PanAm747
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How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:21 am

I have heard horror stories recently about security hassles and delays for foreigners using American airports as a transit for connecting flights. Right or wrong, let us all pray that the need for such incursions diminishes and finally disappears.

For Americans flying to Canada, and Canadians flying to America, customs can be pre-cleared before boarding the aircraft, so when you arrive, it's the equivalent of a domestic flight. Saves time and hassle, and is a GREAT time saver!!

My question is this: A Canadian citizen is flying AA YYZ-MIA-CCS. It would not seem to be a problem outgoing, as the Canadian is arriving in MIA aboard a domestic flight. Then he connects to an international flight, no problem. However, on the return, he arrives from CCS on an international flight. Is a transit visa necessary? And should he allow extra time on the return to clear both American AND Canadian customs before boarding the connecting flight?

Thanks in advance!!
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nwafflyer
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:28 am

The horror stories you have heard also impact driving across borders -- since Bush the 2nd has been president, the US is pretty ugly towards Canada. It's really funny -- the US blames Canada because several of the 9/11 terrorists came to the US across the Canadian border in Maine. Well, guess what -- Canada does not inspect anyone leaving Canada for the US, that's all up to the US, however the current US mentality says that even Canadians are suspect, and that's a sad state of affair politically
 
AEROFAN
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:46 am

A canadian citizen does not need a transit visa to enter or leave the USA. His or her passport is all that's necessary. It is not a headache as you seem to be making it out to be
 
sunrisevalley
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:00 am

I don't believe there are so called transit lounge's at first points of entry into the U.S. under the control of the US Customs and Immigration since 9/11. For example an AC flight from SYD-YVR that stops in HNL; all passengers must clear US Customs and Immigration even if they are destined for YVR.
I believe the same applies to ANZ passengers at LAX who are travelling from AKL to LHR . They must go through US Customs and Immigration out through the baggage claim area and back into the terminal through security. That is a real pain!
 
dutchjet
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:08 am

Canadian should not experience any difficulty if transiting the US, no special documents are required.....some may consider it inconvenient to go through US customs and immigration for a simple transit stop, but that is simply the way it is.
 
flymia
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:14 am

It is easy for Canadians to come in the US. Dont worry you just have to wait in line in Imigration it matter what time the passenger gets in but it is no problem.
And I just took the CAT a car feery from Bar Harbour Main to Yaurmonth Nova Scotia and there were no problems at all. My brother used an experied passport. And going back to the states was the same.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
CO737800
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:20 am

I have gone to Mty a few times via Houston and Dallas with no problems.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:07 pm

I don't know about Canadians, but transiting through a US airport from a foreign country to another foreign country has always been a nightmare since one has to exit the sterile zone almost without exception. So one has to pass immigration and customs just to get on another plane and leave again.

This has always felt absurd to me. By contrast, if I fly through LHR or FRA or CDG from another country to a third country I don't pass outside the sterile zone, regardless of terminal changes. No need for any hassles since the transit hub country need not worry about me entering...

My guess is that most US air travel is domestic, while European and Asian travel is more international, which would explain why the airports are geared in different ways.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
320tech
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:26 pm

NWAflyer:

the US blames Canada because several of the 9/11 terrorists came to the US across the Canadian border in Maine.

This statement is completely untrue. It was mentioned several times shortly after 11 September 2001, but it's been proven that all the vermin entered by other means (ie, not through Canada).

Please don't repeat this baloney, we're in enough trouble with our American friends!  Smile
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the manufacturer and impossible for the AME.
 
Jetmarc
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 4:56 pm

If US - Canada flights are treated as "domestic flights" (since you clear customs predeparture) would I have any problems flying between JFK to YUL 2, 3 or 4 times a month? Also being a US citizen and off-duty flight attendant? I want to visit often to improve my French, maybe even rent an apartment as it'd be cheaper than a hotel each time. Do you think I'd have any problems as long as I said I was just visiting often??
"Sucka, I'm gonna send you out on Knuckle Airlines. Fist Class!!" ~ Mr. T
 
GuyBetsy1
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 5:28 pm

Dear JetMARC,

Obviously you're not going to YUL *just* to improve your French is it now?  Smile
No problems for Americans coming to Canada. But renting an apartment in Montreal takes nerves of steel. Did anyone tell you that? All rentals have leases that begin on July 1 only. If you have Montrealer friends, they will tell you about it.

