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How long to clear customs and connect through BWI?

How long to clear customs and connect through BWI?

Old Mar 28, 2023, 2:20 pm
  #1  
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How long to clear customs and connect through BWI?

Never been to this airport - Flying southwest PUJ to BWI to RDU - I have two optiosn 1hr 40 min and 2 hr 55 min as layover options on a sunday evening - Will be traveling with an almost four year old- so that always takes a tad longer (getting stroller plane side, etc) - how long do I usually need? thinking of leaning to the longer layover just to be on the safe side, although I hate waiting in airports?

thoughts?
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 2:23 pm
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We had to retrieve our bags, clear customs, then walk across what seemed like the entire length of the airport departures level to get recheck our bags at the Southwest ticket window, then go through TSA security. Go with the longer connection -- you'll be less stressed.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 4:22 pm
  #3  
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Only an extra hour. Take it and then enjoy a sit down meal.

Getting stuck at BWI with a 4 year old - maybe overnight - is hell on earth. LOL!

Yes, there is a fair to good chance you can make the original connection, but I would not do it.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere
Only an extra hour. Take it and then enjoy a sit down meal.

Getting stuck at BWI with a 4 year old - maybe overnight - is hell on earth. LOL!

Yes, there is a fair to good chance you can make the original connection, but I would not do it.
makes sense- appreciate it - having dealt with the overnight sleeping in and near an airport without a kid- it sucked, with a 4 year old does give me anxiety just thinking about it
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Old Mar 29, 2023, 6:43 am
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I would, of course, take the 1hr 40 connection at BWI. It is a very low stress airport compared to JFK or something like that. My kids are 1, 3, and 5 and frankly the only holdup we have on international and/or widebody flights is waiting for the stroller to appear. My kids are very experienced travelers though who are used to 35-40 minute domestic connections. Personally with 1hr 40mins, I think you'd even have time to grab some Chick-fil-A at BWI before your connection. If for some reason you miss your connection, you will most likely be accommodated on the next one. Nothing more painful in an airport than sitting there with cranky kids watching the earlier flight to RDU take off without you so that you can catch your 10:30pm flight an hour from now.
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Old Mar 29, 2023, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by pgh234
I would, of course, take the 1hr 40 connection at BWI. It is a very low stress airport compared to JFK or something like that. My kids are 1, 3, and 5 and frankly the only holdup we have on international and/or widebody flights is waiting for the stroller to appear. My kids are very experienced travelers though who are used to 35-40 minute domestic connections. Personally with 1hr 40mins, I think you'd even have time to grab some Chick-fil-A at BWI before your connection. If for some reason you miss your connection, you will most likely be accommodated on the next one. Nothing more painful in an airport than sitting there with cranky kids watching the earlier flight to RDU take off without you so that you can catch your 10:30pm flight an hour from now.
I get what you are saying - the thing is the flight to RDU is the same time, there are just two flights from PUJ to BWI - I either take the earlier one or the later one, but I end up on the same flight to RDU- which is the last one of the night- so if I miss it- I have to spend the night there,
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Old Jul 26, 2023, 10:27 am
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Hey can I bump this thread? Taking a similar PUJ flight through Baltimore, but I am going to ISP. I have never taken an international flight with a domestic connection before and was hoping somebody can help with the process.

ISP-BWI-PUJ is an early 605am flight. The layover is only one hour, which may be tight. Do I have to go through any customs or stuff heading down or bag check in BWI? The bags would transfer planes right? Is there a good chance the gates will be near each other? One hour is a tight connection. I am confident the ISP flight will leave on time, it usually does. I just want to make sure i can get to my plane at BWI quickly, and also get a decent seat as we are all A-List.

For PUJ-BWI-ISP, I was reading the posts above. Is the process PUJ-BWI, go through customs, get bags and then re-check for BWI-ISP? My layover at BWI is 3 hours and the BWI flight doesn't take off until 7pm so being a late flight there is a good enough chance that flight will be delayed anyways. I would think that is plenty time to make this connection? We are thinking of upgrading to Global Relay, but that would be $120x3 travelers. Not sure if it's worth it for this airport. Worst case scenario we either stay at BWI one night or we rent a car to drive from BWI to ISP (4 hour drive - doable).

