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Consolidated IAH connection time/logistics-Domestic & International

Consolidated IAH connection time/logistics-Domestic & International

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Old Jul 22, 22, 10:39 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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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 Jul 22, 22, 11:27 am
  #961  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Programs: AA Gold
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Thanks. Will keep fingers crossed for no arrival delay into Houson!
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luvthesun is offline  
Old Jul 22, 22, 2:49 pm
  #962  
 
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I wouldn't count on gates for those flights being the same in October- let alone tomorrow- at IAH.

I've checked in to a flight and had my IAH gate change 3x before going to the airport. As long as you're not on express, United seems to use C and E fairly interchangeably for domestic flights (generally in E if the plane came in from an international destination)
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Old Jul 23, 22, 3:30 am
  #963  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 7
Preferred Check-In for UA Departure from Terminal E

UA IAH-LHR in the next few days; planning on visiting lounge near E12. Flightaware currently shows inbound flight (before our flight) as arriving in terminal E, so I guess we have a shot at a terminal E departure.

1. 1 checked bag; CLEAR, Pre-Check, Premier Access; which check-in should we expect UA to route us to (or which should we pick)? I thought I read on another thread that D is preferable. Based on a map recon, C seems acceptable, but interested in your thoughts.

2. Either way, can we walk from the security checkpoints at C and D to E? I wasn't sure if the construction is affecting these walkways. The "interactive" map on the IAH website insists on putting me on the train (but I also noted that the Wiki indicates that the southern C gates are connected to E).

When I went IAH-DCA in May, I recall being dropped off at C (no checked bag) and walking to the lounges in D/E, but I also remember a lot of construction and poor signage/wayfinding (or maybe my nav skills were offline that day).

Thank you very much.
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Old Jul 23, 22, 7:02 am
  #964  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Catania, Sicily/South Jersey (PHL)/Houston, Texas/airborne in-between
Programs: United Global Svcs, AA ExecPlat, WN RR, AZ(RIP) Freccia Alata+, Hilton Gold, Bonvoy Gold, Hertz Prez
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Originally Posted by walshtex View Post
UA IAH-LHR in the next few days; planning on visiting lounge near E12. Flightaware currently shows inbound flight (before our flight) as arriving in terminal E, so I guess we have a shot at a terminal E departure.

1. 1 checked bag; CLEAR, Pre-Check, Premier Access; which check-in should we expect UA to route us to (or which should we pick)? I thought I read on another thread that D is preferable. Based on a map recon, C seems acceptable, but interested in your thoughts.

2. Either way, can we walk from the security checkpoints at C and D to E? I wasn't sure if the construction is affecting these walkways. The "interactive" map on the IAH website insists on putting me on the train (but I also noted that the Wiki indicates that the southern C gates are connected to E).

When I went IAH-DCA in May, I recall being dropped off at C (no checked bag) and walking to the lounges in D/E, but I also remember a lot of construction and poor signage/wayfinding (or maybe my nav skills were offline that day).

Thank you very much.
All the terminals but A are connected so you can actually walk between BCDE (that said from B I would take the train). From C checkin the walk to E is not horrible so no need to take the elevated train. I do that walk often as I prefer to use the Global Services entrance at C. You could use D also and walk over to E clubs easily enough but no Clear and not sure about UA priority (I have not used D securiry in a while). United is using more gates in D right now. Odds are the LHR flight will be out of one of the end gates in the E fingers so the UA club and Polaris lounge in E is easily doable to any E gate. If they use D gates for your flight it is a straight shot out of E club area across the connector past the diner and trains station to D. Sometimes they board a little early to test/use the biometric face scan boarding or due to targeted CBP outbound enforcement (normally searching for cash).

There are also UA clubs in C north and south and AMEX cent lounge and priority pass lounges in D FWIW. I don't use clear with my GE and preC, but I have seen the stations at A B C but not in D.

I always park right at the terminal due to it being free with my car tags but friends have told me the surface parking lot shuttles have special lanes to get through the traffic to drop right at the terminal. Parking and day and time are all factors at IAH BCE terms right now due to the construction. Thursday and Friday afternoons can get pretty bad for traffic at those areas so plan accordingly.

Last edited by FlyingHoustonian; Jul 23, 22 at 7:19 am
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Old Jul 23, 22, 9:10 am
  #965  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
Thursday and Friday afternoons can get pretty bad for traffic at those areas so plan accordingly.
I dropped off some passengers at C departures last Friday 7/15 at 4:30 pm. To my complete surprise, there was zero traffic at the airport. I pulled straight up the ramp and into a drop-off space right at the doors. No lines before or after the construction barrels at the big merge, never had to brake before the terminal. The terminal looked proportionally empty as well, and the pax reported a quick check-in and security experience as well.
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Old Jul 23, 22, 11:55 am
  #966  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Originally Posted by YadiMolina View Post
I dropped off some passengers at C departures last Friday 7/15 at 4:30 pm. To my complete surprise, there was zero traffic at the airport. I pulled straight up the ramp and into a drop-off space right at the doors. No lines before or after the construction barrels at the big merge, never had to brake before the terminal. The terminal looked proportionally empty as well, and the pax reported a quick check-in and security experience as well.
Glad to hear that. I've gotten stuck in the jam from JFK to curve around to CDE and had it take forever. I've just been parking at AB on Fridays lately so will definitely check it out when I have time. Having multiple friends and colleagues miss flights recently I was cautious. Hopefully it stays relatively open as I heard HAS was trying to reflow traffic a. It to help with the pain.
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Old Jul 25, 22, 3:53 pm
  #967  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 7
Thank you, FT friends, for the guidance. Drop-off at C, Premier check-in, and Pre-Check on Sunday 24 July at 1145 were all painless. No wait of any kind. Our walk to lounge near E-12 was pleasant (glad we didn't take the train). We arrived earlier than we needed to in order to have some extra time in the Polaris Lounge; glad we did - became busy (but not untolerable) around 1430.

Last edited by walshtex; Jul 25, 22 at 4:01 pm
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Old Jul 28, 22, 7:26 am
  #968  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: HSV
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Would you keep this

Would you keep this schedule change. Coming form express to mainline at dinner rush time

the connection to phx was originally leaving at 7:58 but has changed.

Looks like my best option
if I change is leaving earlier with a 48 min layover around noon . Iím tempted to change since I have a work conference the next morning so leaving earlier would mean still have later flights if I miss the 48 min layover


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Old Jul 28, 22, 7:55 am
  #969  
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Originally Posted by COEWR2587 View Post
if I change is leaving earlier with a 48 min layover around noon . Iím tempted to change since I have a work conference the next morning so leaving earlier would mean still have later flights if I miss the 48 min layover
Given the impact of missing the flight, I'd probably change to the earlier one.

I've booked, and made, similar connections at IAH before. However, CommutAir is almost certainly coming in at B terminal, and the PHX flight could be as far away as E. That means getting to the train and quite a bit of walking. If your flights are on time, you'd make it easily. But if there's even a 15-minute arrival delay, things could get dicey.
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