Everything You Need To Know About Clearing US Airport Immigration

Filed Under: Advice, Travel

If you’ve traveled to the US many times before then by all means skip this post. I realize that probably covers a vast majority of readers. However, there are also plenty of people who haven’t been to the US or who aren’t familiar with US immigration procedures.

Reader Newbietomiles asked a question in the Ask Lucky forum regarding immigration procedures on an upcoming trip from Dubai to Los Angeles to Seattle. So I figured I’d address that in general terms in this post, since I assume it’s a question many people have. The US is also pretty consistent when it comes to airport immigration procedures.

Everyone has to clear immigration at their first point of entry in the US 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re terminating your travel at that point, connecting domestically, or connecting internationally. All passengers have to clear immigration and customs at their first point of entry in the US.

The US is one of the only countries that doesn’t offer sterile international transit, which can be quite frustrating. In other words, even if you’re merely connecting in the US between two international flights (like flying from Tahiti to Los Angeles to Paris) you still have to clear US immigration, which means you’ll need a US visa even for transit. It’s an annoying policy for sure.

Do you have to collect your checked bags if you’re connecting?

Yes. When you land you’ll first clear immigration, then you’ll have to wait at the baggage belt, and then you’ll have to clear customs. Once you exit the immigration hall there’s almost always going to be a transit counter where you can re-check your bags.

For example, say you’re flying from Paris to Chicago to Los Angeles. When you check your bag in Paris, the bag will typically show as being tagged all the way to Los Angeles. Despite that you’ll have to collect the bag in Chicago, and then have to check it again in Chicago after you clear immigration. The bag won’t need to be tagged again, since the baggage tag already indicates your final destination.

However, do make sure that your bag is in fact tagged correctly, because in some cases your bag may only be tagged to the intermediate point. This is especially true if you’re traveling on separate tickets.

The process of checking the bag at the transit desk should be easy, and the agents there can typically also help you print boarding passes, etc.

Do you have to clear security after going through immigration?

Yes, if you have a connecting flight to another destination you’ll have to clear security again. Some airports have a special security lane for transit passengers, while others make you go to the main security checkpoint at the terminal to clear again. Keep in mind that typical US policies will apply regarding liquids, carry-on allowances, etc.

How long of a connection do you need after an international flight?

This is a question I get asked by readers on a daily basis, and there’s no right answer. Airlines publish minimum connection times, though in my opinion they’re sometimes way too short. There are a lot of factors to consider as to whether or not you’ll make your connection:

  • Will your flight be on-time?
  • Are you a US citizen or not?
  • Do you have Global Entry and/or TSA Pre-Check?
  • Are you arriving at an airport during peak times, when immigration lines could be very long?
  • If you are arriving during peak times, will lines also be long for security?

For example, at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, the minimum connection time for an international to domestic connection on American Airlines is 90 minutes.

Do I feel comfortable with that as a US citizen with Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check who isn’t checking bags? Absolutely.

Would I feel comfortable with that as a non-US citizen with checked bags and without TSA Pre-Check who is arriving in the late afternoon, when many international flights arrive? No way. Consider that:

  • Your inbound flight could be delayed (generally I’d assume a delay of up to about 30 minutes is pretty “standard”)
  • You could wait in the immigration line for up to an hour
  • It could take you 30 minutes to once again clear security before your connecting flight

I’ve been on many flights where they didn’t let passengers even get off the plane since the immigration facility was so backed up.

So the circumstances vary, but ultimately there’s no sure bet you’ll make a connection even if you’re adhering to the minimum connection time. Hopefully you do, but it’s no guarantee. If you’re flying a high frequency route, though, keep in mind that if you misconnect you’ll typically be booked on the next available flight. However, with how full flights are nowadays, “next available” might not be as soon as you’d hope.

