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neomax
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Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:45 am

A lot of people often say that the reason US airports don't offer transit areas is that geographically, the US is poorly suited for transfers. That may be true for many destinations, but Canada and South America frequently have transit pax in the US, and yet not one airport has a transit facility that would facilitate connections without having the need for a visa or going through immigration. I find this reasoning to be completely ridiculous and overall laughable; Canada has Int'l transit in YYC and South America has GRU with Int'l transit. There should be at least one airport with Int'l transit in the US, why isn't there?
 
Jetty
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:53 am

Very simple answer. It isn’t allowed by the US government and everyone traveling to the US needs a Visa (or waiver) presumably because they want to be able to check everyone that even sets foot on US soil.
 
Andy33
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:02 pm

I've been told here that Anchorage airport actually does have a whole transit terminal, left over from the days when restrictions on overflying Russia/the Soviet Union meant that many flights had to take a longer route and so needed to land and refuel,which would otherwise have triggered the need for everyone on board to pass through US Immigration. As the restrictions on overflying no longer exist planes no longer need to drop in for refuelling, and the terminal is mothballed. Whether it could be reactivated even if needed, or whether the US regulations have changed in the meantime I don't know.
 
StTim
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:17 pm

Jetty wrote:
Very simple answer. It isn’t allowed by the US government and everyone traveling to the US needs a Visa (or waiver) presumably because they want to be able to check everyone that even sets foot on US soil.


The whole point of a transit area is that you never actually set foot in the country as you are always in International territory. That way connections can be easy etc.
 
DiscoverCSG
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:18 pm

I'm sure twelve people will correct me if I'm wrong, but...

Isn't the ANC facility designed for people to disembark and re-embark on the same flight, which has simply stopped to refuel?

It seems like the international transit facilities at most airports are designed to facilitate the operation of a hub (e.g. CX at HKG, BA at LHR, EK at DXB, etc.), which is a much larger and entirely different set-up.
 
Jetty
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:35 pm

StTim wrote:
Jetty wrote:
Very simple answer. It isn’t allowed by the US government and everyone traveling to the US needs a Visa (or waiver) presumably because they want to be able to check everyone that even sets foot on US soil.


The whole point of a transit area is that you never actually set foot in the country as you are always in International territory. That way connections can be easy etc.

I was aware of the purpose of a transit area, which is still US territory. The only international territory in existence is the UN headquarters in New York.

A transit area is an international zone where people haven’t formally entered the country. For safety purposes that formality of ‘not having entered the country’ doesn’t always matter, i.e. when you want to hijack an incoming plane. And that’s the reasoning behind the US approach. Not saying I agree with it, but I can see the merit.
 
jeffrey1970
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:38 pm

I remember when Iberia used MIA as a hub, but that all changed when the US changed the rules for transit passengers after 9/11.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
StTim
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:47 pm

Jetty wrote:
StTim wrote:
Jetty wrote:
Very simple answer. It isn’t allowed by the US government and everyone traveling to the US needs a Visa (or waiver) presumably because they want to be able to check everyone that even sets foot on US soil.


The whole point of a transit area is that you never actually set foot in the country as you are always in International territory. That way connections can be easy etc.

I was aware of the purpose of a transit area, which is still US territory. The only international territory in existence is the UN headquarters in New York.

A transit area is an international zone where people haven’t formally entered the country. For safety purposes that formality of ‘not having entered the country’ doesn’t always matter, i.e. when you want to hijack an incoming plane. And that’s the reasoning behind the US approach. Not saying I agree with it, but I can see the merit.


It is a reason though why I never fly to Australia/new Zealand via the US. Flying via the Gulf, Hong Kong, Singapore etc so much easier.
 
airbazar
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:30 pm

neomax wrote:
A lot of people often say that the reason US airports don't offer transit areas is that geographically, the US is poorly suited for transfers.

That is not the reason at all. The reason is because right after 9/11 the US government enacted a law that requires every arriving passenger to have its passport checked. It was a stupid, knee jerk reaction which unfortunately was never undone.
A few airports in the US had, or still have such transit facilities because they actually handle a good number of transiting passengers: LAX, MIA, ANC, HNL are some that I know about. With the huge growth of international traffic since, I'm sure these would have been expanded if not for that unnecessary law.
 
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aeromoe
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:49 pm

Andy33 wrote:
I've been told here that Anchorage airport actually does have a whole transit terminal, left over from the days when restrictions on overflying Russia/the Soviet Union meant that many flights had to take a longer route and so needed to land and refuel,which would otherwise have triggered the need for everyone on board to pass through US Immigration. As the restrictions on overflying no longer exist planes no longer need to drop in for refuelling, and the terminal is mothballed. Whether it could be reactivated even if needed, or whether the US regulations have changed in the meantime I don't know.


