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Consolidated Connection time/logistics-Domestic & International at IAH

Consolidated Connection time/logistics-Domestic & International at IAH

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Old Nov 29, 19, 12:23 pm   -   Wikipost
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Checking in and departing from IAH:

Terminal C has the most reliably open Precheck and Premier Access security lanes. Consider checking in and clearing security in at Terminal C even if departing from another terminal.

There are no UA check-in counters in Terminal A, even though UA has a few flights that depart from Terminal A. Check in at Terminal B or C.

There is an underground, somewhat slow landside tram system (the Subway) that runs between the basement level of all terminals (plus the on-site Marriott hotel) outside of security. (The Subway was built by Disney and modeled after their PeopleMover ride. It's worth a look if you're into that sort of thing.)

Recommended practices for transiting IAH:

IAH is a huge airport, but all terminals are very conveniently connected by a very frequent, fast airside tram system (the Skyway) inside security. You can pretty much get from any point in the airport to any other point in the airport within about 15 minutes (with a combination of Skyway and a brisk walk) without reclearing security. UA publishes as low as a 35-minute minimum connect time (MCT) at IAH, and while you shouldn't dilly-dally, this is doable on a typical domestic-domestic connection. (It helps if your inbound is not delayed and you're seated towards the front of the plane, of course; your departure flight will be almost fully boarded by the time you get there, but you'll make it.)

Note that the higher-numbered C gates (C29-C45, aka "C South") are directly connected to the E terminal by a walkway. It is usually faster to walk from C South to E (especially the low E gates) than it is to take the train. Similarly, C North (C14-C27) are directly connected to the D terminal, though the Skyway is not really out of the way and is useful if going from a low C gate to a high D gate (C24 to D10, for example). Terminal A and Terminal B are not connected by any walkways, and you must use the Skyway to change to or from these terminals.

For international arrivals: after clearing customs, stay to the left of the baggage re-check belts and follow signs to exit to arrivals (like you're going to curbside). Once in the arrivals lobby, take the elevator or escalator up one floor to find a PreCheck checkpoint and a usually-less-crowded regular checkpoint. If you ignore this advice and proceed up the escalator behind the baggage re-check area, the transit security checkpoint there is often congested and does not have a separate PreCheck checkpoint.

While perhaps not usually recommended, in a pinch, with Global Entry, no checked bags, and PreCheck, it is possible to make a one-hour (or even slightly less) connection by following the above instructions specifically (on a good day, it can take less than 30 minutes from flight arrival to sitting in the Terminal E United Club, as one member reported in the thread). Without Global Entry and with checked luggage (which must be retrieved to go through customs and dropped back off after clearing customs), especially if you are a foreign resident, expect the immigration and customs process to take longer, so allow enough time accordingly. For UA-UA international-international connections (ITI), there is a special immigration line that usually moves pretty quickly, and your baggage will be checked through and does not need to be retrieved to go through customs. No need to collect checked luggage while transiting through IAH. [OneStop]

Again, do not follow signs for international connections up the escalator behind the baggage re-check area; exit to the arrivals waiting area and re-enter one floor above through normal airport security. A map follows for visual learners:

Terminal E arrivals level / departures level:



The marked elevator will spit you out literally directly in front of the PreCheck checkpoint.

Standard UA-UA MCT table for IAH:

Results from ExpertFlyer.com
Code:
Minimum Connect Times:
 Connecting at IAH
 Incoming airline UA
 Outgoing airline UA
 
 STANDARD.D/D...D/I...I/D...I/I.
 ONLINE .45 1.00 1.00 1.15
 OFFLINE .45 1.00 1.00 1.15
There are lots of exceptions, though, and some specific flights have as low as a 35-minute MCT, which is doable as mentioned above. IAH is a very efficiently designed airport, and you should not worry about what appears to be an abnormally low connection time; if UA says your connection is valid, it is almost certainly doable within the allotted time (notwithstanding delays, of course, and standard advice regarding allowing longer connections for mission-critical travel or travel on separate tickets still stands).

Houston Airport System maps:
Link to all maps
Airport overview map
Terminal E international arrivals map

Airport map, courtesy of United Airlines:
Map displays Star Alliance partners only; most non-Star Alliance airlines have domestic operations in Terminal A or international operations in Terminal D



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Old Aug 7, 15, 10:22 pm
  #1  
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Consolidated Connection time/logistics-Domestic & International at IAH

I'm thinking about traveling on Thanksgiving. I want to fly in from LGA to IAH on United and then connect to IAH to HNL but with only 35 minute connection time. Does it arrive and depart in the same terminal and is 35 min enough time?
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Old Aug 7, 15, 10:48 pm
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Originally Posted by currybai View Post
I'm thinking about traveling on Thanksgiving. I want to fly in from LGA to IAH on United and then connect to IAH to HNL but with only 35 minute connection time. Does it arrive and depart in the same terminal and is 35 min enough time?
Doable, if your inbound is on time and you're sitting close to the front. The nonstop to HNL usually goes out of Term E. Who knows what your inbound gate will be. It could change daily. Could be Term C or E.
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Old Aug 8, 15, 9:40 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by currybai View Post
I'm thinking about traveling on Thanksgiving. I want to fly in from LGA to IAH on United and then connect to IAH to HNL but with only 35 minute connection time. Does it arrive and depart in the same terminal and is 35 min enough time?
Somewhat risky, though if it's Turkey Day proper, there may be fewer pax.

Originally Posted by Kensterfly View Post
Doable, IF your inbound is on time and you're sitting close to the front. The nonstop to HNL usually goes out of Term E. Who knows what your inbound gate will be. It could change daily. Could be Term C or E.
IF being the key.

I've flown this route a few times over the years, and that flight NEVER came even close to leaving on time, but of course there are no guarantees.

