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Transiting Internationally At ATL  
User currently offlineSvenvdM From Germany, joined Dec 2000, 209 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2115 times:

Hello all... I was wondering how much of a hassle it is to transit internationally at Atlanta Airport on Delta Airlines (FRA-ATL-BOG-ATL-FRA)? I read that Iberia closed its hub in Miami for passengers transiting in Miami from and to Europe and South America due to complex immigration procedures. How complex are the procedures at ATL?

Any comments are appreciated...

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2100 times:

It's pretty much the same as going through most other US airports - you'll have to go through international arrivals in ATL, then pick up baggage and re-check for the flight to BOG. There aren't any special procedures in the US for international departures, so that part is a bit easier - you should also be able to get your boarding pass for ATL-BOG when you leave FRA, which will make things simpler too.

Still can take quite a while though due to the normal US immigration procedures, depending on what time you arrive, etc.


User currently offlineRobertS975 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 947 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2055 times:
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Assuming you are a German national, you should have no trouble with an international connection in ATL. You will pass through passport control and then claim checked luggage only to hand your luggage back to DL for the onward flight. Then you will need to pass through a dedicated security line for arriving international pax... from there, it is straight into the terminal E which is also where your BOG will be leaving from.

There can be a problem that arises when a passenger from a visa country arrives in ATL for an international connection without a US visa. US airports are not geared for international connections without first actually gaining admission into the USA even if one does not intend to stay in the USA.

There used to be a program which allowed these connections called "transit without visa" but I hear that this program has been discontinued in the aftermath of 9/11. A passenger without visa authority to enter the US would be essentailly escorted from Customs to their next flight out of the USA.


User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2047 times:

If you can choose another airport - I would recommend it. Atlanta, because the way the terminals are set up require international arrivals to go through a special security check just after you clear immigration and customs.

This means that you land, you queue up to get off the plane, you queue up at immigration, you queue up at customs, you queue up at arrivals security, you queue up to catch the inter-terminal train, you queue up to check in for your next flight, you queue up for security again, you queue up for the train to your terminal, you queue up to board the flight.

Have you considered transiting Toronto, or somewhere else outside the US?


User currently offlineAirplanetire From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2017 times:

You don't actually have to take the train because international flights (except maybe for Canada) all arrive and depart out of the same terminal, E.

User currently offlineATLFlyer323 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 617 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2004 times:

Maybe its just me but I tend to disagree with ANother, I think that ATL is really connecting friendly and you should have little problems at all. Then again I used to connect in PHL and ATL is much much better. (In my opinion) Im sure that DL (Im assuming there going to be atleast taking you one leg of the trip?) also appreciates your business!

~Brandon



Everyday, the fluffy temptation of wheat!
User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9560 posts, RR: 31
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1978 times:

Better transit at MAD  Smile but OK, when the DL fare is that cheap just stand in the various lines.

YYZ would not really be an option because they do not have transit facilities there either. Last time I transited through YYZ to DFW I had to clear Canadian Immigration first and 2 minutes later US pre-clearance. Not that I would mind, but life could be a lot more easy the European style,



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineAdriaticus From Mexico, joined May 2004, 1137 posts, RR: 19
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days ago) and read 1959 times:

Quoting Star_world (Reply 1):
then pick up baggage and re-check for the flight to BOG.



Quoting RobertS975 (Reply 2):
and then claim checked luggage only to hand your luggage back to DL for the onward flight

If both flights are on DL metal, there's not need to pick-up and re-check baggage. Upon checking-in at FRA,your luggage will receive a big orange "ITI" tag, and the next time you'll see it again you'll be in BOG.

Quoting ANother (Reply 3):
This means that you land, you queue up to get off the plane, you queue up at immigration, you queue up at customs, you queue up at arrivals security, you queue up to catch the inter-terminal train, you queue up to check in for your next flight, you queue up for security again, you queue up for the train to your terminal, you queue up to board the flight.

You actually don't need to board a train in ATL at all; once leaving the Security checkpoint after clearing immigration, you make a right turn, take the escalators one floor up, and you are in the International Departures concourse, ready to board your flight to BOG. No train, no second Security checkpoint.

Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 5):
Maybe its just me but I tend to disagree with ANother, I think that ATL is really connecting friendly and you should have little problems at all.

I personally find it to be a lot friendlier than MIA, JFK, ORD, IAH or LAX.

G'luck.
__Ad.



