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conections across the USA

posts: 57
reviews: 1
conections across the USA

Hoping for a sense check on the range of flight options available to me. I am planning to book a flight from London to Anchorage for February. But of the various options I am trying to understand the connections and the times.

So far I have as the first airport.

1hr 10min in either Newark or Houston.

2hrs 30min in Los Angeles.

2hrs 35 in Chicago.

3hrs 20mins in Houston

After that there are subsequent connections in either Denver or Seattle of 40mins to 1hr 30mins.

I am a bit worried that the times are a bit tight given possible weather at that time of year.

The other possible option would be 2hrs 15mins in Toronto followed by 1:10 in Seattle, if I did this, would this mean that I had to do the immigration and bag collection in Seattle (I guess this may be a quieter airport than say LAX).

Toronto, Canada
posts: 5,526
reviews: 33
1. Re: conections across the USA

Re the Toronto routing...you would actually clear US immigration in Toronto (they have pre clearance). Not sure 2:15 gives you enough time for that.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 12,323
reviews: 181
2. Re: conections across the USA

I personally like 90 minutes connection time in most US airports where I fly, BUT I've gotten by with 20-90 minutes depending on each individual situation, and done just fine.

Fort Lauderdale...
posts: 6,795
reviews: 130
3. Re: conections across the USA

Weather would be the last thing Id worry about. Id leave myself enough time to clear US Immigration and Customs. After that Id do my best to limit the number of connections.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 11,707
reviews: 23
4. Re: conections across the USA

I try to minimise the number of connections to reduce the possibility of missed connections/lost bags etc.

I searched on matrix and found a number of 1 stop options that you might wish to consider, for example

Delta - LHR to Anchorage via Minneapolis.

BA/Alaska Airlines - LHR to Anchorage via Seattle

You can search here for your options on that route


I would recommend allowing 3 hours to connect in the US on your outbound flights to give you a chance of completing the immigration/customs processes in time to make the connecting flight.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 46,612
reviews: 61
5. Re: conections across the USA

The first airport in which you arrive in the USA is where you go through immigration and customs.

That can take quite a while!

You don't tell us the airlines involved. In some USA airports like LAX you might have to change terminals to get your 2nd flight and that MIGHT involve going outside of security(depending on the airlines) . IF that is the case we usually recommend a 3hr. time span between flights to allow time for the 2nd security screening.

In winter I'd rather fly through LAX or Houston.

Fortaleza, CE
posts: 8,052
reviews: 378
6. Re: conections across the USA

1 hr. 10 mins. certainly not enough time to clear Immigration and Customs at IAH (or almost anywhere), but, according to Expedia, UA has options with longer layovers at IAH before continuing on to Seattle and then Anchorage. Also saw BA non-stop to Seattle, with 3 1/2 hours there until an Alaska Airlines non-stop to ANC. I think I'd rather avoid ORD or MPS in winter, but have limited experience at either at that time of year.

What airline(s) would be involve transiting LAX? As noted above, what terminals you'd use can make a big difference at LAX. If you go through Immigration and Customs there you'd definitely have to leave the secure zone and go through security to get to your domestic flight to continue onward, but that may be in the same building, next door, or across the airport (there is a free shuttle; lots of terminal maps for LAX available online).

Edited: 10:00 am, May 09, 2013
posts: 57
reviews: 1
7. Re: conections across the USA

Thank you everyone for your sugesstions. The details on terminals I have are:

1hr 10min in either Newark or Houston.

Houston - Lufthansa in to terminal E (16:20) and United out of terminal C (17:30)

Newark – United in to terminal C (13:35) and United out of terminal C (14:45)

2hrs 50min in Los Angeles.

United in at 13:50 terminal 6 and United out of terminal 8 at 16:40

2hrs 15 in Chicago.

United in at 15:10 terminal 5 and United out of terminal 1 at 17:25

3hrs 20mins in Houston (unfortunately the expedia website is not showing the terminals)


Economy / Coach Class ( K), Boeing 767-300

Depart 09:20 Arrive 14:05

Duration: 10h 45m

Stopover: Houston (IAH) 3h 25m

Houston (IAH) to Seattle (SEA)


Economy / Coach Class ( K), Boeing 737-800

2hrs 15mins in Toronto

United into terminal 1 at 15:10 and United out of terminal 1 at 17:25

Did have a look at the one stop BA flight but it slightly beyond my budget, but guess if I get a flight back at night then I will need a night's less hotel.

Will have a look at the Delta option, completey forgot about them.


Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 26,918
reviews: 18
8. Re: conections across the USA

I urge you to leave as much time as possible to connect, especially coming from an international flight.

I came into JFK on Wed. AM. They handed out "short connect" tickets to those with short connections. These allow you to cut the immigration line--but I do not know how much time it saves with dozens being handed out. It was comical ( to me, not to the participants) to watch people literally running through the terminal to get to immigration and make their connection.

Of course, all that running is meaningless when for some reason the baggage took longer than usual to start coming out. I fly business, I use Global Entry and stood a good 15 minutes waiting for the first baggage to arrive. Moral of story: you'd rather hang out at an airport than miss your flight.

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 20,483
9. Re: conections across the USA

I'd absolutely take the LAX or longer Houston routing of your options. You have to consider not only making your first connection, but your second. And weather should not be ignored, especially in February. So: 1:10 is not enough time for Newark, even if the weather were perfect, so don't do that one. Avoid Chicago in February. Choose between the rest of them, but I'd opt for the longer connection in Houston.

San Francisco
posts: 130
reviews: 74
10. Re: conections across the USA

Los Angeles international airport is a pain. You have to exit security and reenter again if you go through another terminal. There is a shuttle that goes to various terminals but it was quicker running through the parking lot under the palm trees.