Bottom line

Again, I realize this is obvious to many of you, though at the same time the immigration process can be confusing, so hopefully some of you find this useful. With the exception of airports using US Pre-Clearance facilities (where you clear US immigration before boarding your US-bound flight), the US arrivals process is pretty straightforward, so hopefully the above provides some context.

  1. Pretty sure Australia has this annoying policy too.

    So if you are flying LAX-SYD on American and connecting to a Qantas flight SYD-CNS (Cairns) you will need to collect you bag and re-check in Sydney.

  2. Do you have to pick up and recheck your bag even if your final destination is not US (for example, ppt-lax-Cdg, do you have to pick up and recheck your bag at lax)???

  3. I will add a tip: If you are connecting in the US and you bought liquor at the tax free, you have to put it inside your luggage before you recheck it. If you dont do this, tsa wont let you carry it with you when you go through security after arriving to the US.

  4. I am really surprised nobody asked what’s the best credit card to get right now? So which is it? Is the Ritz Carlton a good card?

  5. Oh by the way I have had to get rescreened in Istanbul, Hong Kong and I think Seoul too.

    So many airports do not allow sterile international transfers.

  6. @Lucky – if you are connecting to a third country/continent such as Canada, mexico or europe, some airlines/airports will transfer your luggage for you without you having to collect it and take it through customs. This happened to me on a LAN flight connecting to an American flight to Toronto at MIA – we looked for the luggage and they told me it is on the way to the next flight. When I checked in at Santiago, I didn’t believe the check in agent when she told me the luggage would be waiting for me in Toronto.

  7. @Credit I think Ben was referring to the immigration aspect. You do have to clear both immigration and security if you do international transfer in the US, while in other countries, you only have to reclear the security (or maybe not, depending on your origin and the point of connection.)

  8. I flew LIM-IAH-YVR and waited for my checked bag on arrival to IAH, and it never came. Then someone explained to me I do NOT need to collect my bag if I am transiting. I got my bag at YVR.

    So this is confusing. In some cases you do collect bags, in some you don’t.

  9. @credit : rescreening (i.e. the X-ray belt) is very standard, and applies to most international sterile airports. The article is specifically about the annoyance of actually having to clear immigration and customs, which is a far bigger hassle than putting your shoes and liquids onto the belt.

  10. Global Entry is a great way to skip lines and breeze through immigration. And by far the best way to get Global Entry is via Nexus. You pay CAD $50 for five years (vs. USD $100), kids are free, and in addition to Global Entry you also get Nexus, which is good for entering Canada as well.

  11. Does the transit desk at TBIT in LAX let you check in your bags for a separate onward ticket? I will be arriving on a *A carrier but connecting to AA. I assumed I’d have to schlep to T4 and check in with everyone else, but it’d be nice to save time.

  12. @echino: IAH is an exception to this. Starting in 2014 CBP allows INTL-INTL checked baggage on United, with plans to expand to foreign carriers.

    AFAIK, IAH is the only airport participating in this program.

  13. Australia allows you to not go through immigration and customs if you are connecting internationally – you still go through a special transit security lane.

  14. Not sure if this worth another post, but I think that details about departing from/connecting through CBP pre-clearance locations would be very helpful. I know that you have mentioned it in this post, but details as what to do with checked luggage when connecting through such airport are useful.

  15. The entire key to making your next flight lies in the hands of many others. I recently flew FRA to MCO via EWR and had almost 2 hours to connect at Newark. Being that I had Global Entry and was flying business class (Lufthansa) you would think this would not be a problem. Let’s just say that I spent the night in a Newark hotel.

    When we arrived, as business class passengers, none-the-less, my bag was the last to be unloaded which took over 1.5 hrs. I was told that they had two aircraft arrive at the same time, so had to unload them both..blah..blah..blah. So while it took me 10 minutes to clear immigration, I still missed my flight.

    The best part was that they tried to tell me that I was going to have to pay for the hotel etc. because “your flight was on time arriving.” In the end, they paid, but I still was out over a $100 in meals etc.

