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-   -   Consolidated "Customs and Immigration at LAX" thread (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/los-angeles/736477-consolidated-customs-immigration-lax-thread.html)

toorfromdtw Sep 30, 11 2:10 am

2 hrs from TBIT to Terminal 5/6 possible?
 
Hi.

I am looking at tickets for coming back home from my study abroad in Hokkaido Japan. Given that I fly Delta 90% of the time for its convenience for me, I am looking on Orbitz at a Korean Air/Delta via LAX option for heading back to DTW. Here's what it looks like.

Korean Air 17 arriving at 11am from Seoul Incheon (ICN)

Delta 1806 departing at 1:15 for DTW.

Is having 2 hours to connect and go through customs and all too risky? I do have global entry, and I do think that will help speed things along for me.

Thanks in advance!

wingless Sep 30, 11 2:46 am

If your flight is on time or at least almost on time 2 hours is plenty of time to connect.

SoCal Oct 2, 11 7:44 am

I thought most such services would ask you to phone once you are ready to depart, or close to departing, the termnal (you can't use the phone in Immigration-- not sure about baggage and Customs), since they know the amount of time required can vary and they don't want to have their driver sitting out at the curb for long periods of time, possibly incurring a fine. The driver may circle the airport road or wait in a parking area. I'd ask the service to confirm.

bzcat Oct 3, 11 5:01 pm


Originally Posted by toorfromdtw (Post 17197211)
Korean Air 17 arriving at 11am from Seoul Incheon (ICN)

Delta 1806 departing at 1:15 for DTW.

Is having 2 hours to connect and go through customs and all too risky? I do have global entry, and I do think that will help speed things along for me.

Thanks in advance!

2 hours is about right if you have global entry. Also helps if you are on the same ticket/PRN... just in case your inbound flight is delayed. DL may decide to hold your outbound flight if there are enough passengers on the same itinerary (ICN-LAX-DTW).

eb1020 Dec 3, 11 6:51 pm

Delays Clearing Customs at TBIT-LAX?
 
Recent news reports have it that it can take up to three hours to clear Customs and exit TBIT at LAX. Does anyone have recent experience at TBIT? Have family coming in on Dec 6 and would like to alert them if the wait will be onerous. Thanks.

FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Dec 3, 11 9:07 pm

I just came out of TBIT a few days ago, but I had Global Entry. It took about 10 minutes tops, but the lines were very very long for non-GE folks. That place is like a madhouse. I couldn't find the exit lanes so I cut through and got yelled at by a customs lady.

SoCal Dec 4, 11 6:34 am

What's your definition of "onerous"? You can get anecdotal evidence of the time required-- good and bad-- but the fact is no one can predict exactly. As with any airport, it depends in part on how many other international flights land at the sametime, how many people arein the same line as your family (citizens/permanent residents or others), what delays, if any, your family members encounter, how long it takes for the bags to get to the terminal (between Immigration and Customs), etc. Certain times of day are reputed to be worse, due to the number of flights landing at the same time, but there may also be more agents on duty at the same time. Customs usually consists of nothing more than handing over the form one gets on board the flight and fills out before reaching Immigration (the Immigration agent initials it) and handing it over to the Customs agent later on, but one could get pulled aside for secondary inspection, either due to questions about one's bags (or the form) or just at random.

I don't recall ever taking over an hour, but, again, that's just anecdotal evidence, and it was for the citizen/permanent resident line, which moved quicker.

aBroadAbroad Dec 4, 11 9:19 am

It can definitely take well over an hour.

We pass through multiple times per year, usually arriving from Asia during peak arrival times (between 7pm-ish and 9pm-ish, multiple inbound flights, one after another). Immigration has never a problem for us at LAX -- even when the lines are very long, the lines for US passport holders tend to move very quickly. The agents have been invariably friendly and efficient.

In general, checked bags do tend to take forever to come out at TBIT. We end up waiting for our bags about 90% of the time, even after standing in long immigration lines, and even with priority tags.

Customs lines are consistently slow at LAX, pretty much without exception. Even when they're relatively short, the lines move at a snail's pace. During peak arrival times, they tend to be extremely long, and when there are large numbers of non-Western arrivals, it seems that the agents divert significantly more pax for additional screening. The diversion process slows the lines even more. We've often spent over an hour waiting in the customs line alone.

