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Two hour International layover at BWI

Rochester, NY
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
posts: 3,027
reviews: 50
Two hour International layover at BWI

I have flown through BWI before, but am having a hard time remembering it. I think it is large, and a long distance from one side to the other. I might book an Airtran/Southwest flight from Montego Bay, and would have a little less than two hours to go through Customs, Immigration, and get my bags, and re-check them (I think at BWI you have to go to the ticket counter to re-check, right?) Do you think it's enough time?

Liverpool, UK
posts: 8,920
reviews: 13
1. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

If you are on a single ticket there shouldn't be a need to recheck bags but you will need to collect them before customs and hand them back to the airline just after clearing customs.

Separate tickets will be different and you should assume you'll need to check in again - I would allow a minimum of 2 hours, preferably 3, for a connection on a single ticket and a lot longer for separate tickets.

Rochester, NY
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
posts: 3,027
reviews: 50
2. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

I'm sorry to sound dumb, but what do you mean by single ticket and seperate ticket? We will be flying fom MBJ, and have a connection in Baltimore to fly home the same day. We have just about two hours in between. Both flights are Airtran/Southwest.

I know there is normally a place to hand off your checked bags right after Customs, but there is some airport (I thought it was BWI) where you had to bring your luggage to your airline's ticket counter. It was strange. We had never done that anywhere else.

Italy
Destination Expert
for Livigno, Lombardy
posts: 39,066
reviews: 125
3. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

Tom means if you book a through ticket to the destination or if you book 2 separate flights with different airlines to the destination.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 41,574
reviews: 57
4. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

The 2 folks who answered your question thought that because you mentioned 2 airlines that you were buying 2 separate tickets. They did not realize that AirTran and Southwest are merging and that although operating separately at the moment your ticket will be one complete itinerary and not 2 separate tickets.

Perhaps ask on the Baltimore forum about the specific operation at BWI if you don't get an answer on here.

I have not done an international connection there.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 7,637
reviews: 53
5. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

I'm trying to think back to my arrival at BWI a couple of months ago but I don't recall a recheck belt for bags after customs and I'm almost positive that after customs you are dumped landside, as you are at a lot of US airports after arriving off an international flight. I was terminating at BWI.

BWI doesn't have much international traffic and the international terminal is at one end of the group of concourses compared to the domestic traffic but the terminals are close together.

Edited: 9:28 am, June 19, 2013
Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
posts: 33,712
reviews: 49
6. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

There is no "recheck" desk at BWI. OP2002 has it right.

You'll need to walk your bags from Concourse E where the arriving international flights come in, all the way down to Concourse A where you check your bag in again at the Southwest/AirTrain counters.

bwiairport.com/files/…UL5-30-13.pdf

baltimore
posts: 2,110
reviews: 51
7. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

There isn't another bag check. They will be checked all the way thru. Bwi isn't really that big. I can walk from one side to another in 7-9 mins. This is my home airport and it is easy to navigate

Rochester, NY
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
posts: 3,027
reviews: 50
8. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

Thank you Irishfan and OP2002. I am thinking of the correct airport then. Typically there is a bag recheck right near the international area, but I remember having to take our luggage to the ticket counter there.

Sorry for the confusion regarding Airtran/Southwest. I am booking it all through Airtran, but since they're merging, I have both types of flights.

Airtran/Southwest is listed on concourse A and C. I assume there will be a flight departure screen for me to look at outside of the international terminal?

@Jiffer, I remember BWI being fairly large. Do you mean you can walk from one end to the other in 7 minutes where the ticket counters are? And we have to re-check our bags because when you go international, you need to pick them up and re-drop them off.

So, do you guys think two hours will be enough? Our connection will be around 7pm. Think the security lines will be ok? And do I have to wait in line to re-check my bags, or is there a drop off at the Southwest counter? We must have gotten lucky before beacuse there was no line.

Edited: 12:56 pm, June 19, 2013
Rochester, NY
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
posts: 3,027
reviews: 50
9. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

Any thoughts on my last post? Trying to decide for sure whether I should book it. Thanks!

baltimore
posts: 2,110
reviews: 51
10. Re: Two hour International layover at BWI

I can usually walk from the ticket counter and to my gate within 7-10 min. I can easily walk the whole length in front of the ticket counters in 5 min. Granted I am a fast walker. I don't think you would have any problem walking from the check in to the gate in 10 min or so. I find BWI one of the medium/smaller airports. You don't need a shuttle to get from one side to another. I fly internationally from that airport often and they will usually land at pier D for the immigration and customs. Then the walk from there to the ticket counters upstairs is about 5 min.