    Moral of the story..you still may be f*&#@ed.

  16. @Ricardo
    That’s not quite the case anymore. As of February 2014, some duty free bottles can be carried through to connecting flights in the USA. See the full description at the bottom of the TSA page here: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/liquids-rule

    Short version: If they were bought in duty free and are in a tamper evident clear bag and you have the receipt, they are exempt from the 3-1-1 rule.

  17. In DFW, if you are connecting with the same airline – American – you won’t need to collect the bag and recheck it. Did some GRU-DFW-HKG and they go all the way to the final destination.

  18. @Joseph

    Wow, thanks for pointing out that exception. I remember doing a FRA-ORD-SFO flight back in 2013, and there were probably a dozen people at the TSA checkpoint passing around bottles of whisky, wine, etc because they had already rechecked their bags and TSA wouldn’t let them through.
    Was so idiotic to refuse them, and I’m positive led to a lot of angry, and ultimately very drunk passengers.

  19. Hey Lucky do you ever wonder WHY the US has all these policies that make no sense? Does its citizens ever question the logic?

  20. @Ben

    We question policies all of the time, but the fact is that there is a reason behind almost all of them, even if we don’t know what it is. My gripe is not with the policy per se, but how ineffectively they are implemented.

    Another example is that I am Global Entry; thus, TSA Precheck (usually). I fly weekly, so know the rules fairly well. Last week I flew out of Phoenix who did not have a dedicated TSA Precheck process, instead had a single line which combined after they initially checked your ID. If you were Precheck, they made you scan your boarding pass and provide your ID a second time prior to being allowed to keep your shoes on and go through the metal detector instead of the scanner.

    Do they not get that it takes longer to get your identification re-validated than it would have been for me just to go through the typical process?

    To top is all off, the guy before the X-ray asked if I had any “bathroom items” in my bag. I said, I did, but they typically are fine. It was clear that he did not like my answer, and went out of his way to alert the X-ray operator. So of course, my bag gets pulled to “check for liquids.” They found a bottle of cologne with a trace, (like it wasn’t pumping anymore trace), said that it was above regulation size and that he had to “confiscate” it. Never mind that I had a huge water bottle which was empty. I travel EVERY week with the same items in my bag, but because that TSA agent wanted to be an jerk, the process took about 30 minutes longer than normal.

    Its the personalities involved that makes it a bear. If they would just be pleasant about things, most would have no problem with the process.

  21. @Joseph,

    TSA in the States has a tainted reputation for a reason. Part of the problem is that TSA staff sometimes dont know their own rules – partially because they tend to change now and again. If you get a TSA member who knows what they are about, you’d be OK. But if experience teaches me anything, my money is on the average TSA staff member making you check it (if you can) or pitch it. It doesnt matter what the rules actually are, its what TSA staff members THINK they are (rightly or wrongly). You are far safer sticking your duty free in checked luggage once you clear immigration.

  22. I flew in with my family from HKG to DFG two weeks ago. We had a 2.5 hour layover for our connecting flight to South Florida. The flight was booked through the AA website, so American, in selling us the flight, seems to feel that 2.5 hours was enough time to clear all of the checkpoints. Well, this time it was not.

    1 – Immigration. DFW has moved to an automated system. I’m a US citizen and so is my daughter. My wife has B1/2 Visa. As we are a family she’s allowed to travel with us through the citizen/resident line. This time it was labeled as Orange lane. We were in line for this automated system for about 40 mins. Then when it spit out photo-slips of each of us, two of them had an ‘X’ on them and we had to get in another line, this time to see an actual immigration office (old school). So here, in an effort to create a system of efficiency through automation (and likely paying less staff) we actually had to stand in line for twice as long.

    2 – Customs. We’ve been through this HKG – DFW route a few time over the years, but I’ve never encountered such a massive line in the baggage claim customs area before, at any airport. Literally snaking around multiple baggage aisles before reaching a standard section off area. I don’ know if it was a man power issue or what, but another 40 minutes or so in line.

