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Old Nov 20, 11, 2:57 pm   #1
 
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SFO immigration wait time when 4 European carriers landing simultaneously

Hi ,

Will be flying through SFO on a Sunday(FRA-SFO) with Lufthansa and i just checked that KLM(Amsterdam), Virgin(London), BA(London) and even Emirates(Dubai) will be arriving pretty much at the same hour.

From 12:35 to 1 pm we will share the international arrival hall to clear customs and immigration. If all the flights are on time, i expect a bottle neck!!

Anybody flown any of these routes and can tell me how long it took them to go through the process?

Thanks
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Old Nov 20, 11, 3:04 pm   #2
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I can't answer your question, but can you run? Seriously. If things are very busy, you could probably shave 10-20 by running down that long corridor that leads to Immigration and passing a bunch of people.
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Old Nov 20, 11, 4:11 pm   #3
 
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It is hit or miss, but recently there have been very small wait times at SFO, maybe 10-15 minutes at most. Last time thru (a couple of weeks ago), the line was long for US citizens, so agent was putting everyone (or everyone who would listen) into the visitors line.

Unless you have a really short connection, I would not worry about immigrations lines.

I have NEVER gotten out of immigration and found that my luggage (priority tagged) was already there. So my guess is you will still have to wait for your luggage.
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Old Nov 21, 11, 12:23 am   #4
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And in fact, you won't be sharing the same customs and immigration hall. LH arrives on the G side, and all the others you mention arrive on the A side. The two sides use different halls.
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Old Nov 21, 11, 3:49 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
And in fact, you won't be sharing the same customs and immigration hall. LH arrives on the G side, and all the others you mention arrive on the A side. The two sides use different halls.
This is correct but I do believe that the immigration personnel move between the two wings of the terminal according to the demand in each, so that will even out the flow somewhat.
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Old Nov 21, 11, 3:52 am   #6
 
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I have NEVER gotten out of immigration and found that my luggage (priority tagged) was already there. So my guess is you will still have to wait for your luggage.
I once had a 45 minute wait as a US citizen - and far worse for non-citizens. Arrived at G92 and had to double back down the wrong way to join the end of the line. We had arrived shortly after Frankfurt, Zurich and, I guess, a handful of others. The baggage area was a mess, with bags piled up beside all the carousels as nobody had got through from several flights to claim their bags.
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Old Nov 21, 11, 8:07 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
And in fact, you won't be sharing the same customs and immigration hall. LH arrives on the G side, and all the others you mention arrive on the A side. The two sides use different halls.
Excellent point. You may not be sharing your customs line with another flight.

My experience with ~30 international arrivals at SFO has been that if I'm not slow deplaning I can usually clear customs in under 10 minutes. My worst wait was about 25 minutes, when I believe 2 other large aircraft had arrived just ahead of us. (ETA: I am a US citizen. Lines for visitors may be slower.)
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Old Nov 21, 11, 9:52 pm   #8
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FWIW, I'm by no means a road warrior, but I've come back through SFO from abroad around 10 times over the years, and I've never had more than a 15-minute wait in Immigration. I have had long waits at LAX and IAD.
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Old Nov 22, 11, 3:02 pm   #9
 
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Thank you all for your helpful info.

Glad to know that SFO has different arrival halls within the International Terminal. I was worried when i saw 5 big planes scheduled to arrive at the same time.
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