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Customs @ LAX  
User currently offlinemattya9 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 138 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2289 times:

Hey all. My sister and her husband are flying PVG-LAX in a little more than a week and I'm curious how good or bad the experience is going through customs at LAX. From what I've heard/read on here it seems like it can be quite a cluster! They'll be on AA 182 which gets in at 1700L (if it's on-time) and it'll be a Monday evening. They might try to make a connecting flight to LAS, however, renting a car might be the better option since it's only about a 4 hour drive. Regardless, Neither of them have gone through customs at LAX and I was wondering if anyone of you could offer any advice to help them plan and prepare their trip. Many thanks!


"You can do anything once."
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineBravoEchoNov From Qatar, joined Jan 2014, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2287 times:

If you fly into the New TBITerminal it is not terrible. If you land at a different terminal and have to be bussed over to the TBITerminal, it becomes a larger hassle. Also depends on what day you are flying on.

User currently offlinejetblastdubai From United States of America, joined Aug 2013, 1448 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2141 times:

If your friends land at 1700 I would personally recommend just waiting for the connecting flight. Unless they're familiar with the LA freeways and the driving habits of LA commuters the first hour on the road could be pretty frustrating.

Also, after that long flight, sitting in a car on a 4-5 hour trip through the desert would be torture unless you're certain that they would be plenty of rest on the flight. A couple hours on a long, straight, dark freeway would put anyone to sleep and the jet lag might make it even worse.

"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading". - Thomas Jefferson
User currently offlinelaxjaydub From United States of America, joined Nov 2013, 36 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1960 times:

Yeah, don't do the drive. It is 4 hours WITHOUT traffic, but there is going to be rush hour traffic and that can easily turn into 6 hours. A 1 hour flight is MUCH more pleasant.

User currently offlinedtwlax From United States of America, joined Aug 2009, 999 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1920 times:

If customs is in TBIT, then there are a couple of flights I can think of that come in around that time. LX and TK (maybe BA).
It should not be that crowded as say in the early afternoon.

User currently offlinetimpdx From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 718 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1869 times:

I came in on the TK flight on the 4th at around that time and it was a breeze for immigration but customs had a long-ish line. it took a long time for my bag. But if I had not checked my bag, it would have been 20 mins total or so.. New TBIT is much better.

Dont drive at that hour.

User currently offlineAirAfreak From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 750 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1703 times:

If they transfer:

They should schedule a connecting flight with approximately 3-3 1/2 hours in between flights. Since we do not know if they will be flying with WN (Terminal 1), VX (Terminal 3), DL (Terminal 5), or UA (Terminal 7) to Las Vegas, let's just say 3 hours to give them plenty of time to hop on a bus if they are parked in the remote stands) and THEN, stand in the immigration queue, re-claim their bags, walk to departure terminal, check-in, TSA, and then onwards to assigned departure gate for Las Vegas.

If they drive:

+ Parking Stand (remote or TBIT or T4),
+ (Wait) @ Customs/Immigration + Agricultural Inspection Queue,
+ (Wait) @ Baggage Re-Claim,
+ (Wait) @ Ground Transportation to Rental Car,
+ Queue for next agent - it's LAX at 5pm, after all,
+ Paperwork, Insurance, Credit Card details, locate car, set GPS, etc.,
+ Navigate their way to the 405 or 105 freeway to the 10 freeway
+ TRAFFIC from Airport through downtown or however route they take will take TIME,
+ Dark, Boring, and Lonnnnnnnnnng Drive to Las Vegas is not fun after a flight from Shanghai - in any class of service.

This is coming from a 13-year resident of Los Angeles - and I don't mean the suburbs, either  

In other words, don't drive.  


Do you lead an Intercontinental life?
User currently offlineDAL763ER From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 741 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1685 times:

I have connected through LAX twice in the past two years.

The first time was on United from T6 to T8, arriving around 1:30pm. CBP was pretty smooth and I was in T8 by 2pm. I didn't have any bags to claim and recheck though. My connecting flight was at 4:30pm and I didn't have any trouble making it.

The second time I arrived on BA at TBIT and connected to AA at T4. Arrival was also at around 1:30pm and my onwards connection was at 4pm. Again, I had no bags. I was out of the terminal by 1:45, had time to go to In 'n Out on Sepulveda and got back for my 4pm flight with plenty of time to spare.

As others have said, tell your sister to leave at least 2.5-3 hours for her connection to allow for queues, delays and so forth. In addition, yes, do not drive. With an on-time 5pm landing, 3 hour connection and a one hour flight they can be at their hotel in Vegas by 10pm without putting themselves in any danger. By driving, they would probably make it to Vegas past midnight but would be putting themselves up for a greater risk with the tiredness involved etc.

[Edited 2014-01-18 17:56:02]

User currently offlinemattya9 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 138 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 1641 times:

Thanks guys! Definitely sounds like a connecting flight is going to be the way to go... and, even though it doesn't sound like it'll be too bad going through CBP and customs, plenty of time to connect is always a good thing/smart.


"You can do anything once."
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