Transit through LAX
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Apr 21, 2013 12:46 PM Last Post By: max_mexico
Apr 7, 2013 1:22 AM
Transit through LAXI'm an Australian citizen arriving at LAX at 1100. I have an ESTA that I will use to return to the US after visiting Canada.
I just need to get to Vancouver, and it will be a separate booking.
I'm trying to work out how to transit through LAX and thus how much time to allow between flights.
My research so far tells me it's: Immigration, pick up bags, customs, exit. Then head to the next airline's check in (likely with a 1/2 hr terminal change), recheck bags, security, head to gate. Allow 3 hours.
There is a possibility that if I book with Virgin Australia's partner airlines, they could check the bags through, and thus eliminating the rechecking of bags, but it is up to the discretion of the airline on the day?
In this day of internet bookings, I'm sure I'm not the only one doing this?
Thanks for your time
Apr 7, 2013 2:02 AM
Apr 7, 2013 4:38 AM
Apr 7, 2013 5:48 AM
3What I would be concerned about is your first flight being late so that you miss your connection. Will the airline be kind and put you on their next flight to Vancouver? Probably, but not for sure. In practice, airlines in the US seem to be quite generous with this, and if you have a "legitimate" reason for missing your flight they will often put you on the next one (with room) for free.
You can use the site flightstats.com to look at historical data for that particular route, how often it is delayed. If it lands on time, you will likely be fine as long as you allow more than 2.5 hours. LAX is big and there's often quite a walk involved to get from one terminal to another. Also immigration can take a long time, 1 hour is not uncommon! I also don't know how used you are to flying. People without much experience should allow much more time (for getting lost, standing in the wrong line, not knowing how to cut in line, etc).
What I do sometimes is make the layover much longer than needed, say 10 hours or more. If everything works out smoothly, it will allow me to leave the airport and do some quick sightseeing before catching my next flight. In LA you could head to the beach by public transport, or even rent a car (cheap in the US!) and drive around for a few hours.
Also, are you sure Virgin Australia can check your bags all the way through, across separate bookings? I mean is that even a possibility?
Apr 7, 2013 6:41 AM
Apr 7, 2013 9:16 AM
This means those flights can end up on the same PNR as the Virgin Australia flight and you'd get the interline benefits, but not necessarily that they will through check bags if it's separate bookings. I think there's a good chance that they do it, but I don't see it stated anywhere, and would call the airline to make sure before betting on it in order to make a connecting flight.
Apr 7, 2013 10:24 AM
Apr 7, 2013 10:43 AM
Apr 7, 2013 12:05 PM
9-#8: sure, you can. Look at airline Web sites. You don't necessarily have to do it through Orbitz or another 3rd party site if partner airlines don't fly that second route. We've done it, both overseas and in the U.S. (e.g.,to Hawaii, if the first airline flies to Honolulu and only Hawaiian flies on from there). The important thing is whether both flights are ticketed together. Many airlines have interline agreements for the transfer of bags IF the flights are ticketed together (e.g., by the first airline). Southwest is one airline that generally does not have such agreements. If you're not purchasing your fights through the Web site of one of the two airines involved, you should probably confirm the bags will be transferred.
-Who has responsibility for getting you to your destination can depend on who's done the ticketing (e.g., airline, third party site, etc.). If you miss the connection, it's the second airline (if there are two involved) that will put you on the next flight with available seats (not necessarily the very next flight) to your destination. The first airline may completely reroute you if, when you check in for your first flight, their flight is late and they see it will be impossible to make the connection. Once you get to LAX, you'll most likely have to deal with the second airline.
-Assuming your flights are ticketed together and your bags are tagged for your ultimate destination, you just hand them to a transfer desk after Customs. You will hopefully have the boarding pass for your second flight already. You had directly to the security line for your next flight. That is a much quicker process than having to take your bags to the second airline and standing in line to check in there (if you're ticketed separately); and, as noted, if you miss your connection, the second airline may say tough luck, or at least charge you to rebook you.
-How long it takes to get between terminals obviously depends on what airlines are involved. What airlines are you considering? If you are ticketing the flights separately, you obviously want to allow a longer connection time, because you'll have to carry your own bags, and because you definitely don't want to miss the connection. There are lots of online maps showing the different terminals at LAX. There is a free inter-terminal shuttle bus, circulating counter-clockwise, though in some cases it's quicker to walk. Even if you don't switch terminals you'll have to go through TSA security after Customs to go to the gate of your second (domestic) flight.
Apr 7, 2013 12:57 PM
10#9, yes but Hawaiian has interline partnership with most common airlines flying to Hawaii(*). As far as I know, you can't use a 3rd party booking site to magically join separate bookings into one for airlines that lack partnership?
(*) Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air New Zealand, Air Pacific, Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, American Eagle, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Cebu Pacific Air, China Airlines, Delta Airlines, Dragonair, EVA Airways, Frontier Airlines, Island Air, Japan Airlines, Jet Blue, KLM, Korean Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airways, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.
Apr 7, 2013 2:20 PM
11#6: from the linked website: "Take advantage of free terminal transfers and through bag checks with Virgin Australia’s Interline partners."
I find it helpful to produce an official airline printout of the itinerary documenting the final destination. I've done this with separately ticketed flights; sometimes it takes a little foot-stomping, but generally they will tag through (at least from the U.S.)
Apr 7, 2013 3:08 PM
12#11. I don't think it's meant that way actually. With interline agreement, I read that to refer to a single booking that includes multiple airlines. Since in OP's case, he talks about making two separate bookings, he won't be interlining. So it will be up to the airline if they will still allow him to check the baggage through or not.
What happens with baggage fees when you check through for separate tickets, are those waived?
Apr 8, 2013 10:42 AM
13#9: exactly. Interline agreements are not the same thing as alliance partnerships (as in members of the Star Alliance, for example). If there is no interline agreement, such as the case with Southwest, it won't matter who you book with. I just meant that they airlines don't have to be partners as with BA and American, for example; they just have to have interline agreements.
Transfer of bags when two flights are ticketed separately is another deal. Booking on a third party site would not "magically" join the two. Best to contact the airline(s). In the absence of confirmation, I'd proceed on the assumption that the bags won't be transferred. I've been able to have it done at least once in the past (American from DCA to MIA and TAM from MIA to GRU: our bags were tagged through to GRU, but we had to get in line to get TAM boarding passes at MIA). However, some airlines are reportedly stopping this practice, at least if the two airlines aren't in the same alliance (American Airlines made an announcement in this regard). When I made my original comment, I did not understand that the tickets would be ticketed separately. I still think OP should contact the airlines and probably assume they'll have to do any transfer themselves.
Apr 21, 2013 3:58 AM
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