If I'm not mistaken, the terminal at Anchorage you speak of is in no way mothballed...it is an active terminal....I parked and used the "facilities" there last year. Pretty sure Condor and Icelandair serve Anchorage seasonally and whatever other airlines pop in that need those facilities.
AA AC AS BA BD BF BN BR BY B6 CO CZ DG DL EA EI EN FL FT F9 HA HP ICX JI J7 KE KS LH MC NW OC OO OZ(1) OZ(2) PA PI PT QQ RM RO RV(1) RV(2) RW SK SM SQ S4 TI TS TW UA UK US VS VX WA WN WS W7 XV YV YX(2) ZZ 9K
 
Heinkel
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:04 pm

DiscoverCSG wrote:
I'm sure twelve people will correct me if I'm wrong, but...

Isn't the ANC facility designed for people to disembark and re-embark on the same flight, which has simply stopped to refuel?


AFAIK it is not mandatory to disembark the pax, when you only want to refuel the a/c. I've been on two flights, where the a/c (B737) was refueled with all the pax on board. The prodecdure was, that the doors had to be open with air stairs in place, all pax seatetd, with seat belts unfastened and a fire brigade vehicle standing in attendance. You could smell the Jet A-1 through the open doors.
 
osupoke07
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:06 pm

DFW terminal D appears to have a whole floor set up to eventually function as an international transfer area between the main floor and the clubs, if it's ever allowed.
 
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neomax
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:23 pm

osupoke07 wrote:
DFW terminal D appears to have a whole floor set up to eventually function as an international transfer area between the main floor and the clubs, if it's ever allowed.


Really? I have never heard of this before.
 
gunnerman
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:52 pm

It's not just the US; at LHR T5 all international arriving passengers (with the exception of Ireland I think) with connecting flights must go to Flight Connections where they are be security screened. The only passengers who can bypass security are those who arrive on BA domestic flights from airports such as MAN and EDI as they arrive at a domestic gate and, having shown a security officer a valid boarding pass, are allowed direct access to the departure area.
 
COSPN
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:55 pm

We used to have TWOV ... but many “ran off” from LAX or the transit stop .. they would sit I. Front of tom bradly terminal with a unarmed security guard.. holding their passport .. then a “friend” would happen to roll up and try would run off hop in the car and be gone .. leaving their passport and onward flight in exchange for “America “ :)
 
louA340
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:26 pm

gunnerman wrote:
It's not just the US; at LHR T5 all international arriving passengers (with the exception of Ireland I think) with connecting flights must go to Flight Connections where they are be security screened. The only passengers who can bypass security are those who arrive on BA domestic flights from airports such as MAN and EDI as they arrive at a domestic gate and, having shown a security officer a valid boarding pass, are allowed direct access to the departure area.



This is entirely different, what you mentioned is just going through screening and security before proceeding to the gates. That is done everywhere.
What the post meant was the fact that in the US, one has to clear immigration and customs before proceeding back to make flight connections.
 
khowaga
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:51 pm

Very few airports are set up for such a scenario (if any). Most airports in the US mix domestic and international flight departures; the issue being that someone coming off of an international flight could, if left unattended in the departure area, simply exit the secure area of the terminal as if they were heading to the domestic baggage claim.

Now, whether this is due to the law, I couldn't tell you, but it's not as easy as just changing the regulations - the airside infrastructure would also have to be changed.
 
khowaga
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:52 pm

neomax wrote:
osupoke07 wrote:
DFW terminal D appears to have a whole floor set up to eventually function as an international transfer area between the main floor and the clubs, if it's ever allowed.


Really? I have never heard of this before.


I've seen it, too - it's in the sterile area when heading between the gates and customs.
 
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LTU932
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:51 am

louA340 wrote:
gunnerman wrote:
It's not just the US; at LHR T5 all international arriving passengers (with the exception of Ireland I think) with connecting flights must go to Flight Connections where they are be security screened. The only passengers who can bypass security are those who arrive on BA domestic flights from airports such as MAN and EDI as they arrive at a domestic gate and, having shown a security officer a valid boarding pass, are allowed direct access to the departure area.



