hjulicher
Posts: 656
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:26 pm

Prescreening For Int. Flights Outside USA

Thu May 18, 2006 3:36 am

One of the biggest drawbacks of connecting from an international flight onto a domestic flight in the US is the fact that at the first point of entry into the United States, you must go through passport control, pick-up your bags then go through customs, and then recheck your bags for your next flight. In Europe (as I've only been to europe and don't know about other places except for Russia where everything is even worse than US) there is no need to do this, and connections are much more seemless. Many experienced travellers probably prefer connecting in Europe (if possible) in order to bypass this problem so that when flying to the US, their first point of entry is their final destination. I.E. (via Europe) SVO-AMS-DTW, not (via US) SVO-JFK-DTW.

I was just reading about Delta and their hub expansion at JFK, and I was wondering... could delta prescreen passengers in (let's say CDG) so that when in JFK they don't have to go through passport control and customs?

I read somewhere that int. flights from Ireland to the US are prescreened in Ireland so that there is no need for immigration facilities when arriving in the US from Ireland (Is this true?). If this is the case, is it possible to open prescreening areas for US airlines in European cities so that connecting within the US is easier and therefore competitive with European airlines who HUB in europe? (If this is not clear, basically I mean to be prescreened for entry into the United States in let's say AMS so that upon arrival in DTW, you can go directly to your next gate and not have to shlep bags or anything and go through passport and customs). Of course this wouldn't be provided at every airport, but as is NW's case, if they did so in AMS, then many passengers would connect better.

I don't know how this would work out logistically, but does anybody agree that this would make connecting in the US better? Has anybody else hypothetically thought of how to bypass the whole connecting process in the US, and how to improve on it? Any thoughts appreciated.
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RDUDDJI
Posts: 1700
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:42 am

RE: Prescreening For Int. Flights Outside USA

Thu May 18, 2006 7:03 am

It's been discussed before, but the main reason is because U.S. airports are not really designed for ITI (International-to-International) traffic. When you arrive at say JFK, there is no way for you to remain in a sterile corridor until your next flight without clearing customs. The U.S. does not have International Lounges like some European airports (but not all of them). There is nothing to stop you from simply walking out of the airport from the boarding area of your JFK-XXX flight and entering the U.S.

Another reason has more to do with facilities at your next airport...if you are connecting to say PWM out of JFK, it would not be practical for a smaller airport like PWM to have a customs facility open at all times for a slow trickle of pax connecting from SVO or wherever. Plus you could arrive at say PWM and not be allowed entry into the U.S., now there is a major problem. To my knowledge there are no direct PWM-SVO flights, so deporting you becomes much more complicated than just looking for the next SU flight to SVO, especaially since SU doesn't fly to PWM, and it would be their responsibility to deport you.

Pre-cleared flights are a different issue. You go through U.S. customs before leaving your origin country. This is done on nearly all U.S. flights out of Canada and for a few Caribbean destinations.
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BDL2DCA
Posts: 309
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:46 am

RE: Prescreening For Int. Flights Outside USA

Thu May 18, 2006 9:25 am

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 1):
Pre-cleared flights are a different issue. You go through U.S. customs before leaving your origin country. This is done on nearly all U.S. flights out of Canada and for a few Caribbean destinations.

There are actually two different kinds of preclearance. Flights from most airports in Canada preclear both customs and immigration. Essentially, you are on US "soil" before you get on the plane, so when it arrives in the US, the flight is treated as domestic.

Flights from Ireland clear only Immigration in Ireland. This is a vestige of the days when there were so many illegal immigrants to the US that it became cheaper to stop them in Ireland before they got on the plane than it was to try and send them back when they got to JFK or BOS. Even though that is no longer the issue that it once was, once a government agency is established, it has a tendency to stick around.

You still must clear customs at your port of entry when arriving from Ireland. As for flights from the Carribean, I do not know, as I've never flown there.

To the poster's original question. DL would not have the choice of preclearing in CDG. That would really be up to the US Department of Homeland Security. If the US were to set up a preclearance facility outside of Canada anywhere, I would imagine it would be at LHR first.

The reason why preclearance in Canada is so critical is that the vast majority of transborder flights go between smaller cities, or a small city and a big city. For example, BDL, while an international airport, has only on-call customs. AC has 5 or 6 flights a day to BDL, none on a plane bigger than a DH8. It would be really complicated to take those 200 or so passengers through customs and immigration. Much easier to send them through in YUL or YYZ. BDL, for all its trying, does not have any flights to CDG, LHR or AMS!

I have always thought, however, that EI could set up a pretty neat Euro-to-US hub operation if they had enough 757s to do it. Somewhat along the lines of what CO has at EWR. Unfortunately, the SNN stopover killed that idea before it was born.
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zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: Prescreening For Int. Flights Outside USA

Thu May 18, 2006 9:29 am

The US gummint very much would like for more flights to be pre-screened. I expect to see US immigration facilities set up at some european airports over the next several years. LHR and FRA are the more likely airports and both have major terminal work ongoing or soon to start. Since the US gummint has been pushing this for a while, I would not be surprised to see US immigration facilities in LHR T5.
 
ANother
Posts: 1833
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:47 am

RE: Prescreening For Int. Flights Outside USA

Thu May 18, 2006 3:23 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 3):
I would not be surprised to see US immigration facilities in LHR T5.

I would. T5 will serve only one airline with US routes. This not being a US airline would certainly raise a number of eyebrows in Chicago and Dallas.

Preclearance, as done in Canada, works because all transborder flights operate from a dedicated terminal. This would be required elsewhere as well, and I really don't see that on the plans of any European airport.
 
zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: Prescreening For Int. Flights Outside USA

Thu May 18, 2006 3:35 pm

Quoting ANother (Reply 4):
T5 will serve only one airline with US routes. This not being a US airline would certainly raise a number of eyebrows in Chicago and Dallas.

Good point. Thanks.

Quoting ANother (Reply 4):

Preclearance, as done in Canada, works because all transborder flights operate from a dedicated terminal. This would be required elsewhere as well, and I really don't see that on the plans of any European airport.

What about the C concourse at FRA? At some times of the day, it is used exclusively for flights to the US.

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