GB
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:43 pm

JetMARC, just except to get the dreaded "ssss" on your boarding pass, just like I do 9 times out of 10...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Rafabozzolla
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:58 pm

Starlionblue,

What you said is partially correct. If you are transiting from a non Schengen country to another non Schengen country you don't have to go through customs or immigration. But if you are flying JFK-CDG-FRA you do have to present your passport (customs is usually done at you final destination because your bags will not have the green tag) since de CDG-FRA flight is treated as a domestic flight and Paris actually becomes you point of entry in the Schengen zone.

As the UK in not a Schengen country, you only go through immigration if you are flying to another UK city.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:03 pm

Rafabozzolla. I had forgotten all about Schengen. Still, since your second leg is "domestic", it becomes reasonable to go through the procedures. What I don't get is that if you are flying Mexico City-New York-London on one ticket you have to go through immigration and customs in New York. It seems like a lot of time and money wasted, not to mention a big hassle for no benefit.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Skywatcher
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 12:06 am

Concerning the infamous July 1 mass lease expiration issue in YUL, it is largely a myth.
Historically there was a large percentage of leases that expired every July 1st but many of those situations have been gradually changed.I have rented many apts. in YUL during my lifetime and the leases expired at various different times just like anywhere else.

Apartment and insurance prices in YUL are a major bargain compared to NYC.
 
AMS
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 12:10 am

Canadian citizens are even allowed to enter the US using a one-way ticket.


Regards,
AMS
 
VonRichtofen
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 6:27 am

I've transferred in the US several times, no problems for me either.
 
dgehfx
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 6:49 am

Although Americans might believe that Canadians will encounter little hassle upon entering the U.S. it's not exactly true. A Canadian arriving in, say, MIA from South American must queue with all the other non-Americans in a separate channel. Basically, everyone but Canadians and probably Mexicans requires a visa to enter or transit the U.S. In order to verify the visas extra time is required of the Immigration officials. So, while Americans wizz by in their own special channels Canadians must join in with all the other foreigners. This takes considerably longer than the Americans Only channels. I've experienced this in MIA, JFK, HNL.
I hope your ticket from YYZ to CCS is an amazingly good deal because there are now non-stop flights several times a week with AC that save you all that grief.
 
flymia
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:20 am

Starlionblue: The reasone America does this is so they dont let someone in that is not surposed to be in the Country so he can than just leave the airport.
Dont worry lines might be big but you should have NO PROBLEM getting in.
Have a great trip.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airpor

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:46 am

The reasone America does this is so they dont let someone in that is not surposed to be in the Country so he can than just leave the airport.

All (other than US) international airports usually have the departure area for int. flights designed as "no man's land" and for the purpose of transfer you don't need visa of that given counry since you are technically not entering it.
So how could he/she possibly "just leave the airport" without going through the ordeal of being treated like a criminal by the immigration officials and all that fingerprintig, photographing, blood sampling...???

It's completely pointless procedure, but "fighting terrorism" seems to be excuse for almost any kind of hassle. The only one suffering from this measure are US airlines and the airport itself because people avoid flights i.e. from Europe to Central/South America with tranfers in the US.

[Edited 2004-08-12 03:56:24]
 
JoFMO
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:56 am

So what's the procedure when I am traveling FRA-YYZ-STL with AC? Do I have the hassle of re-checking my luggage in YYZ?
 
sunrisevalley
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 11:47 am

JoFMO,

I believe you will have to clear Canadian Customs at YYZ. Also I believe you will clear US Customs at YYZ since all flights from YYZ to US destinations clear US Customs in YYZ. Also you will have a terminal change, FRA flights come into Term. 1 and US bound flights go out of Term. 2. since that is the terminal that is setup for US Customs. So you will have to take the bus with your baggage from Term. 1 to Term 2. I hope you have plenty of connecting time.
You might wish to check with AC to verify the detail.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:42 pm

Canadian citizens are even allowed to enter the US using a one-way ticket.

So are resident aliens like myself.


Basically, everyone but Canadians and probably Mexicans requires a visa to enter or transit the U.S

Not quite. Citizens of all countries in the Visa Waiver program are allowed to enter the country on business or pleasure for up to 90 days. Mexico is not one of these countries (http://travel.state.gov/visa/tempvisitors_novisa_waiver.html)


Starlionblue: The reasone America does this is so they dont let someone in that is not surposed to be in the Country so he can than just leave the airport

As has been stated, you cannot leave a transit airport in Europe without going through customs and immigration. If you are traveling JFK-LHR-SIN you do not need to "enter" the UK. You stay within the sterile zone. You never go through customs and immigration. So putting transiting pax through this hassle is completely pointless. They're just transiting and will never exit the sterile zone, therefore they will never enter the country, therefore there is no problem.


