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Immigration & Customs at HNL

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Immigration & Customs at HNL

Hi, my wife and I will holiday in Honolulu in April '07. We're flying in on Korean Air and should arrive around 10:30AM.

I'm looking for an estimate of how long we can expect the queue to be at Immigration & Customs (I'm American, she's Korean) once we exit the aircraft? We're bringing two small carry-ons and her purse.

On a different post, I read the Aussies suggesting to each other to allow 2 hours for Immigation and Customs? Is this a good estimate?

Reason: I'm setting up a rental car and would like to closely time the pickup to our arrival at HNL and leaving the Immigration & Customs area.

Thanks in advance.

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albany, n.y.
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1. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

With a US passport expect about an hour, otherwise 1hr.30 minutes.

All the flights from Asia come in after 7 a.m. until about 11:00 so

the customs area really gets backed up.

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2. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

Thanks TaxiBob, I saved it to my trips folder!

Kobe, Japan
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3. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

Hi! I'm an American living in Japan and have done immigration/customs through HNL many times. However, I usually fly Northwest, so the experience may be a bit different. When you get off the plane, you may need to catch a "Wiki Wiki" shuttle bus that will take you to immigration. The first bunch of people off the plane get the first bus, so they also get to immigration faster. Do your best to get off the plane in a hurry if you're looking to save time. You'll probably have one jetway off the plane that connects to the front. So, the closer to the front you are, the better the chances of getting off the plane first. If your arrival gate is near immigration then I guess you just walk, though Northwest gates, at least from Japan, are always at the other end of the airport.

At immigration, you'll be directed to left or right; left for non-US and right for US citizens Your wife is with you, so she can go to the right with you. My kids are Japanese citizens and always go with me through immigration, no problem. The US side is significantly faster.

After immigration, you'll go downstairs to the luggage carousels. Find yours (they may announce the number when the plane lands), but first get a luggage cart if you need it. Sometimes they're hard to find. Once you get your bags, you'll need to go through customs. But, I've never been really stopped, just slowed to ask a few questions. Fill out the blue customs form on the plane. I can usually be out the door of customs with my luggage within 30 minutes of the plane landing. One time, it was like 15 minutes from touchdown to out the door, because my bags were waiting for me after immigratin. Maybe the Aussies get hung up in the non-US citizen line.

Oh, I just re-read that you only have carry-on luggage. I would think that you could easily be out within 30 minutes of landing. Keep that blue passport out and be somewhat aggressive about moving into lines, just like the other asians.

The rental agencies are somewhat lenient with expected pick-up times. Which agency are you using? If you are really pressed for time, some agencies are much faster than others.

Good luck.

Island of Hawaii...
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4. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

Re the car time, they are flexible. but I make my reservation calculating the latest time I might get to the counter. Then they can't say I'm late.

If you're early, they should be holding the car for you and are happy to give it to you, what percentage would be in it for them to make you wait until your actual reservation time? None.

If you're significantly late, they would be justified in giving the car to someone if they really needed it. A lot of people are no shows for reservations so they might think that if you're not there on time.

Sometimes they have plenty of cars, sometimes not.

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5. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

NishiMark, Thanks for the reply post.

Your procedure is exactly the same I use when I used to arrive at Don Muong (BKK) (now Suvarnabhumi).

We're not really pressed for time per se, it's that darn queue I despise; you know, 20 windows - 5 employees!

Since this is our first journey to Hawaii, I would like to avoid logistical hassles by timing the rental pickup relatively close to leaving the Customs area.

Using your process, I figure we'll be out of I&C within one hour but not later than Noon, which is when I plan on picking up the car.

I'm rambling on...sorry about that...24 hours surfing the Net will do that to you.

I appreciate for your perspective.

Domo Arigato.

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Hawaii
Hawaii
United States
World Traveler
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6. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

"K", Thanks for that reminder. I "lost" a car in Vegas because I was about one hour late due to a late start from the departure gate. I'll keep that in mind.

Thanks!

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Kobe, Japan
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7. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

To avoid another long queue, I strong advise against renting from Alamo. Even with their free membership program, which is supposed to give you a priority line, the wait can feel like forever. With just about all rental companies, you can sign up for some kind of free express rental program on their internet site. That allows you to skip the normal lines and get on the way faster in many cases.

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8. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

Hi NishiMark, thanks for the tip. I have researched Budget and am comfortable renting from it, as I normally use it when I cruise to San Diego. Aside from that one experience where I "lost" my reserved car, I've had no other hassles with them in 20 years.

I saved your tip to my folder, again, Thanks.

Terry

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San Diego
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Kobe, Japan
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9. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

At HNL, some car rental companies are located right at the airport, while others (for example Alamo) are offsite a few/several blocks away. I'm 90% sure that Budget is onsite. After customs, you'll exit onto a sidewalk of the main airport access road. You need to cross to the median to catch the shuttle for the rental car. Customs is down at one end and shuttle buses aren't allowed to stop there, so you will need to walk (to the right, with the flow of traffic) up until you see a sign indicating a rental car shuttle pick up point. However, since Budget is right on site, in fact in an "infield area" on the opposite side of that access road, you can walk to it faster than walking/waiting/boarding/riding the shuttle. As soon as you exit customs, turn right (don't cross the street) and walk up the sidewalk until you get to the baggage claim area for United. At that point, there is an underground walkway that passes under the road and puts you right into the rental car infield area. Since you don't have luggage, it's not difficult at all. Of course, you can always just catch the shuttle.

Budget has a Fastbreak membership deal that you can join for free. You might get a better deal as a member, but you will also avoid the line at the rental counter. I have an American drivers license and a Japanese one. I was surprised a few years ago to be able to rent a car in Hawaii with my Japanese license, when my American one had expired. They didn't bat an eye.

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Hawaii
Hawaii
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10. Re: Immigration & Customs at HNL

NishiMark, Thanks for that great tip!

LOL about your license. I have my CA and Korean licenses and the rental agencies also don't care which one I use (I use the CA for rentals in case of an accident here so I avoid "points" on my Korean license and those points won't show on my CA license).

Upon departure for our return flight home, should we arrive at HNL about 3 hours early or 4 hours early? Reason: When we flew out of SFO last July we were publicly searched (random), however the process was rather quick, maybe 20 minutes. But, Hawaii draws more international visitors so I'm presuming the departure lines are horrendously longer than SFO.

Thoughts anyone?

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Hawaii
Hawaii
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