    3 – TSA. Having cleared customs, were back at sectoring to make our way to the domestic concourse. They had 2 agents. One alternating between priority and normal access. The other alternating between TSA-Pre and Priority. So, yes, that’s right, priority was getting double attention, even over TSA-Pre (which is usually paid for, right?) Anyway, we’re in the normal line. People are actually jumping the line at times, and the agents just let them go, people in line are grumbling. All three lines are growing in length. As we round the final turn (maybe 2 or 3 away from the agent, they close one of the two scanning lines they are running (break time?). We finally make it through. Hop on Skytrain, get to the gate 8 mins late. Plane’s already gone.

    4 – American Airlines Customer Service. American’s gate agents say they can’t help us (really???). So we have to go all the way back to customer service. We get there. 2 agents working at a row of 8 terminals. A line of others equally affected due to line delays. I’m hearing the same story. American takes no responsibility for missing flights due to TSA/Customs/Immigration. One guy in line is on the phone with American. He’s irate, and getting the same message. I finally get up to agent 40 minutes later. She’s pleasant but tells me the story I know I’m going to hear. We get rebooked the following day, but no vouchers for hotel or meals, not even some FF miles. I politely ask her if she can inform someone up the chain of our displeasure and state my argument that in selling us the route through their website American has presented us the idea that 2.5 hours IS enough time to clear. For them to simply shirk responsibility (especially after a 15 hour international flight) is bad form.

    We ended up spending an extra $330 for the hotel stay and meals. I have sent a letter (via the website to AA. They sent me a response that was more of the same, (i.e. Sorry, but that’s our policy, but do follow up with TSA, Immigration, etc.)

    I know that those departments are outside of the control of AA, but even so DFW is a major AA hub. I am sure they have some influence on airport operations, however minor.

    Being out of pocket is not a huge deal, but it eats away at any claim to ‘low fare’ they might want to make. Also the lack of regard for customers (not only myself, but the others who got the same message) was eye opening. This is a far cry from he customer service I received from AA just a few years earlier (prior to the merger).

    As Lucky and others mentioned, airport point of entry experiences may very. This is just a bad one the we had, that I thought I’d share. The main point may be that 2.5 hours may not be enough time (even for a US citizen).

  23. I am an Indian citizen and fly through ORD about 15-20 times a year for work. I generally find that keeping two hours between an arrival on an int’l flight and departure on a domestic flight is a good window. In addition, I also find that it often takes less time for non-US citizens to clear immigration at ORD (unless of course they use the automated systems). This is partly because every time I land, I find the US citizen queue to be extending across the entire hall.

    One note since this is not the norm at all int’l airports – keep your cell phones off (or at the least concealed if using one) from the security since apparently you are not allowed to use a cell phone prior to clearing immigration upon landing in the US. Yet, I was allowed to use my cell phone in Canada after landing until I reached the pre-clearance pen.

  24. @Tim Yest Australia does as we have really strict Biosecurity laws so all bags must be checked at first port of entry of before they enter Australia. Also immigration isn’t available after domestic flights. However our system is never to bad as the US at least for Australians, very rarely do I wait more than 30mins to get through Biosecurity and immigration is near instant with Smartgates if you are an Australian citizen. They can be really hard on you though if you are a foreigner eg. my Thai friends took 4-5 hours and an interview before being granted entry.

  25. @Tim I should point out this only applies to International-Domestic not Intenarional-International that would be stupid so only the US cares about people who aren’t even staying.

  26. Just do not connect through the US. It is generally a quite backward and annoying experience. Better not volunteer for all the hazzle. Sooner or later they will be able to sort this out and come at par with the rest of the world. Right now they are probably still busy dropping bombs around the world and distributing US branded democracy, so have patience.