A300/18/19/20/21 B721/2 B732/3/G/8 B741/2/4 B752 B762/3/4 B772/3 DC8/9/10 MD11 TU134/154 IL62/86 An24 SA340/2000 E45/90
User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 2 days ago) and read 1920 times:

Quoting Adriaticus (Reply 7):
If both flights are on DL metal, there's not need to pick-up and re-check baggage. Upon checking-in at FRA,your luggage will receive a big orange "ITI" tag, and the next time you'll see it again you'll be in BOG.

This isn't true for US connections - you have to walk your own bag through US customs before continuing on your connecting flight. It might be a simple process - the bag can be tagged all the way through to BOG, but you'll have to do this bit manually.


User currently offlineFlashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2902 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1917 times:
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Atlanta, because the way the terminals are set up require international arrivals to go through a special security check just after you clear immigration and customs.

I'd imagine that this has much less to do with terminal construction and more to do with customs enforcement. Because you go through passport control, then pick up your bags and go through customs (or wait in line through customs with those people who do have bags), you're no longer "sterile" in that you've had an opportunity to access your checked baggage. Let's say you had a pair of scissors in your checked luggage. You could conceivably take the scissors out of the bag and put them in your pocket. Scissors aren't (as far as I know) allowed in the cabin, but they are allowed in checked baggage.

That's the rationale behind the second check -- once you leave passport control, it's much like walking out of the concourse and into the terminal. You're entering a non-sterile area and therefore must be rechecked.

I've found that ATL has always been a breeze, including landing internationally. You should be just fine.


User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1909 times:

I've transitted in IAD and ORD before on UA and they had that same approach, for the reasons that Flashmeister identified.

User currently offlineRDUDDJI From Lesotho, joined Jun 2004, 1519 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1798 times:

We (UA) are working with Customs to permanantly allow ITI connections at IAD. Currently, we only do it on a case by case basis. Occasinally we'll have a Caribbean flight come in late with CNX to Europe, instead of making the pax lug their bags through customs to re-check them, they'll let us connect them ITI, since the pax don't have access.

Quoting Flashmeister (Reply 9):
I'd imagine that this has much less to do with terminal construction and more to do with customs enforcement. Because you go through passport control, then pick up your bags and go through customs (or wait in line through customs with those people who do have bags), you're no longer "sterile" in that you've had an opportunity to access your checked baggage. Let's say you had a pair of scissors in your checked luggage. You could conceivably take the scissors out of the bag and put them in your pocket. Scissors aren't (as far as I know) allowed in the cabin, but they are allowed in checked baggage.

That's the rationale behind the second check -- once you leave passport control, it's much like walking out of the concourse and into the terminal. You're entering a non-sterile area and therefore must be rechecked.

I've found that ATL has always been a breeze, including landing internationally. You should be just fine.

Close, but don't forget about Customs pre-cleared flights (such as Canada and some Caribbean cities). Typically pax flying Canada-US hub-US cnxn are pre-cleared in Canada. What most people don't realize is that due to federal regulations these bags still go through TSA screening at their first entry point into the U.S. for the domestic segment even though the pax does not have access to their bags. Believe me, this causes huge logistical problems for an airline like UA, who sees many connections off of say *A partnet AC.

However, there are high level talks going on between Airlines and TSA/DHS to get this changed. Personally, I am sure that the bags get screened wherever they are coming from, it's just a matter of our gov't accepting their screening standards.



Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
User currently offlineDL Widget Head From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2100 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1782 times:

Quoting ANother (Reply 3):
This means that you land, you queue up to get off the plane, you queue up at immigration, you queue up at customs, you queue up at arrivals security, you queue up to catch the inter-terminal train, you queue up to check in for your next flight, you queue up for security again, you queue up for the train to your terminal, you queue up to board the flight.

Wow, is this guy being melodramatic or what? The only thing on this longwinded list that you might not have to do at SOME other North American airports is "queue up at arrivals security".


User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1775 times:

Quoting DL Widget Head (Reply 12):
Wow, is this guy being melodramatic or what? The only thing on this longwinded list that you might not have to do at SOME other North American airports is "queue up at arrivals security".

OK so I had a bad connection. I also forgot to mention the queue to send baggage from arrivals hall to checkin hall (they won't let you take your hold luggage on the train) and queue to pickup your baggage at the checkin hall. Perhaps had I been able to have checked through my bags (and me) it would have been different. This was a few years ago and things may have changed - but I haven't felt the need to give it another go.


User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9560 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1766 times:

The Airlines in the US should talk to the TSA and other authorities involved as well as the airport owners and make sure that transit facilities are established which no longer require passengers to physically enter the US. For most Germans or other Nationals coming from Visa waiver countries this is a lesser problem but why should we answer to US immigration officers when just in transit to BOG? There is absolutely no reason for that when proper transit facilities are available, especially when it is online. Interlining at JFK would still require entering the US in most cases.