All that said, it's impossible to predict. We've gotten through in about 30 minutes when arriving at non-peak times. If you plan for the worst, you're almost guaranteed to whiz through! :D

bzcat Dec 4, 11 6:55 pm

During peak arrival time in the late afternoon/early evening, non-citizens should expect 2 hours in line at immigration and 30 min in line for customs at TBIT. US passport holders can get through immigration in about 1.5 hours but must get in the same customs line with visitors.

MSPeconomist Dec 4, 11 7:08 pm

I had a bad TBIT experience that involved getting through immigration quickly after arriving in SQ IFC with a USA passport, then waiting in line for more than an hour for customs, only to be sent to secondary agricultural inspection where they Xrayed everything which took another hour. It seemed that they were sending everyone on the SQ flight to the secondary ag screening while OTOH BA was escorting all of their IFC passengers through very quickly. This experience caused me to get GE as well as to complain to SQ that they did not provide the same courtesy to their IFC passengers.

VHOEJ Dec 11, 11 3:07 am

As a non US citizen, expect hours. If you are a US resident, shouldn't take much time at all. I last went through at 7am a few weeks ago - took 2 hours to get through, with twice as many customs officers handling the US residents than the non-US residents lines.

FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Dec 11, 11 6:49 am


Originally Posted by VHOEJ (Post 17604385)
As a non US citizen, expect hours. If you are a US resident, shouldn't take much time at all. I last went through at 7am a few weeks ago - took 2 hours to get through, with twice as many customs officers handling the US residents than the non-US residents lines.

Are you a US citizen? So a US citizen takes 2 hours?

VickiSoCal Dec 12, 11 2:16 pm


Originally Posted by VHOEJ (Post 17604385)
As a non US citizen, expect hours. If you are a US resident, shouldn't take much time at all. I last went through at 7am a few weeks ago - took 2 hours to get through, with twice as many customs officers handling the US residents than the non-US residents lines.

Are sure? There are usually 2 lines for imigration, but only one for customs, which is where it can get nasty.

aBroadAbroad Dec 16, 11 8:58 am


Originally Posted by VHOEJ (Post 17604385)
...took 2 hours to get through, with twice as many customs officers handling the US residents than the non-US residents lines.

There are no US-resident lines for customs inspections. All passengers go through customs together. It's easily one of the most chaotic customs experiences you'll ever hope to have.

At peak hours, you will find multiple immigration agents handling US-resident entries (usually two to four of them, but sometimes six when it's super busy). It's usually pretty quick for US residents, even when the lines are long.

Once you get your bags, it's not unusual to see only one (very long) customs line down the center of the hall, but normally there are at least two. I usually see three lines (one down the middle, and one wrapping around each side of the hall), and rarely four (two down the center).

When I flew in from Asia three months ago, I was shocked to see that there were six customs inspectors on duty (i.e., six lines), which is the most I've ever seen at one time. I don't recall ever seeing two sets of lines on the perimeter of the hall. However, the lines were also the longest I've ever seen (wrapped all the way around the baggage area to immigration), so it still took well over an an hour to reach the inspectors' podiums. Many pax were being diverted to secondary inspection, especially those with really huge suitcases, or whose checked baggage included cardboard cartons. When there are lots of diversions, it does seem to slow the lines down even more.

We'll see how it goes tonight when -mr arrives.


~mrs

Mabuk dan gila Dec 27, 11 5:54 am

I fly through TBIT very often. I have seen lines at customs trending longer lately but usually I get through pretty quick. But last night it was strait up third world country status with chaotic lines for customs. Lines stretched down the front to the wall, all the way back along the wall to immigration, along the back of immigration, then doubled around going back along behind immigration the other way, back down the wall, past two baggage carousels, wrapping around one of them, then up the middle and back to immigration. I'm trying to recall if I have ever seen anything so ridiculous in all of my travels to third world countries and I can't recall that I have. I was arriving from Manila which is not exactly known for being the most efficient airport in the world but MNL at it's worst is 100 times more efficient than TBIT was yesterday.


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