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Best United hub for TATL International transfers arrival / departure

Best United hub for TATL International transfers arrival / departure

Old Apr 5, 22, 8:08 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by omxfl View Post
My parents (both 70+ now) will be visiting the US again after a three-year hiatus and I'm debating which of these three airports (ORD, IAD, EWR - my only choices) are best for making a domestic connection (IND) when arriving from Germany on either UA or LH (Star Alliance for sure). Also, how much time is needed nowadays to pass through immigration and then go through security again? I tend to think two hours are enough, while being aware of notoriously delayed INTL flights.

I tend to use ORD myself as I know my way around there now. But I read that the new CT scanners at TSA checkpoints at some airports have caused delays.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
ORD and EWR are, in most cases, the same experience. You arrive at one terminal (ORD T5 or EWR Terminal B) and then take a train to go onward. There's a chance of that being avoided at EWR but only if inbound on UA and only if that flight happens to park at Terminal C (the bulk of UA's INTL arrivals are going to B now).

If IND is the final destination, I'd choose ORD as the flight options for the last leg are the greatest in case anything goes wrong along the way.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 8:10 am
  #47  
 
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Thank you both!

They don't have TSA pre-check but are good on foot. I think IAD seems to be the best option as UA flights are from the same terminal as international arrivals, so no dreaded bus, train etc. to a connecting terminal.

I definitely pick ORD during the winter as I had to take the bus once to get back to IND and that is certainly easier from ORD than EWR or IAD.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 5, 22 at 9:43 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Apr 5, 22, 8:13 am
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by omxfl View Post
Thank you both!

They don't have TSA pre-check but are good on foot. I think IAD seems to be the best option as UA flights are from the same terminal as international arrivals, so no dreaded bus, train etc. to a connecting terminal.
That's true but only if the IAD connection is UA to UA. It won't be the case if flying LH.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 9:36 am
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by omxfl View Post
I definitely pick ORD during the winter as I had to take the bus once to get back to IND and that is certainly easier from ORD than EWR or IAD.
Assuming your parents are German citizens, one idea is to have them apply for Global Entry so that their future trips will be smoother.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 9:42 am
  #50  
 
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Although you mention they are capable of walking ("good on foot"). IMhO, I would request wheelchairs. The attendant will get them where they need to be.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 9:48 am
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by jhayes_1780 View Post
Although you mention they are capable of walking ("good on foot"). IMhO, I would request wheelchairs. The attendant will get them where they need to be.
I think they would be offended.
But I had to request one some eight years ago when my back froze up during my return flight from Germany. It turned out to be a herniated disc... But I've never been through immigration etc. that fast again. Still, I'd rather wait in line than going though that ordeal again.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 10:11 am
  #52  
 
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While I agree that IAD is probably the best of the three, beware that the last time I did an I-D connection there in late February, immigration staffing at the midfield connections facility was abysmal. There were two staff processing non-US citizens and another two or three processing US citizens and permanent residents (no APC kiosks here).

I was on the ZRH flight, which was the second widebody in the 3pm bank (after GVA), and waited about 25 minutes after being one of the first off. Those on later flights (MUC, LHR, various Caribbean destinations) probably had at least an hour in line. Both citizen and non-citizen lines were moving at about the same glacial pace.

Not sure if the 2pm bank would be better--you have at least FRA, BRU, and CDG in addition to MEX and other Central American places--but it should give your parents an extra hour ahead of the 5pm bank of domestic connections (which I presume IND falls into).

My case might be a one-off. Even if it is the norm, it might not be a strong enough reason to avoid IAD, as the other two airports require terminal transfers for international arrivals (AFAIK most if not all TATLs are still arriving into B at EWR).
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Old Apr 5, 22, 10:17 am
  #53  
 
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IAD is probably the better option, but I would check on options to IND if they do happen to misconnect. I haven't researched, but feels like ORD would have better options if there is major irrops anywhere along the trip.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 10:23 am
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by JimInOhio View Post
ORD and EWR are, in most cases, the same experience. You arrive at one terminal (ORD T5 or EWR Terminal B) and then take a train to go onward. There's a chance of that being avoided at EWR but only if inbound on UA and only if that flight happens to park at Terminal C (the bulk of UA's INTL arrivals are going to B now).

If IND is the final destination, I'd choose ORD as the flight options for the last leg are the greatest in case anything goes wrong along the way.
Originally Posted by omxfl View Post
I definitely pick ORD during the winter as I had to take the bus once to get back to IND and that is certainly easier from ORD than EWR or IAD.
Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
IAD is probably the better option, but I would check on options to IND if they do happen to misconnect. I haven't researched, but feels like ORD would have better options if there is major irrops anywhere along the trip.
I spent a couple of years making regular trips to IND, and my experience was similar frequencies to/from each of ORD and IAD. That looks to be the case now as well. The main benefit for ORD is it's drive-able, or bus-able, if things really go sideways.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 10:24 am
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
IAD is probably the better option, but I would check on options to IND if they do happen to misconnect. I haven't researched, but feels like ORD would have better options if there is major irrops anywhere along the trip.
Yes, ORD has more frequent direct connections to IND. IAD has a late IND flight in case they would miss the 5 pm (or thereabouts) connection, if I go down that route (likely based on everyone's feedback).

I wish there was a site that captures all this information during booking. When I looked at flights I was offered, for example, an ORD-IND connection with slightly more than an hour between flights.? It's almost impossible to make this.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 10:28 am
  #56  
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I agree with those who are suggesting IAD. Personally, I will only enter the US anymore via ORD if I have no other option. The terminal transfer and having to re-clear security with everyone else is just too much of a pain and represents too much potential for headaches. Mid-field security at IAD is great, IMO!
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Old Apr 5, 22, 10:34 am
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If the TATL flight is on UA, I'd agree that IAD is probably best because they'll arrive/depart at the midfield terminal, no bus/train needed and shortest physical travel distance within the airport.

If the TATL flight is on LH, then IAD would require arrival into B terminal, a moon buggy ride to International Arrivals, then a train back to C/D. So any of the 3 airports would involve some sort of transfer between terminals. In that case I'd base the choice on which has the best options to reach IND in case of a misconnect.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 11:01 am
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by omxfl View Post
Yes, ORD has more frequent direct connections to IND. IAD has a late IND flight in case they would miss the 5 pm (or thereabouts) connection, if I go down that route (likely based on everyone's feedback).

I wish there was a site that captures all this information during booking. When I looked at flights I was offered, for example, an ORD-IND connection with slightly more than an hour between flights.? It's almost impossible to make this.
With no checked bags and Global Entry / Clear / PreCheck, I can get through arrival formalities very quickly. Less than an hour is routine.

There is such a wide range of possible experiences with International Arrivals, it is really key to know the particulars.
A passenger with foreign passport, no expedited status / memberships, and checked baggage can face a couple hours of arrival formalities.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 3:10 pm
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I have no data point at IAD, as I have never transited there, but no issues whatsoever at ORD or EWR. I have also done several ORD transfers on separate tickets, normally from AM to UA. AM usually have incredibly cheap J fare via MEX.
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Old Apr 5, 22, 3:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
I have no data point at IAD, as I have never transited there, but no issues whatsoever at ORD or EWR. I have also done several ORD transfers on separate tickets, normally from AM to UA. AM usually have incredibly cheap J fare via MEX.
Completely agree with you -- for most of us as experienced US travelers we have all been there / done that at these hubs -- but if my elderly, foreign living parents were flying alone into the US I would definitely stress about the best way to do it....
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