IB has scrapped their MIA hub and US carriers are turning away or not getting millions of $$$ every day because of the inflexsibility of Government auithorities. Just let them look how it is done at FRA, AMS LHR etc., there is no lack of security and the airports make a lot of money from the concessions in the transit areas,



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineN160LH From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 280 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1758 times:

Quoting Adriaticus (Reply 7):
Quoting Star_world (Reply 1):
then pick up baggage and re-check for the flight to BOG.



Quoting RobertS975 (Reply 2):
and then claim checked luggage only to hand your luggage back to DL for the onward flight

If both flights are on DL metal, there's not need to pick-up and re-check baggage. Upon checking-in at FRA,your luggage will receive a big orange "ITI" tag, and the next time you'll see it again you'll be in BOG.

This is true... Make sure they tag your bag ITI... very important!!!

Quoting Adriaticus (Reply 7):
Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 5):
Maybe its just me but I tend to disagree with ANother, I think that ATL is really connecting friendly and you should have little problems at all.

I personally find it to be a lot friendlier than MIA, JFK, ORD, IAH or LAX.

I also agree...!

-160



"I do alright up in the air, its down on the ground that I tend to mess up..."
User currently offlineAdriaticus From Mexico, joined May 2004, 1137 posts, RR: 19
Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1670 times:

Quoting Star_world (Reply 8):
you have to walk your own bag through US customs before continuing on your connecting flight.

This used to be true a while ago. Since September last year I've transited internationally in ATL five times - and using the ITI procedure, I haven't had to do the customs clearance thing again.

If in doubt, just call DL.

__Ad.



A300/18/19/20/21 B721/2 B732/3/G/8 B741/2/4 B752 B762/3/4 B772/3 DC8/9/10 MD11 TU134/154 IL62/86 An24 SA340/2000 E45/90
User currently offlineThatplaneguy From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 82 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1650 times:

I have flown many times from LGW to LIM on DL through ATL. Yes there are queues, and sometimes my bag would be cleared all the way from LGW to LIM, but it depended on how long between connections.

My main gripe about going through ATL was the queue for the security after you had handed in your luggage after clearing customs and immigration, be sure to mark your cards with the words "in transit" and have your boarding cards and ticket to hand. Try not to wear anything metal, or you will have to take it off. I just felt that check was unnessary, though Im sure there was a valid reason. I had just come off an international flight with checks, and not gone anywhere, so why the check? I objected more to having to queue if Im honest, but I never gave the TSA guys a hard time about it, its their job, just a bit frustrating for me thats all.

Enjoy your flights with DL, they are a good airline going through a difficult time. You should not have to change terminals there either. FRA flights arr at the international Terminal and your flight to BOG should depart from There too. The FAs on board prior to arrival announce which connecting flights depart from which terminal and gate.



Its about the airlines and the planes they fly
User currently offlineNonrevman From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1302 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1641 times:

This will be one of the rare times that I will come to the defense of ATL. In terms of international transiting, it is not too bad. Your flight should be in the same concourse, so when you do clear customs ans security, you should be close to the connecting flight. I typically find that there are plenty of passport control and customs agents on hand to get you through without a huge wait time. There have been other airports where this procedure has taken much more time.

The strange thing is that actually arriving in ATL as your final international destination is more of a pain in the butt than transiting. Typically across the US, you go to passport control, then the baggage claim, then customs, then home. Not here. You go through passport control, through the baggage claim, and then to the place where you hand over your checked baggage to another person to be shipped to the other side of the airport. Then, you go through security, then you ride the train, then you come to a second baggage claim to finally be reunited with your luggage, then you get to go home. Sound like fun, doesn't it?


User currently offlineN160LH From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 280 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1567 times:

Quoting Nonrevman (Reply 18):
You go through passport control, through the baggage claim, and then to the place where you hand over your checked baggage to another person to be shipped to the other side of the airport. Then, you go through security, then you ride the train, then you come to a second baggage claim to finally be reunited with your luggage, then you get to go home. Sound like fun, doesn't it?

Oh the stories I have about that... "What do you mean you can not find my bag its somewhere in ATL... because I just saw it..." or my fav... "Oh hell yes I am sure that yall damaged my baggage... because I just saw it..." I loved that my AOA badge got me around that...

-160



"I do alright up in the air, its down on the ground that I tend to mess up..."
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