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Time to clear immigration/customs at IAH on a Sunday afternoon?

Time to clear immigration/customs at IAH on a Sunday afternoon?

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Old May 11, 11, 10:04 am
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Time to clear immigration/customs at IAH on a Sunday afternoon?

I've got an especially baroque itinerary coming up: I need to get from SJD to MCO or anyplace close to it no later than midnight Sunday. Why? NASA invited me to the Tweetup it's holding for the space shuttle launch 8:56 a.m. Monday, meaning I'd get to view it from the press site, only 3 miles from the pad . In other news, I am a gigantic nerd. (And why Cabo? My sister-in-law's getting married there on Saturday. It's an action-packed weekend for everybody!)

Anyway.... AA has a $900 one-stop fare from SJD to MCO I'd rather avoid, for reasons of cost and not getting any useful miles as a *A guy. The "easiest" option then appears to be connecting through IAH--there's a CO non-stop to TPA (hello, 2+-hour drive to KSC) or a DL one-stop to DAB.

But how long should I budget to clear customs and immigration at IAH? I'd be traveling solo, arriving 4:37 on a Sunday afternoon. The TPA flight departs at 7:10 (and would have to be booked with miles, since only F is open), while the DL flight leaves at 5:58. Setting aside the thought of paying $500 and change for the latter and, again, not getting useful miles in the bargain, is the timing alone too tight to risk the DL option?
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Old May 11, 11, 8:32 pm
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Do you plan on checking bags? IAH has a "one stop" immigration lane where you can clear both if you don't have any checked bags and lets you bypass the whole baggage claim area (and tends to have a much shorter line for passport control). Works out pretty good.

It's hard to tell what the lines will be like at that hour. I've see no lines and I've seen crazy.
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Old May 11, 11, 11:07 pm
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Nope, not checking bags. Thanks for the tip!
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Old May 12, 11, 3:42 pm
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IAH immigration on a Sunday can be a real pain, I've found. If you can allow at least an hour, you might be okay.

And, by the way.... watching the launch from the press area (or from anywhere that close) will be the coolest thing you've ever seen in your life. You'll really feel it. There is nothing else like it. Enjoy!
Get there EARLY.
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Old May 14, 11, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by lindaiah View Post
IAH immigration on a Sunday can be a real pain, I've found. If you can allow at least an hour, you might be okay.

And, by the way.... watching the launch from the press area (or from anywhere that close) will be the coolest thing you've ever seen in your life. You'll really feel it. There is nothing else like it. Enjoy!
Get there EARLY.
I've got an hour and 20 minutes (arrive 5:50 from SJD, depart 7:10 for TPA). That should be well after most of the day's international arrivals... right? IAH's site somehow doesn't offer a simple schedule lookup.
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Old May 15, 11, 9:29 am
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Last edited by Duhey2; May 19, 11 at 3:17 pm
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Old May 16, 11, 4:15 am
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Originally Posted by Duhey2 View Post
Do you plan on checking bags? IAH has a "one stop" immigration lane where you can clear both if you don't have any checked bags and lets you bypass the whole baggage claim area (and tends to have a much shorter line for passport control).
The "One-Stop" line worked fantastically well--I was through immigration, customs, and security within 30 minutes of getting off the plane, while people in the regular lines looked like they might spend that much time waiting to hand over their passports. Thanks for an excellent tip. And yes, I'm typing this from the Kennedy Space Center
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Old May 16, 11, 10:25 am
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Originally Posted by DCA writer View Post
The "One-Stop" line worked fantastically well--I was through immigration, customs, and security within 30 minutes of getting off the plane, while people in the regular lines looked like they might spend that much time waiting to hand over their passports. Thanks for an excellent tip. And yes, I'm typing this from the Kennedy Space Center
Well? What did you think of the launch? Cool, huh? Understatement of this or any number of centuries.....
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Old May 17, 11, 6:50 am
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Originally Posted by lindaiah View Post
Well? What did you think of the launch? Cool, huh? Understatement of this or any number of centuries.....
Yes, "cool" would be one word for it

I attempted to capture the experience in a post on my own blog: http://robpegoraro.com/2011/05/16/na...p-t-0-arrives/

That post only glances over into the sequence of connections that got me from SJD to the vicinity of KSC in nine hours, but that's more of a FlyerTalk subject. What's the appropriate forum for "there's-gotta-be-an-easier-way-to-do-this" posts about inelegant itineraries?
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Old May 18, 11, 7:43 pm
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Originally Posted by DCA writer View Post
The "One-Stop" line worked fantastically well--I was through immigration, customs, and security within 30 minutes of getting off the plane, while people in the regular lines looked like they might spend that much time waiting to hand over their passports. Thanks for an excellent tip. And yes, I'm typing this from the Kennedy Space Center
The one stop is a great little secret that hardly anyone knows about.

I arrived on Monday on BA, just after the KL, AF, LH and QR flights had arrived. It was an absolute zoo in immigration. Even the crew line was huge.

There were 5 people before me in the One Stop line, and I was in a taxi less than 20 minutes after landing

I guessed it would have been at least 90 minutes to get through the regular line.

Cheers,
Rick
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