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United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

SW England
posts: 147
reviews: 6
United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

We are flying to San Jose, Costa Rica from the UK next month with UA. I have sorted out the ESTAs but am interested to know what the procedures will be for the transit and whether time will be tight.

Outbound Arrive Newark 16:05 on UA9

Depart Newark 17:54 UA1082

Return

Arrive Houston 17:44 UA1099

Depart Houston 19:20 UA004

Thank you for any help

Liverpool, UK
posts: 8,746
reviews: 13
1. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

In my opinion the connection time of less than 2 hrs in Newark is very tight - on arrival you will clear US immigration, collect bags, clear US customs, hand back bags to UA for your connecting flights and get to your departure gate which will probably require you to clear airport security.

I normally allow 3 hrs for an international to domestic connection although it can be done in less but you have little room for manouvre in case of any problems such as a delay to your flight to Newark or queues at immigration which could easily be 1hr.

Try to sit as near as possible to the front of the plane on your transatlantic flight to improve your chances.

The connection in Houston should be ok as you don't have immigration/customs but thats of little comfort if you miss the Newark to Houston flight.

SW England
posts: 147
reviews: 6
2. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

Thank you for the reply TomC

I did not explain the flights very clearly - they are all international.

Outbound - Heathrow to Newark and then Newark to San Jose in Costa Rica

Return - San Jose to Houston and then Houston to Heathrow

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 9,800
reviews: 195
3. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

You should not have to claim your bags for customs as they are checked through internationally. You will need to clear immigration in transit. I think the Newark connection is tight.

DC
posts: 1,353
reviews: 1
4. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

Please don't post answers if you don't know.

You will have to clear immigration and customs and then reclear security at EWR because it is your point of arrival in the US. I don't know if they do preclearance in San Jose (which is why I didn't post a reply earlier). If they do, then your arrival at IAH is treated as domestic and you just go to your depature gate. If they do not, then you have to do the whole immigration-customs-bag drop-reclear security thing at IAH.

Edited: 9:36 am, February 27, 2013
Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 4,983
5. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

San Jose does not have US Pre-Clearance.

cbp.gov/xp/…preclear_locations.xml

You will have to clear immigration/customs at IAH.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 8,746
reviews: 13
6. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

I don't know the process but Hoston is unique in that it offers a "one stop"service for in transit international passengers which should make it easier on the return flights.

http://www.fly2houston.com/OneStop

Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 4,983
7. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

Does the IAH One-Stop process allow you to bypass the TSA security check after customs? The main reason for the security check was that you had access to your checked luggage for customs, which could contain prohibited items for carry-on. It makes sense that if you didn't have checked luggage to access, or access to anyone else's checked luggage, you don't need another security screening. Of course the TSA does little that makes sense, and CPB does not specifically state there is no additional check.

Customs has usually taken less than a minute for me. Hand over the form and get waived on. I guess it would have prevented me with getting stuck behind the guy will a roller bag full of homemade cheese last time I got a random secondary, but don't see all that much of a time savings normally.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 14,995
reviews: 5
8. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

TomC97 is right.

The transit at Houston should be okay. As you're transiting Intl-Intl you will not need to claim your checked bags in order to clear Customs. You use the dedicated OneStop line at immigration, and the CBP officer there will do your customs check. The OneStop line is usually short; it's for Intl-Intl passengers and for those entering the US with carry ons only.

1hr50 at Newark however is risky, especially if you arrive at Concourse B and depart from Concourse C. I wouldn't want to risk 1hr50 and I'm a US citizen. See if it's possible to change to an earlier LHR-EWR, or better still fly to SJO via Houston.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 14,995
reviews: 5
9. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

>> Does the IAH One-Stop process allow you to bypass the TSA security check after customs? <<

No. As you are entering a secure area in the US for the first time, you have to clear security at IAH. OneStop gives you a faster immigration line and no need to wait for the bags on the carousel.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
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posts: 6,921
reviews: 77
10. Re: United Airlines - Procedures for transit at Newark & Houston

With the plethora of information above... USBT is correct. EWR connection requires baggage reclaim but IAH does not. Both require Immigration and Customs. I too would be somewhat concerned over the 1:50 time in EWR. You will likely have to keep it moving. Watch for the signs at IAH. The One-Stop lines are the very first ones as you enter the immigration hall. Don't worry about the people yelling at you to separate by citizenship. Just say "One-Stop" and they should point you to the line if you aren't already in it.