  27. Sure would be nice if folks would check their facts before publishing articles that make blanket statements purporting to be fact, like: all passengers must claim and recheck bags when making an international to international connections in the US.

    Simply not true, several airports – DFW, IAH, MIA are ones I am aware of – allow “ITI” connections without reclaim in certain circumstances.

  28. Allow me to add that if you fly into the US from Canada or a few select countries you will clear Customs and Immigration at your country of origin.

    I will also echo @echino and recommend NEXUS.

  29. @Lucky

    Great post! This answers some of my questions. But it would be great if you can list airports that DO have international sterile area and airports that DON’T. This will especially helpful for some of us including myself who travel frequently through airports for positioning without having a visa to pass the passport control.


  30. For US citizens, there is an app now called Mobile Passport. You can download it from the App Store for free. Follow the instructions, take a selfie, and you can go right thru a special queue at Customs right next to Global Entry. I used it at MIA in July and went right through…

  31. DTW also allows international to international connections without having to pick up bags at belt in the US (re: whoever said it was just IAH and those who said it wasn’t possible). Recently had a CDG-DTW-YUL flight and was surprised when check-in agent in Paris told me I would only have to pick my bag up in Montreal. Turns out, she was right – did not have to pick up bags for US customs at DTW.

  32. I never have a problem connecting through most Asian and European airports. Surprisingly, one of the worst international transfer to domestic experiences occurred in LAX for me last week. Flying AA First from Sydney to LAX with only carry-on luggage, I had a 2 hour layover to fly AA domestic to DFW. Even though I had a TSA pre-check ticket for DFW, LAX apparently doesn’t bother with TSA pre check for transfers, unlike SFO. Enduring a very long line with only one operating check point, I was informed that my TSA pre meant nothing at LAX transfers and the process took 45 minutes. And what can be more delightful after flying over 15 hours and wondering how to find the next terminal and gate, than to remove shoes, laptop, and the plastic bag of 3 oz or less liquids. Next time I will just leave customs with my Global Entry ticket, proceed to regular domestic check-in for TSA pre or Clear, and avoid transfers entirely at LAX.

  33. If you are a non-US citizen living in the APEC country and doing a lot of business in the region, it is worthed to apply for ABTC (APEC Business Traveller Card) which act as a VISA for many APEC country (not the US though). But when you are clearing US Immigration, you can access expedited line for ABTC where indicated or crew line where ABTC lane is not indicated.

  34. There are defineltly some weird non standardized rules between US airports. Apparently as others have mentioned I-I transfers and if you need to collect bags is one of them.

    Another one I got recently at DFW was when I went to exit with my bag I handed my GE slip to the customs agent and she stared at me for a second and goes “where is your passport?” So I fish out my passport and she proceeds to lecture me about how it is standard practice to have to show them your passport at this point which I don’t think I have ever done.

  35. I’ve entered the USA from Australia and Europe 5 times in the last 8 years – LAX, JFK & Newark. Every time it’s taken 1-2.5 hours to get through Immigration due to lack of staff. Why have 20 gates if only 5 are going to be used? Each time I’ve gone to collect my bag it’s been in with others on the floor and anyone could walk away with it. And on top of that the “red coats” that “help” with the flow of passengers are rude and completely unhelpful. I’ve seen them deal with someone pleading for an Express pass to make a connection after being in line for 2 hours but just shrugging and telling them to get back in line. I’m not going to start on the intimidating manner the Immigration officers seem to think is appropriate for getting visitors. Welcome to America.

