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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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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



Archive posts - Consolidated Connection time/logistics-Domestic & International at IAH [ARCHIVE]
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Old Aug 21, 22, 5:56 pm
  #976  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: IAH
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Originally Posted by BirdLawyer View Post
C was per the note in the wiki that it is generally fastest, but I also was mixed up thinking KLM and centurion were there.

Really I need to know time from D to A. My mistake.
If you take the Skyway train inside security the time from terminal A to terminals D/E is ~5 minutes according to the site below.
If you take the Disney train outside security (in basement) the time between stations is 3 minutes. I too would recommend doing security at A, if thats still a question.
https://www.fly2houston.com/iah/inte...transportation
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Old Aug 28, 22, 7:17 pm
  #977  
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
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Hi guys, new here and would really appreciate any suggestions - my little sister is flying AKL to IAH with Air NZ, with a 3 hour layover before jumping on a UA connection to meet us in BOS. She's travelling solo for the first time, and is nervous about how to navigate her way around IAH from International arrivals through to immigration, then across to her UA flight at C. No checked baggage. I haven't gone via IAH before, so can't give her the lowdown!
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Old Aug 28, 22, 8:23 pm
  #978  
 
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Originally Posted by DisneyboundNZ View Post
Hi guys, new here and would really appreciate any suggestions - my little sister is flying AKL to IAH with Air NZ, with a 3 hour layover before jumping on a UA connection to meet us in BOS. She's travelling solo for the first time, and is nervous about how to navigate her way around IAH from International arrivals through to immigration, then across to her UA flight at C. No checked baggage. I haven't gone via IAH before, so can't give her the lowdown!
This may be helpful:

https://www.fly2houston.com/iah/international-travel

Note the section on OneStop since she won't have any checked luggage.
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Old Aug 28, 22, 9:03 pm
  #979  
Moderator: Budget Travel forum & Credit Card Programs, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
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Originally Posted by DisneyboundNZ View Post
...
She's travelling solo for the first time, and is nervous about how to navigate her way around IAH from International arrivals through to immigration, then across to her UA flight at C. No checked baggage. I haven't gone via IAH before, so can't give her the lowdown!
With three hours and command of the English language, easy peasy

Answer above mine gives good info, otherwise I just say to follow the signs. Just have to reclear security after exiting Immigration / Customs, but with three hours that should be plenty of time.
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Old Sep 20, 22, 2:42 pm
  #980  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Programs: HH Dia, UA 1K, Marriott Platinum Premier
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Intl to Domestic @ IAH - regular security still the fastest?

Havent done I to D at IAH in some time. My flight from SJD arrives 4:30 pm today into term E, need to clear CBP and then connecting to term B. With construction at term E is the fastest route to exit CBP and take landside train to term B? Or suck it up and clear at the international non-precheck secuity?
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Old Sep 20, 22, 3:29 pm
  #981  
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Originally Posted by traveling bijorn View Post
Havent done I to D at IAH in some time. My flight from SJD arrives 4:30 pm today into term E, need to clear CBP and then connecting to term B. With construction at term E is the fastest route to exit CBP and take landside train to term B? Or suck it up and clear at the international non-precheck secuity?
I'd exit CBP and take the train or walk and enter at C where both TSA Pre and Clear exist and should be pen.
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Old Sep 20, 22, 5:51 pm
  #982  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: IAH
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Just FYI if you’re arriving E and ending your travel at IAH, the pickup area at E arrivals is crazy. Arrived at E from an international flight last night (around 7:30-8pm) and I wish I had "stuck to my guns" and taken the elevator down to the walkway and walked over to terminal D drop off area. Waiting outside in 100% humidity and 85 degrees, not pleasant and with a hundred and more people standing together in a small area. Cops were doing their best to keep the traffic flowing, etc., so kudos to them.
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Old Sep 22, 22, 6:50 am
  #983  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Originally Posted by traveling bijorn View Post
Havent done I to D at IAH in some time. My flight from SJD arrives 4:30 pm today into term E, need to clear CBP and then connecting to term B. With construction at term E is the fastest route to exit CBP and take landside train to term B? Or suck it up and clear at the international non-precheck secuity?
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
I'd exit CBP and take the train or walk and enter at C where both TSA Pre and Clear exist and should be pen.
UPDATE: cleared CBP and exited to the left for local exit (a right turn would take you to baggage drop for connecting flights). Exited out and took the stairs down to the landside people mover and traversed to terminal B, three stops down. The term B security had its usual Clear/Precheck and standard lines open with no one waiting in either lane. Super easy and completely avoided the international security checkpoint.
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Old Today, 12:53 pm
  #984  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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My sister and partner have booked LHR-IAH-LIR (Liberia, Costa Rica) in November and unfortunately didnt ask me for advice before they booked. Their connection is 1h40m and are now concerned after I mentioned the customs/security aspect of transiting airports in the US.

Any thoughts on their chances of making it, and how to increase the likelihood? This is presuming that the LHR-IAH is on time of course.

Theyre UK passport holders, without Global Entry. Just an ESTA. And they will have hold luggage.

Thank you!
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Old Today, 1:52 pm
  #985  
 
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Originally Posted by AllTheNines View Post
My sister and partner have booked LHR-IAH-LIR (Liberia, Costa Rica) in November and unfortunately didnt ask me for advice before they booked. Their connection is 1h40m and are now concerned after I mentioned the customs/security aspect of transiting airports in the US.

Any thoughts on their chances of making it, and how to increase the likelihood? This is presuming that the LHR-IAH is on time of course.

Theyre UK passport holders, without Global Entry. Just an ESTA. And they will have hold luggage.

Thank you!
Theyll have to go through US immigration but their luggage should go straight to LIR without them having to claim and drop off post-customs. One of the rare US airports where this is possible. Ill let others chime in on the connection time but you can get an idea on the website awt.cbp.gov
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Old Today, 1:53 pm
  #986  
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Originally Posted by AllTheNines View Post
....
Any thoughts on their chances of making it, and how to increase the likelihood? This is presuming that the LHR-IAH is on time of course.

Theyre UK passport holders, without Global Entry. Just an ESTA. And they will have hold luggage.

Thank you!
I would say that without GE it would be a little tight (but likely doable), and with GE (and UK passports) it should be relatively easy IMHO.

And most schedules are somewhat padded to increase chances of "on time arrival" in case things go a little sideways
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