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Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

Seattle
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Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

We will be arriving at LAX from Hong Kong early in the morning, around 6:40. What is a reasonable time to get through immigration at that hour? Alaska Airlines is offering us a flight home (to SEA) two hours later, but that seems like a really tight connection. We will not have checked luggage, but in am just wondering about the lines at passport control and the transfer time from the international terminal to the AS departure terminal. Should I ask for the flight two hours later? I guess we could always go to the lounge if we had extra time, but on the other hand we would like to get home as soon as possible.

UK
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1. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

check here http://awt.cbp.gov/

Fortaleza, CE
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2. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

Assuming both flights were purchased together, 2 hours should be enough but there's no guarantee. Not having checked luggage could save several minutes (eg., not waiting for bags after Immigration or having to hand over the bags at a transfer desk), but you still need to stand in line at Immigration go to the AS terminal (Terminal 6), either on foot or by inter-terminal shuttle bus, and go through security there.

You say "the international terminal," by which I assume you mean the Tom Bradley International Terminal, but several airlines' international flights arrive a other terminals. http://www.lawa.org/welcome_LAX.aspx?id=246

Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

Are you looking to purchase LAX-SEA on a separate ticket to your inbound flight? If so, understand the risk you are taking. You have no protection against any delay to your inbound flight from Hong Kong (or any other delay), and if you fail to show for check in with AS by the required time, you risk losing that ticket as a no show and having to buy a new one at the walk up fare.

If it's on one ticket (HKG-LAX-SEA) then two hours is very tight, but you'd have the protection against a delayed inbound flight and would be rebooked onto the next one with available seats at no charge. Not that I'd recommend it, but I did a 1hr10 INTL-DOM connection in December at LAX (though not through the Bradley terminal). So with hand luggage only on one ticket I'd probably give it a shot. On separate tickets I'd say no way.

Fortaleza, CE
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4. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

p.s. reinforcing what the above poster says, you'd be put on a later AS flight should you miss your connection only if the tickets were purchased together. If the tickets are purchased separately, no way would I go for a 2-hour connection. BTW, what airline are you flying from Hong Kong to L.A.?

Down Under
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5. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

Knowing your international airline would help as others have suggested but I probably would not risk it.

The last time we arrived in LAX it took more than two hours before we walked out of the terminal after a 6am arrival.

On other occasions it has taken around an hour.

Enjoy some time at the lounge.

Seattle
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6. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

We will be flying on CX in business class. I booked the flight with AS miles and it can include LAX to SEA, but the only flight to SEA available at the time I booked the CX flight was at 13:55, 7 hours after we arrive. Now I see award seats available on the 8:40 flight that day. But I don't want to call and ask to book that if it is unrealistic.

There is. QF flight from Melbourne (A380) arriving at the same time as our CX flight, so if they come into the same terminal that could affect lines at immigration.

My other option would be to simply book the 10:40 flight as a separate ticket. I understand the risks there but seems like a 4-hour interval should have a low risk of a missed connection.

Or I could wait and just keep checking back for award seats on the 10:40 flight and add them to our booking. But they might not ever appear.

San Diego
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7. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

You might/might not make it no one can tell for sure since you'll arrive at Tom Bradley and then leave on Alaska from Terminal 6 .

In addition to immigration and customs you'll have to get to the 2nd terminal and go through security there. I have traveled internationally without checked luggage and made that sort of connection BUT only because the airline I was traveling gave me a "fast pass" to go to the front of the immigration line . Without that on a crowded day, I would not have made it. It was not at LAX so I cannot tell you for sure if they would do that sort of thing there but since you'll be on 2 different airlines I am not sure about that .

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

Yeah sure, keep an eye out for the 10:40, but I wouldn't buy a separate ticket, I'd leave it as is. Although it's tight as others have said, this way you're protected. Without checked luggage, Id probably chance it too.

Worldwide
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9. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

If you are booking via the Website, it might not hurt to phone the call center. They might be able to find a connection that you can't see, permitting through ticketing, with a connection time between the two extremes that you mention.

There seem to be at least four reasons for trying hard to get your connection onto the through award ticket.

1. Backup flight "guarantee" in case of missed connection.

2. The connection should be included in your award, so essentially "gratis."

3. If you are using a business class award, your connection should be on business or "domestic first" depending on airline configuration.

4. I'd expect that you'd be entitled to lounge access in HKG and LAX, as an international business class through passenger. This might help to make the layover more pleasant.

Personally, if I took the earlier connection you mention, I would only do so on a through ticket. And I would have a "plan b" for what to do on a long layover if the short connection gets missed.

Or, if I decided not to try to force things, I would take the later connection, and have a plan for that time. A good book, perhaps? A trip to a particular destination in town, perhaps? Get a day pass for a lounge, perhaps?

Edited: 4:54 pm, March 04, 2014
10. Re: Time to get through Immigration at LAX?

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