It's completely pointless procedure, but "fighting terrorism" seems to be excuse for almost any kind of hassle.

I agree completely that it's pointless, but the procedure has been in place for decades, well before the current terrorist situation.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:17 pm

That should of course have said: Citizens of countries in the Visa Waiver program may enter the USA on business or pleasure for up to 90 days WITHOUT A VISA.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
hz747300
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:23 pm

DgeHfx, I would hate for you to have the wrong idea. If another nation has a no visa policy for Americans (like when I visited the UK, Portugal, and Germany), then citizens of those nations can visit without a visa as well.

An exception is Australia, which has an electronic visa policy for US visitors, but the US state department considers that to be the equivalent of no visa and lets Aussies in here without a visa.
Keep on truckin'...
 
JGPH1A
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:33 pm

RE: I agree completely that it's pointless, but the procedure has been in place for decades, well before the current terrorist situation.

Not strictly true - before 9/11, international transit passengers at specific airports eg. LAX or MIA were not required to complete US Immigrations and customs before reboarding their aircraft for their onward leg.
Airlines likes NZ and IB were able to transfer pax between flights within a secure transit zone, without passing them through FIS. Post 9/11, these rules were changed (WHY??) so that even same-plane transit pax have to clear US customs and immigration before proceding to their destination, even though its outside the US.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:38 pm

JGPH1A, I agree but IIRC that depended on the construction of the terminal buildings, ie if both your flights were inside Tom Bradley at LAX you were fine, but if you had to go from Tom Bradley to the United terminal you were not. In the rest of the world, transit buses "within the sterile zone" ensure that pax can change terminals without exiting.

However, I did not know this was changed now and it seems absurd. If the pax cannot enter the country without going through customs and immigration, let them transit without problems. What's the big deal? You think that dirty bomb they have strapped around their waist wouldn't have been discovered at CDG security or something?

I guess it all means less lucrative landing fees for US airports in the end...

[Edited 2004-08-12 15:39:07]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
cayman
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:39 pm

NWAFlyer--

There was NO connection between any of the vicious terrorists of 9/11 and Canada--NONE whatsoever--none transited in or out of canada and none had any connection at all.

However, as proof of the effect of an initial report--many, many Americans still believe that they connected through Canada or crossed the Cdn border--because of a bad initial report. Shows the importance of good information in early reporting.

As to the original question I have actually flown YYZ MIA CCS many times. The return through MIA all depends on timing. Occasionaly you luck out and the line isn't super bad--other times I have been in a line 2 hours or more. However I find US Customes and Border Protection very efficient, professional and courteous with very few exceptions. They have a touch job to do and unfortunately all travelers are expriencing delays and inconvenience worlwide thanks to these terrorist radical islamist scum.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:46 pm

I agree that we're all inconvenienced nowadays, but if you skipped the pointless step of screening pax coming from another country only to directly leave again for a third country, wouldn't we be less inconvenienced without a decrease in security? And wouldn't the US Customs and Border Patrol people get more time on their hands to catch the real baddies and/or to shorten those lines you speak of?

EDIT: Even if the 9/11 terrorists had come in through Canada, what's the big deal? It's very hard to stop people from entering a country like the USA and blaming another country will not solve the problem (although it might make you feel better  Big grin).

[Edited 2004-08-12 15:49:36]

[Edited 2004-08-12 15:51:12]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
AlekToronto
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RE: How Tough For Canadians To Transit U.S. Airports?

Fri Aug 13, 2004 8:25 am

In my experience transitting via the US on a Canuck passport has been no problem. Just smile, be nice and answer the questions promptly and no probs. One thing I have learned is that at most US Airports if the lines for foreigners are too long and you have a tight connection, Canadians are allowed to use the US Citizen lanes/booths..just ask the airline agents that greet international flights..AA allows this in MIA/ORD, UA in ORD and CO in IAH..
On another note I am really glad AC is offering more flights to South America as Miami is the worst airport to transfer at. The extra cost of the AC flights is worth it to save the time and hassle.
cheers
Alek