LAX International Arrival & CBP clearance @TBIT

 
Old Nov 8, 08, 8:38 am
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UA LAX T7/T6 immigation/customs operating hours?

Has this happened to anyone else?

The other day I flew LHR-LAX on the UA935.

Rather than the usual arrivals procedure, all passengers had to walk down two flights of stairs to waiting buses. Once we were loaded on to the buses we were taken to the Bradley International Terminal for customs clearance.

No announcements were made either on the plane, on the bus or in the Bradley terminal, to explain that we were going to the Bradley terminal instead of the usual T7 for customs clearance.

I thought this was unusual so I found the LAX service director for UA and asked her what was going on.

She says that there is a gap of several hours between morning flights coming into T7 and the 935, which lands at ~2:30pm. So UA can't justify keeping people sitting around, and has instead decided to shift the arrival of this flight to the Bradley Terminal.

That's understandable, but this does create a few issues for passengers:

* If you have a large carry-on, a bum knee etc the stairs are a problem.

* UA apparently does not have a desk or even a computer in the Bradley terminal. So if your bag is lost or if there are any problems there is no way to track it or make a report. And if your flight is late, there is no customer service personnel to help re-book you.

* T2 arrivals in in the basement with no phone reception -- even some UA radios were not working, so UA people could not communicate with each other -- so if your bag does not make the flight you can't call the UA bag desk (which has often been helpful to me when I've had problems at LAX arrivals)

* Although it's always nice to stretch your leg after 11 hours on an airplane, The Bradley Terminal is a long way from T7 for people with connections, especially if they are tight.

* The Bradley Terminal is a lot busier, with flights landing from all over the place. As a result, there are significantly longer lines for both immigration and customs, and bags take longer to arrive on the belt

* On a more subjective note, The Bradley Terminal is kind of a dump and it's not well sign-posted.

Fortunately for me, my flight was on time and I made it through Bradley and to my connection with only about a 35 minute delay compared to the usual routine, so I was OK. But if the circumstances had been different there could have been a lot of problems.

Last edited by SD-Flyer; Nov 8, 08 at 9:51 am Reason: clarification
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Old Nov 8, 08, 8:56 am
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Wait, did you go to the Bradley Terminal (not numbered in the T1-T8 scheme, but sitting between T3 and T4), or to Terminal 2 (where I believe NZ and maybe AF fly)?
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Old Nov 8, 08, 8:56 am
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Happened to me flying UA 905 FRA-LAX last month. It was announced that we would be shuttling over to TBIT. Pretty much given the same reasoning.
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Old Nov 8, 08, 9:01 am
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AFAIK, T2 is where AC, NZ, NW and others come in, right after T1 (US, SW). Did you really arrive at T2 or Bradley (in between T3 & T4)?

UA used Bradley for arrivals on the recently cancelled FRA arrival because it arrived late in the day. Now it seems that they are doing the same thing with LHR.

Isn't it fun being the ugly step child?
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Old Nov 8, 08, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by ElmhurstNick View Post
Wait, did you go to the Bradley Terminal (not numbered in the T1-T8 scheme, but sitting between T3 and T4), or to Terminal 2 (where I believe NZ and maybe AF fly)?
Sorry it was Bradley, not T2. I have corrected original post.
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Old Nov 8, 08, 10:05 am
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As many here know too well, the UA MEX flight (when it was still around) followed this procedure to bus everyone to the TB terminal for years and years. It was never a pleasant experience.

Yet I'd deal with TB any day just to get that flight back. There's a Saturday only flight now, but since it arrives in the morning, I'm assuming it goes through the UA facility at T7 now.
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Old Nov 8, 08, 10:06 am
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Yes, it's normal and has been going on for awhile. I have done it on the same flight before.

It's not ideal but it's never caused me any issues. TBIT has always been very empty when I've come in during those times (only a few data points though).
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Old Nov 8, 08, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by SD-Flyer View Post

* UA apparently does not have a desk or even a computer in the Bradley terminal. So if your bag is lost or if there are any problems there is no way to track it or make a report. And if your flight is late, there is no customer service personnel to help re-book you.
Can this really be the case? (I don't know one way or the other, just asking.) If so, what would that mean to someone connecting on in LAX with checked bags -- say, LHR-LAX-HNL or LHR-LAX-SAN? Do they have to lug all of their checked luggage from TBIT and walk down to T7?

Agreed this is a big inconvenience. I flew the FRA-LAX flight before it was cancelled and the shuttle bus thing was a headache.
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Old Nov 8, 08, 12:59 pm
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Sounds like a big pain in the you-know-where. I see on the UA web site that today's arrival of 935 shows Term. 7, gate 74. I wonder if this is correct?
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Old Nov 8, 08, 1:06 pm
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I think it actually has to do with the immigration and customs officers, and UA not paying them for one remaining flight. UA personnel are around regardless of which terminal. But ICE people are there primarily in the AM for arriving Asia flights. If the LHR flight is late they do switch to TBIT.
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Old Nov 8, 08, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by flyinbob View Post
If the LHR flight is late they do switch to TBIT.
I think what the OP is saying (based on the conversation with the LAX service director) is that the LHR flight is now always bussed to TBIT, even if it's on time.

If true, only the morning NRT, SYD and MEX arrivals would use T7 immigration and customs.
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Old Nov 8, 08, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by flyinbob View Post
I think it actually has to do with the immigration and customs officers, and UA not paying them for one remaining flight. UA personnel are around regardless of which terminal. But ICE people are there primarily in the AM for arriving Asia flights. If the LHR flight is late they do switch to TBIT.
That sounds like a more plausable explanation: ICE is the one who doesn't want to pay people to hang around and they care far less about giving pax a hard time.
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Old Nov 8, 08, 1:56 pm
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My biggest complaint about this process is that as they cram us onto the bus for transport to Bradley, it removes any of the experience from business or first class travel. They have the busses wait until filled with all classes of service and if you are the 1st off the plane, you may end up last in the customs line since they pack everyone in. Baggage delivery also seems to loose it'r priority when shifted to TBIT, so even longer waiting for premier customers vs T7.
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Old Nov 8, 08, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by twoaisleplane View Post
I think what the OP is saying (based on the conversation with the LAX service director) is that the LHR flight is now always bussed to TBIT, even if it's on time.

If true, only the morning NRT, SYD and MEX arrivals would use T7 immigration and customs.
I wonder how long before they figure it isn't worth the cost for just 3 flights?
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Old Nov 8, 08, 4:02 pm
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Everytime when I arrive from FRA it's the same procedure

What annoys me even more: Then they should pay for a gate at TBIT !

The shutteling in busses in not acceptable as a permanent solution. That said the flight will be cancelled anyways soon.

The issues as mentioned above: No UA computers, connections only after a bus ride to T6/7, baggage and customs delays

Makes it pretty pointless to fly UA now. It's very inconvenient and one is better off with the Lufthansa flight.
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