I'd have a very good backup plan as that is a very busy travel season, and if you miss your connection ..... UA has an obligation to get you to your destination if LGA flight is late, and 35 minute connection is legal, but if all other planes are full ...
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Old Aug 8, 15, 10:11 am
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Further compounding the problem is that there is only one non-stop to HNL from IAH each day. Missing that connection would require a further connection somewhere.
There's a LGA connection through ORD but it's no better at 36 minute connection. Flying through DEN gives you almost three hours! Consider EWR where there are many more flights, including non-stops to HNL.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 5:19 pm
  #5  
 
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Question about connecting from IAH to CLL (College Station): Given that it's only 100 miles by car, is it even worth the hassle of connecting EWR-IAH-CLL-IAH-EWR, or should I just fly EWR-IAH-EWR, and take a car service to CLL? In one direction, my connection time is 1:40, and in the other, just over 1 hr. The relative cost of connecting by plane into CLL versus paying for a car service from IAH is not relevant to me: I'm only interested in thoughts about the relative convenience. (And if weather patterns are relevant: One of the trips is in late September and the other is in March.)
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Old Aug 9, 15, 5:26 pm
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A strong consideration is the time you land, or depart IAH relative to morning or afternoon rush hour. Houston traffic can be brutal. It would be worth it fly to CLL if it avoids rush hour traffic. Or... arrive IAH before 2:00 or so and depart IAH after 10:30 AM.

It will take you about two hours to drive College Station to IAH and vice versa. The flight is only about 25 minutes so your connection times are worth not driving it.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 5:41 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Kensterfly View Post
A strong consideration is the time you land, or depart IAH relative to morning or afternoon rush hour. Houston traffic can be brutal.
It can be, but Loop 8 generally moves pretty well, and that is the way to College Station. At least that's the way I'd drive there @:-)

Not a very scenic drive BTW.

Last edited by EmailKid; Aug 9, 15 at 6:08 pm Reason: Loop 12 is in Dallas
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Old Aug 9, 15, 6:02 pm
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Loop 12 is in Dallas.

Maybe you mean Beltway 8/Sam Houston Toll way. It can be very heavy most of the way from IAH to HWY 290 between 4:00 to about 6:00 or so. 290 W toward CLL is usually a parking lot in the afternoon between 4:30 and 6:30 or so for about ten miles once you get off of BW8.
BW8 to Tollway 249 then west might be a little better and is about ten miles shorter.

Morning traffic is bad from about 6:30 to 9:00 or after. Once you get onto BW8 in the morning it's usually not too bad unless there is an accident.

I drive 290 to BW8 to IAH and back many times each year.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 6:10 pm
  #9  
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Right you are, it's Loop 12 in Dallas.

Maybe I just drove it too early in the morning or too late at night, but never hit much traffic to/from IAH.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 6:11 pm
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
Question about connecting from IAH to CLL (College Station): Given that it's only 100 miles by car, is it even worth the hassle of connecting EWR-IAH-CLL-IAH-EWR, or should I just fly EWR-IAH-EWR, and take a car service to CLL? In one direction, my connection time is 1:40, and in the other, just over 1 hr. The relative cost of connecting by plane into CLL versus paying for a car service from IAH is not relevant to me: I'm only interested in thoughts about the relative convenience. (And if weather patterns are relevant: One of the trips is in late September and the other is in March.)
If you need to land in Houston between 3-6 pm then I would probably risk the flight, otherwise I'd drive.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 6:13 pm
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Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
Right you are, it's Loop 12 in Dallas.

Maybe I just drove it too early in the morning or too late at night, but never hit much traffic to/from IAH.
Once you get away from Houston it won't be bad. The getting away part is harder in the late afternoon.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 6:20 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by currybai View Post
I'm thinking about traveling on Thanksgiving. I want to fly in from LGA to IAH on United and then connect to IAH to HNL but with only 35 minute connection time. Does it arrive and depart in the same terminal and is 35 min enough time?
I would normally not recommend a 35 minute connection if coming from LGA or EWR or DCA unless you have a secondary option (e.g. onward to LAX and to HNL from there). Flights from LGA often arrive at Terminal E, and even if the flight arrives at Terminal C south it isn't too far of a walk. Terminal C north is a bit farther, but regardless it won't go to Termainal A or B as only regional jets and props use A & B for UA. All mainline UA flights arrive at and depart from C & E, which are connected.

On a very early morning departure you have a decent chance of making it. And you'll have several options via SFO and LAX if you don't make the connection (assuming they aren't sold out on the Holiday). Enjoy the Islands.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 6:24 pm
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Thank you all for the valuable insights on IAH-CLL versus driving! I will report back on what I decide to do.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 8:05 pm
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
Thank you all for the valuable insights on IAH-CLL versus driving! I will report back on what I decide to do.
I'm actually flying our of CLL via IAH to MEM this week. First time ever to fly out of CLL. I've looked at it a few times but usually the extra cost just can't be justified. However, this time the cost was virtually the same as if I originated at IAH. The drive from my house to the IAH parking lot can be up to 1:45 depending upon morning traffic. (1:15 is the very best it can be done.)

But, it's only about 45 minutes from my house to CLL. No rush hour traffic either way. I have about 45 minutes between flights at IAH-all in Terminal B. No crowds. Very few flights each day. It's a win for me.

Unfortunately, my next trip would cost about $150 more to fly out of CLL. Just can't justify that so I'll drive to IAH. But I'll try again in the future and if the cost is good, and the connection time isn't several hours, I'll probably give it another try.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 8:12 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Kensterfly View Post
Unfortunately, my next trip would cost about $150 more to fly out of CLL. Just can't justify that so I'll drive to IAH.
Gee, whatever happened to the hub penalty ..... er, nonstop premium
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