TIA.
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Old Jul 26, 2023, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by Scotttyd
Never been to this airport - Flying southwest PUJ to BWI to RDU - I have two optiosn 1hr 40 min and 2 hr 55 min as layover options on a sunday evening - Will be traveling with an almost four year old- so that always takes a tad longer (getting stroller plane side, etc) - how long do I usually need? thinking of leaning to the longer layover just to be on the safe side, although I hate waiting in airports?

thoughts?
Sorry, I can't answer your Customs questions, as I've never flown international. However, I do know BWI extremely well, as it's my home airport.

I would recommend taking the longer layover, simply to give you more time to get from the Int'l arrivals area to the gate for your flight to RDU.

Int'l arrivals are on the lower level at Concourse E. Southwest domestic flights operate in Concourses A, B, and C. You'll need to walk all the way to the other side of the terminal, check in at the WN ticket counters between Conc. A and B, and enter security there. With a 4yo plus baggage, that'll take a while. I measured it once, it's 3/4 of a mile around the horseshoe of the BWI terminal.

There is a shortcut that will save you a couple of minutes. After you exit Int'l arrivals, go up to the upper level (which is Departures) and start walking. When you get to the Spirit ticket counter, directly across is a set of stairs, escalators, and elevators that lead up to Skywalk D to the hourly parking garage. Take that and cut straight through the garage. At the opposite end, you'll come to Skywalk B, which will put you back in the terminal directly above the WN ticket counter and one of the security checkpoints. It's completely enclosed and air conditioned all the way, and there are even moving walkways in the garage to make the walk a little shorter.

Here is the online map of the terminal. Concourse E (Int'l) is on the left, WN check in is on the right between Conc. A and B. If you zoom in a little, you'll see the two Skywalks I mentioned at the top side of the hourly garage.
https://www.bwiairport.com/wayfinding

Originally Posted by ave1024
Hey can I bump this thread? Taking a similar PUJ flight through Baltimore, but I am going to ISP. I have never taken an international flight with a domestic connection before and was hoping somebody can help with the process.

ISP-BWI-PUJ is an early 605am flight. The layover is only one hour, which may be tight. Do I have to go through any customs or stuff heading down or bag check in BWI? The bags would transfer planes right? Is there a good chance the gates will be near each other? One hour is a tight connection. I am confident the ISP flight will leave on time, it usually does. I just want to make sure i can get to my plane at BWI quickly, and also get a decent seat as we are all A-List.

For PUJ-BWI-ISP, I was reading the posts above. Is the process PUJ-BWI, go through customs, get bags and then re-check for BWI-ISP? My layover at BWI is 3 hours and the BWI flight doesn't take off until 7pm so being a late flight there is a good enough chance that flight will be delayed anyways. I would think that is plenty time to make this connection? We are thinking of upgrading to Global Relay, but that would be $120x3 travelers. Not sure if it's worth it for this airport. Worst case scenario we either stay at BWI one night or we rent a car to drive from BWI to ISP (4 hour drive - doable).

TIA.
Again, I can't answer your customs questions, but refer to my advice above to Scotttyd about crossing the BWI terminal. If you're flying WN domestic, you'll be on the opposite side of the terminal from the Int'l arrivals.

If you decide to get a local hotel, there are a lot of them with shuttles to BWI that will cost you less than $120 for a single room. Or, if you're going to hang out in the terminal for a while, there are plenty of places to eat, and there's a Minute Suites on Concourse C where you could catch a few Zs if you really need them.
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Old Jul 26, 2023, 11:09 am
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Originally Posted by WillCAD
Again, I can't answer your customs questions, but refer to my advice above to Scotttyd about crossing the BWI terminal. If you're flying WN domestic, you'll be on the opposite side of the terminal from the Int'l arrivals.

If you decide to get a local hotel, there are a lot of them with shuttles to BWI that will cost you less than $120 for a single room. Or, if you're going to hang out in the terminal for a while, there are plenty of places to eat, and there's a Minute Suites on Concourse C where you could catch a few Zs if you really need them.

That's fair. But just to clarify, the crossing BWI terminal should only apply on the return flight from PUJ right? Or do you have to cross a long terminal for the outgoing flight where I only have an hour layover? And to confirm i don't have to get my own bags in BWI on the outgoing flight to PUJ, SW will transfer the bags to the plane going to PUJ? TIA.
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Old Jul 26, 2023, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by ave1024
ISP-BWI-PUJ is an early 605am flight. The layover is only one hour, which may be tight. Do I have to go through any customs or stuff heading down or bag check in BWI? The bags would transfer planes right? Is there a good chance the gates will be near each other? One hour is a tight connection. I am confident the ISP flight will leave on time, it usually does. I just want to make sure i can get to my plane at BWI quickly, and also get a decent seat as we are all A-List.
You simply go from gate to gate in BWI (as stated above, could be Concourse A, B, or C). I would check the past few ISP-BWI flights to see what gate they arrive at. Then also check to see what gate BWI-PUJ leaves from. Then consult the map to get a decent idea of distances/locations.