  36. I am flying to America this Christmas from London to NYC then to Cancun then Miami then back to London. I am ever so confused with US airport procedures and the more I ready about it on various websites the more confused I get. Which is why I decided to do stayovers in NYC and Miami so I don’t have to deal with connecting times between airports.
    I am rather anxious about my next trip next March with AA as I will have connecting flights so I read about each individual airports’s procedures however AA keeps changing flight times on the way back and this morning I have another email from AA about more changes and this time they change the connecting airports!!! Instead of doing Phoenix to NYC, I am now doing Phoenix to Dallas which is rather annoying as I will not get the same tier points and miles but the better news is that I will be doing Dallas to Paris on the new 787/9 instead of 757… unless of course they change everything again. The connection time in Dallas is 40 mins instead of 4 hours in NYC… I am a French citizen and after reading the posts above, 40 mins may not be enough… surely AA knows that… Quite nervous about that trip and missing flights but now I have to read all about Dallas airport’s procedure.

  37. I’m not a US Citizen but have Global Entry and TSA Pre-check. Nonetheless, my self-imposed minimum transfer time through any airport in the US is 3 hours. I always find that something will go wrong in the process (X on GE slip, bags taking forever to appear on belt, huge lines at security) and I prefer to spend an hour or two doing nothing at the airport (in case everything goes smoothly) to the stress of trying to deal with inefficient and hostile customer service of the US aviation industry.

  38. Should point out that passengers continuing on the same flight, eg Air New Zealand’s LHR – LAX – AKL or Air France’s CDG – LAX – PPT don’t need to clear immigration and re-check-in. You’re luggage remains on the aircraft, and you can access the departure area. Wasn’t the case a few years ago, where you would have to clear a separate immigration channel that lead to a sterile gate area where you’d have to wait to re-board your flight.

  39. Jo145 completely encapsulates my experiences. Not only have I had baggage left for anyone to collect but I have had disabled parents left waiting for two hours by the baggage carousel whilst I cleared the ‘general’ immigration line.

  40. If doing LIS-BOS-YYZ due to a TAP cheap fare and throwing away the last segment, will BOS check through bags? That seems bad without the throwaway as you can’t move duty free liquids from carry-on to checked.

  41. @Ludovic
    As you are transiting DFW on your way TO Europe, your process at DFW will be very simple. You just go directly to the departure gate for your flight to CDG. There is no exit immigration leaving from the USA as there is in Europe. So you’ll just go directly to your connecting gate and board the plane. Simple. NOW, you said, though, that you have a 40 minute connection. that’s REALLY tight. I’d call and see if you can change it to have longer at DFW. While doable, that is very tight, especially for a connection to a market that is only served once a day.

  42. Jason
    Thank you very much for the information, I always think 40 mins is tight no matter where you transit in the world. I am just surprised the airlines would do such a thing or they must be pretty confident everyone will get through on time… I will have to call AA and find out.

  43. @Straver
    No worries, but I admit RTBones has a point. Even though it shouldn’t, YMMV with TSA.
    They actually made this change a few weeks after I came back from a trip to Nicaragua in which I was LUCKY to be able to put my Duty-Free rum into my real suitcase.

    I agree. It does help for us to know the rules (and be able to point to them, too) at times. Ultimately, though, there are enough TSA agents who are drunk on their own authority that it’s a risk.

  44. @Paul not quite true. Through passengers on Air NZ between LHR and AKL or vice versa do not need to collect luggage and recheck in, but do need to clear immigration and security in transit at LAX.

    As non-US it often takes well over an hour just to clear immigration (and further 30 minutes for customs). I do not book any travel with connection at USA gateway of less than 3 hours, longer if on separate tickets.

  45. Not true that all passengers clear customs in the us – there is a preclearance program for flights from many Canadian spots, Ireland, Aruba, and probably a couple more. There you need to allot the time up front – it is really nice to just walk out of the airport after a Dublin flight, though.

