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Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

Indiana
posts: 82
reviews: 24
Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

I will be flying from Johannesburg on South African Airlines and arriving at JFK at 6:40am on a Saturday. I need to make my way from JFK to EVV via Delta or American (only two options from home airport - via Atlanta, Detroit, or Chicago). I do not wish to have a super long layover at JFK, as I want to get home. However, I do not want to book a ticket too close to the flight time and miss our connection. I am told I need at least 3 hours to clear customs, immigration, etc. The flight options out of JFK either get me home much later than I hoped or leave about 2 hours after I land, so I think the connection is too tight. And most of them have 2 connections between JFK and home...not something I want to do after a long flight.

I noticed there are a couple of nice flight options out of LGA to my home airport. If I were to book at ticket from LGA to home, how much time do you figure I need to allow to get to LGA from JFK? Is this something I can do reliably by taxi? Or would some sort of shuttle be more reliable and not dependant on traffic? There is a flight at 10am that only has 1 connection and puts me at home by 2:30pm, which would be ideal...but only allows me a little over 3 hours. Not sure if it is enough time to clear customs, immigration, and make my way over to LGA - go through security again, etc. Seems unlikely, but I wanted to ask those who fly into/out of LGA/JFK.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 24,638
reviews: 17
1. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

As someone who lives midway between the two airports I would NOT take a flight from LGA that departs 3 hours and 20 minutes later than a JFK arrival.

Let's break it down.

Land JFK at 6:40AM ( assuming landing is on time--it isn't always and this is a wheels on ground time, not an at gate, passengers disembarking time)

Be done with immigration by 7:40AM ( best case scenario-)

Wait for and get luggage --done by 8:10AM

Go through customs and not get stopped---8:15AM

Taxi to LGA ( do not use any shuttles) 8:45AM (no traffic--straight through--and no construction)

and with this best case scenario you are at LGA 1hour and 15 minutes before your departure.

However, there are 5 items that have to perfectly line up. I don't like the odds!

BTW one thing that would greatly help is to become a member of the Global Entry System. This cuts your immigration time to pretty much nothing!

Portland, Oregon
posts: 9,365
reviews: 38
2. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

I hope you're not thinking of traveling on 2 tickets?

Indiana
posts: 82
reviews: 24
3. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

Thank you. I'll keep looking at options. And yes, daawgon -- it will be two tickets. Not my preference, and I understand why it would be better if it was all one ticket. But I kept my SAA bookings together on 1 ticket from USA to South Africa, all my internal South Africa flights, as well as my return trip to the USA. Unfortunately, there was no way for me to connect SAA to and from my home airport. Our international departure from JFK is not an issue as we will be flying to NY the day before our international flight. It's just coming home that is offering me a bit of a challenge. I prefer not to stay overnight in NY again - as I will already be gone from home for 3 weeks and I am sure I will want to get on home. So I am just trying to figure out the best plan (with the understanding all flights aren't always on time and I may have to make some adjustments.) However, I want to make plans that at least have a 70% chance of being successful to decrease the odds of trying to figure it out on the fly. Thanks.

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 3,417
4. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

Could you change your SAA ticket to an open-jaw, returning to Washington Dulles instead of JFK? I can see several Delta flights from IAD to EVV (change in Atlanta) that would get you home in the early afternoon, with an ample period for border controls at IAD. (e.g. 3h 20m at IAD, 40 min. at ATL, in EVV at 12:25 PM.) Way better than the JFK-LGA transfer in the morning, and even though I dislike ATL I sure like it better than LGA.

Edited: 12:33 pm, July 23, 2013
Indiana
posts: 82
reviews: 24
5. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

I could - for $500. Or I can leave it as is and get home at 5pm (instead of 1pm or 2pm). I just wanted to ask and see if it was possible - or logical to taxi over to LGA and get home sooner. Since it isn't - then I'll just deal with a little later arrival. Not the end of the world :) and not worth $500 to me. Thanks!!

Fortaleza, CE
posts: 6,952
reviews: 348
6. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

I imagine you know that you'd have to get yourself and your bags to LGA and that if you miss the second flight you're s.o.l. (I don't know the equivalent in Afrikaan). You could end up having to buy a new ticket.

New York City, New...
posts: 5
7. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

Regarding South Africa to JFK, there are a ton of international flights that arrive into JFK in the morning. The customs/immigration line will be long and it may take you a while to get through (I believe you could need 2 hours on a bad day just for clearing customs/immigration). I do not think the cab ride from the airport to LGA will be much of an issue - you may want to consider reserving a "black car" with a driver who meets you so that you can just hop in it and go (taxi lines can be long - it's sort of a wild card).

LGA to JFK is easier since you will not need to worry about immigration. I find that outbound security at JFK is pretty quick (usually). If you are able to get a taxi quickly you could be at JFK in 45 minutes or less. But you never know about traffic, as referenced above.

No direct public transport between JFK and LGA except for buses (subway does NOT go to LGA), which will take you forever.

Edited: 4:45 pm, July 23, 2013
Jackson, Michigan
posts: 32
8. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

As already stated, a lot depends on timing. Last month, my wife and I arrived to JFK from LHR on AA. Full flight, and we were in row 38. Doors opened at 9:28 pm. We waited for most people to deplane, casually walked to immigration. We went through Global Entry, collected our luggage, went to the taxi stand, and were checking in at our hotel across from LGA at 10:40. So...timing, Global Entry, and a lot of luck!

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 24,638
reviews: 17
9. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

It is totally unfair to compare your experience with someone who does not have Global Entry. Global entry allows you to totally bypass the immigration lines.

You also seem to have come at a time when there was no construction on the Van Wyke. They sometimes do night construction and sometimes do weekend construction. It is an unknown variable.

Indiana
posts: 82
reviews: 24
10. Re: Arriving at JFK and connecting to flight in LGA. TIming???

I read up on Global Entry. There is no reason I wouldn't qualify. The problem would be doing the in person interview - as the locations are so far away. I couldn't find one but of info I was looking for. If I fill out the application - send in my $10" - and set an appointment for the interview - how long does it take (after the interview) to be approved, fingerprinted, etc? Does that happen at the interview? I thought perhaps if we set up our interview for the day we arrived in NY - if the approval was immediate and all that happened during the interview - perhaps we could be approved before our flight home. But I am guessing it doesn't work that way. That would be too easy:). Anyone who has GE who can tell me how that process works - I would appreciate it!