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Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

London, United...
Level Contributor
231 posts
Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

I've booked a return flight from London to LV with lastminute.com and will be flying the whole way with Delta, with a stop in another city to change flights.

On the way there, I will be twiddling my thumbs for just under 2 hours at Atlanta airport and about 50 minutes in Minneapolis on the way back.

Will my luggage be moved to the connecting flights or will I need to collect and go through all the hassle of collecting bags/whatever as the 50 minutes in Minneapolis seems rather short to be doing anything other than rushing straight towards the departure gate of the next flight!

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
21,823 posts
1. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

You have to collect your luggage to go through immigration and customs at your first stop in the US, ie Atlanta. Your luggage should be checked through on your way out, ie MSP.

London, United...
Level Contributor
231 posts
2. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

Is there a special route to get through customs when getting off at Atlanta when connecting flights? Or would I need to fight through with everyone else who is flying in to Atlanta on the day too?

Surely the 2 hours that Delta give is enough time to do all that and make the connecting flight, right?

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
Level Contributor
10,683 posts
85 reviews
3. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

2 hours at ATL ought to be enough but I wouldn't take anything shorter. Here's a summary of the customs and immigration process at ATL:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60898-c123635/Atlant…

London, United...
Level Contributor
231 posts
4. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

Very useful article, thanks.

Norfolk England
Level Contributor
5,822 posts
83 reviews
5. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

Hi

From my experience on landing in the USA, including Atlanta, most of your time will be spent waiting in line for immigration. Expect at least an hour give or take.

Clive

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
46,346 posts
50 reviews
6. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

"On the way there, I will be twiddling my thumbs for just under 2 hours at Atlanta airport and about 50 minutes in Minneapolis on the way back."

You won't have time for any thumb twiddling. :)

You'll need every bit of that 2 hours a Atlanta to clear immigration and customs, go through security, and take the tram to your gate for the next flight.

Similar at MSP, although you won't have any immigration formalities it will be just time enough to get off one flight and get to the next.

I know you've already booked, but for anyone else planning this kind of trip in the future it's worth considering that given the lengths of the flights involved you may want to build in enough time to breathe a bit between one flight of 4+ hours and another of 6-7+ hours. You might want time to use the toilet, get a drink or a snack, buy a magazine...50 minutes between flights isn't going to allow for much of any time for that.

Fortaleza, CE
Level Contributor
9,182 posts
381 reviews
7. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

I've often spent more time waiting for my bags than waiting at Immigration, but I am in the U.S. citizen line. Only problem we ever had at ATL was just after the transfer desk after Customs, when we handed over our checked bags for our onward flight, and then went through security to get onto the train to go to the get for our domestic flight. My wife had forgotten some face crème she'd bought in a duty free store, and our checked bags were already gone, so she lost it at TSA security. We did not have to go to the regular check-in counter, of course.

London, United...
Level Contributor
231 posts
8. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

I honestly don't mind not having much free time before having to board the next flight, as long as it's enough to get me from plane A to B! :)

I think the total in the air flight time is going to be about 13 hours, not much difference between this and London to Singapore to Los Angeles to Auckland which I've done before, only this time there is a stop to break up the flight, even if it is just running to the boarding gate..

Italy
Destination Expert
for Livigno, Lombardy
Level Contributor
39,474 posts
192 reviews
9. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

We had a 50 minute transit in Philadelphia and I was convinced we wouldn't make our connecting flight as we had to collect our luggage and put it through security screening again but amazingly we did. The American airports are used to these short transit times so are very efficient.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
11,360 posts
112 reviews
10. Re: Short layover times for connecting flights in the US?

American airports are not used to short transit times and if you made a 50 minutes connection, that was either a long time ago or blind luck. I'm a US citizen and I can't remember the last time I made it through immigration, baggage claim, and customs in under an hour. And then add on time if you have to transit to another terminal.