  46. Hi,
    I’ve been flying to or through the US each summer for the past four years as a tourist, and went through customs various times at MIA, JFK, ORD, LAX, and other airports. As other comments mentioned, the process could be a lot less stressful if customs staff weren’t so incredibly rude. This is the one single reason that makes me think I should go somewhere else on holiday (to spend my hard earned money), and try to always avoid US carriers when flying to the caribbean. For non Us citizens t’s simply a humiliating process. And there’s absolutely no reason why a traveller should be treated that way. Being a total jerk has nothing to do with security.
    It’s so bad that it leaves you wishing Us citizens were left standing in sperate three hour lines when coming to Europe, screamed at in a language they don’t understand, treated like potential criminals and intimidated into passively accepting arrogant behavior with the threat of being sent back instantly. Maybe then, your authorities would reconsider.
    Sorry for the harsh post.

  47. I usually take at least one international (vacation) trip from the US every year. I hub through Atlanta on Delta about 90%+ of the time (local airport – JAX – doesn’t have international flights). I have never had an issue getting through immigration/customs on the way home in a fairly timely fashion (especially now that Atlanta has “automated” passport control). Although I do allow 2-3+ hours for a connection – just in case there is a “glitch”. Perhaps it has something to do with “southern hospitality”? I know that Atlanta has a bad reputation with some people – but I’ve always been a happy camper passing through that airport.

    One thing I can recommend is using a porter (if available) to handle your luggage (not only in Atlanta but everywhere). This is a necessity for me and my husband. But it’s worth a $10 tip for most people – because the porters almost always go to the head of any lines.

    Note that Delta apparently has some kind of agreement with the TSA so members of its SkyMiles program (almost) always get TSA-pre. On my part – it has been always in recent years. Knock wood (not that getting through security at my local airport is a big deal).

    On another note – a few years ago – we had our carry-on duty-free liquor confiscated when passing through Narita security on our way to Singapore (same “liquid” rules that we apparently have in the US). We were able to get a refund from the duty free store at ORD that sold it to us (because the store should have known that it would be confiscated). I don’t know what the current rules are at Narita. Best to check any airport when just “passing through”.

    FWIW – although we usually have good airport experiences – there are exceptions. One big one recently was at CDG. My husband wears a large leg brace (he has MS and can’t walk hardly at all without it) – and the security at CDG just didn’t know how to handle it. Also – it didn’t have a room/cubicle where my husband could sit down – disrobe – remove it – and have it “tested”. After some silly arguments in bad French (on our part) – my husband sat down on the floor – dropped his pants – removed the brace – and gave it to the security people. Who still didn’t know what to do with it/how to get it cleared through security (although they did threaten to arrest my husband for indecent exposure). After I can’t recall how much haggling/arguing – and almost missing our flight – the security people came up with something. I realize that US security isn’t perfect – but it’s not like everyone outside the US is perfect either. And treating handicapped people so poorly (anywhere) is just a disgrace IMO. Robyn

  48. @PVBGirl – sorry to hear about the experience with your husband. He seems like a strong character and I hope he humiliated those security personnel by displaying to the that a disabled individual is able to come up with a solution whereas they are just staring like head-less chickens. Ha – a charge for indecent exposure in Paris???? Wow – they are more conservative than they would have us believe. Ultimately, airport security is the main reason why many of us have a negative experience at the airport and I agree – they are imperfect at any airport in any country.

  49. hey @Lucky, super useful information. Just one question: if I already cleared Inmigrations and customs at my first entrance point to USA and then I take another separate flight with a small layover in another US State, I’m not supposed to go thru that again, right?

  50. If I purchase a ticket from Santiago to LAX to SFO, and I do not board the plane to SFO, will I be able to collect my luggage after passing through customs?

  51. I am a student from India studying at a US school and am on an F1 visa. I was on a flight from Bangalore->Dubai->JFK->Phoenix. I did immigration at JFK. Then I headed over to the terminal (5) for the connecting flight to Phoenix. Strangely, there was no customs clearance in my path. I came out of immigration, followed the connections sign, took the airtran to Terminal 5 for my onward flight.

  52. Greetings,

    Quick question, we will be flying from CDG to LAX to SAN. My question, can we get off the plane in LAX after going through customs etc., and travel home as opposed to waiting for the connecting flight to SAN.

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