We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

Sydney
posts: 10
reviews: 3
How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

Travvelling from Sydney to LA, then to PV on a separate ticket...how much time to allow between flights?

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 3,441
1. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

A minimum of three hours and cross your fingers. What airlines?

Sydney
posts: 10
reviews: 3
2. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

Qantas to LA, haven't booked the rest yet, probably US airlines as they fit with my timeframe. I was planning on 3 hrs.

UK
posts: 40,775
reviews: 85
3. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

3 hours? No way ! That's the minimum I allow when on one ONE ticket. Separate tickets, I'd want 5 or 6 and perhaps longer, because if you miss, the entire cost of the missed flight is yours.

I think you also forgot about schedule changes between booking and the day, its been reported here before that one or both airlines changed their schedule after booking, and you end up with an impossible connection, sometimes even landing after the second flight departed.

I would allow for schedule changes, plus time for checkin/bag drop on second flight, plus terminal chnage, plus whatever time you deem prudent for a late arrival.

South Pole
posts: 15,408
reviews: 39
4. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

agree with #3.

min 3 hours for transfer on one ticket, 5 hours for separate tickets.

there is a terminal change for QF arrival to USAir departure and T1 is usually very busy.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 814
reviews: 53
5. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

I've done similar trips via LAX on 2 tickets. I've erred on the side of caution and gone with between 8 and 24 hours between flights. 24 hours isn't bad as you can stay 1 night and get over your jetlag right away and be fresh when you arrive in Mexico.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 9,609
reviews: 14
6. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

I simply wouldn't even consider it - whilst the cost of the LA to Puerto Vallarta flight is something you're prepared to stand if things go wrong think about the return journey.

If your flight back to LA is delayed/cancelled resulting in you missing the flight back to Sydney you are simply a no show leaving you in the position of having to buy what would probably be an expensive one way ticket to get home.

I have assumed you have a return flight from Sydney to LA.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 42,648
reviews: 57
7. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

Since you'll have a terminal change in LA you'll not only have to deal with immigration and customs but you'll have to get your luggage, go to the new terminal, check in again , and go through security again!

The fact that you'll be on 2 separate tickets makes it more complicated and so you need as much time as possible! 3hrs. is usually suggested when on 1 ticket so I'd leave more time on 2 separate ones.

Fortaleza, CE
posts: 7,028
reviews: 348
8. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

IF OP hasn't booked either flight yet, it could be on one itinerary (i.e. "one ticket" or "two tickets purchased together").

Liverpool, UK
posts: 9,609
reviews: 14
9. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

Sutter

See post #2 - OP has already booked the Sydney to LA flights but not the rest.

Sydney
posts: 10
reviews: 3
10. Re: How long 2 clear US customs in LA enroute to Puerto Vallarta

Hi everyone

Thanks for all your well-considered responses which included some things I hadn't thought of...like missing a flight. I have travelled many times between Sydney and Vancouver (my place of birth) via LA but always on one ticket. This time I'm using frequent flyer points for the trip to LA, then paying for the rest to PV and same on the reverse trip. I've never spent more than 3 hours (or even close to it) going through customs on one ticket but I can see that 2 tickets is more problematic. I just hate LAX and want to minimize my time there and make the most of my holiday time.