You naturally will have to go through immigrations/customs in PUJ since you are entering the Dominican Republic.

For PUJ-BWI-ISP, I was reading the posts above. Is the process PUJ-BWI, go through customs, get bags and then re-check for BWI-ISP? My layover at BWI is 3 hours and the BWI flight doesn't take off until 7pm so being a late flight there is a good enough chance that flight will be delayed anyways. I would think that is plenty time to make this connection? We are thinking of upgrading to Global Relay, but that would be $120x3 travelers. Not sure if it's worth it for this airport. Worst case scenario we either stay at BWI one night or we rent a car to drive from BWI to ISP (4 hour drive - doable).
I think you mean Global Entry? Since you have three hours, and if you don't travel internationally at least annually, then it might not be worth it--that is if you already have Pre-Check. I've also never used BWI internationally, so I have no idea how the lines are at immigrations.
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Old Jul 26, 2023, 11:41 am
  #11  
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OP asked back in March. Wonder if he has taken the trip and how it worked out.
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Old Jul 26, 2023, 2:53 pm
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Download the free CBP MPC app and register your travel party. It's free and almost as good as Global Entry at ports which support it (BWI does).
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Old Jul 26, 2023, 8:56 pm
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Originally Posted by ave1024
That's fair. But just to clarify, the crossing BWI terminal should only apply on the return flight from PUJ right? Or do you have to cross a long terminal for the outgoing flight where I only have an hour layover? And to confirm i don't have to get my own bags in BWI on the outgoing flight to PUJ, SW will transfer the bags to the plane going to PUJ? TIA.
You won't have to cross the whole terminal on your outbound flight. WN outbound flights, including int'l, all fly out of Concourses A, B, and C, which are all connected airside. That being said, if your flight from ISP lands all the way at the end of Conc A, and your flight to PUJ is al the way at the end of B or C, you'll still have a hike. I'd say it's about a ten-minute walk at a normal pace from the end of A to the end of B, and maybe fifteen from the end of A to the end of C. You can make it easily, with a restroom stop and maybe a quick stop in a concession for a snack, if there are no delays.

Hopefully, both flights will be on the same concourse, or at least not all the way at opposite ends, so you'll have plenty of time to make a pit stop before you have to be at the gate for your PUJ flight.

As for the bag transfer, if you booked the flight as a connection, i.e. a single flight all on the same confirmation number from ISP to PUJ, then your bags will be checked through to PUJ and you won't need to get them and re-check them yourself. Which is good, because there's no way you could do that in only an hour at BWI.

Since you are making a connection, I'd recommend you get familiar with the layout of the terminal, at least so you have some vague notion of where you are when you arrive. Google Maps shows a pretty good amount of detail.

The horseshoe part is all landside. The piers that stick out are the concourses. Concourse A is the one to the upper left, and the others go in alphabetical order as you go around the horseshoe. International arrivals are on Concourse E.
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1796...!1e3?entry=ttu

If you switch that map from the aerial photo view to the standard view, you can zoom in and click on the map to see details like gate numbers and restroom locations, and there's even a thingy on the right side that will let you choose Upper level or Lower level.
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Old Jul 27, 2023, 6:15 am
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Can't you just use the connecting flight belt outside customs and then clear security? I've done this on some flights but not on Southwest. You could have your Mobile Boarding Passes or printed ones.
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Old Jul 29, 2023, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere
OP asked back in March. Wonder if he has taken the trip and how it worked out.
did take the trip, we took the longer layover- it is a LONG walk once you clear customs and have to recheck your bag- one of the longest I have ever done on a connection. 1 hr 40 min would have been very very close. We cleared customs quick- we couldn't do mobile passport bc of our 3 year old. But it didn't make a difference, as we waited probably 25 min for our bags, then had the long walk, plus didh't have a seperate screening area for connections, we just had to go through regular TSA. (on top of that LUV messed up something and TSA precheck wasn't on my wifes ticket - even though it was on the outbound flight, but NOT on the inbound flight. We ended up sitting down and having a meal, to pass time, but didn't have a lot of extra time even though we took the long layover.
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