This is entirely different, what you mentioned is just going through screening and security before proceeding to the gates. That is done everywhere.
What the post meant was the fact that in the US, one has to clear immigration and customs before proceeding back to make flight connections.
Correct. When you arrive in LHR and connect on another international flight, you never cross the UK Border for passport control (even though it's in a way no different from any US terminal, you have domestic and international passengers mixed). You just reclear security. But not always do you reclear security. When I had my connection to PTY last year in AMS, I never had to reclear security, I just had to pass through exit passport control. However, if you take from AMS a flight with DL to the US (or any other US bound flight), then you pass through another security check, regardless of whether you already cleared security in AMS or at your airport of origin.

In PTY, you don't clear neither security nor immigration when connecting on an international to international flight. The only extra precautions exist probably just for flights to the US. And here in SJO, I believe you do have to pass through immigration for international to international connections (which can impact e.g. Nicaraguans, who are required to request a visa before entering Costa Rica), maybe somebody else can clear that up for me. Either way, in the airports I listed, there is no separate transit area (that I know of).
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
global2
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:53 pm

LTU932 wrote:
louA340 wrote:
gunnerman wrote:
It's not just the US; at LHR T5 all international arriving passengers (with the exception of Ireland I think) with connecting flights must go to Flight Connections where they are be security screened. The only passengers who can bypass security are those who arrive on BA domestic flights from airports such as MAN and EDI as they arrive at a domestic gate and, having shown a security officer a valid boarding pass, are allowed direct access to the departure area.



This is entirely different, what you mentioned is just going through screening and security before proceeding to the gates. That is done everywhere.
What the post meant was the fact that in the US, one has to clear immigration and customs before proceeding back to make flight connections.
Correct. When you arrive in LHR and connect on another international flight, you never cross the UK Border for passport control (even though it's in a way no different from any US terminal, you have domestic and international passengers mixed). You just reclear security. But not always do you reclear security. When I had my connection to PTY last year in AMS, I never had to reclear security, I just had to pass through exit passport control. However, if you take from AMS a flight with DL to the US (or any other US bound flight), then you pass through another security check, regardless of whether you already cleared security in AMS or at your airport of origin.

But in the U.S. don't you also have collect your CHECKED luggage and re-check in all over again?
 
global2
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:57 pm

Andy33 wrote:
I've been told here that Anchorage airport actually does have a whole transit terminal, left over from the days when restrictions on overflying Russia/the Soviet Union meant that many flights had to take a longer route and so needed to land and refuel,which would otherwise have triggered the need for everyone on board to pass through US Immigration. As the restrictions on overflying no longer exist planes no longer need to drop in for refuelling, and the terminal is mothballed. Whether it could be reactivated even if needed, or whether the US regulations have changed in the meantime I don't know.


I recall flying to Tokyo and back to JFK on JAL in the 70's, refuelling in ANC. On the way home we had to go through customs in ANC.
I also remember a few years before that flying on Pan Am to Tokyo and refueling in Fairbanks. I don't know if in those days it was an issue with Soviet airspace or if it was simply an matter of the 707 not having sufficient range to make the flight non-stop.
 
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LTU932
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:22 pm

global2 wrote:
But in the U.S. don't you also have collect your CHECKED luggage and re-check in all over again?
Correct. My comparison was to point out the similarities. While in the US, you MUST clear immigration and customs on arrival (unless you went through preclearance), in the UK you do not unless your destination is in the UK itself or you're leaving the airport until you take your connection. In any case, there's a mix of international and domestic passengers in both places (and I don't mean like it's the case with Schengen or the CTA between the UK and Ireland).

However, under certain circumstances and provided that you're eligible, you can go to the green APCs that allow you to clear immigration without having to recheck your luggage for international-to-international connections. I did that on my roundtrip to SJO via DFW 3 years ago. When I flew to SJO via EWR, I cleared immigration, had to pick up my luggage, go through customs (including one trip to Agricultural while connecting towards SJO) and recheck it.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
osupoke07
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:46 pm

neomax wrote:
osupoke07 wrote:
DFW terminal D appears to have a whole floor set up to eventually function as an international transfer area between the main floor and the clubs, if it's ever allowed.


Really? I have never heard of this before.


Yeah, sorry for the delayed reply, but when you go to customs at DFW, you have to walk through essentially an entire empty floor of the terminal. I have no doubt that this was planned to be used as an international transit area if it was ever allowed in the US.
 
vfw614
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Re: Why is there not a single US airport with a transit area?

Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:27 pm

That is not the reason at all. The reason is because right after 9/11 the US government enacted a law that requires every arriving passenger to have its passport checked. It was a stupid, knee jerk reaction which unfortunately was never undone.


Which would not rule out some sort of airside transfer facility which would spare transit passengers the need of getting landside and join the departing crowd at security, passport control etc.

As for the LAX example, I am not sure how the setup was, but this is really easy to avoid if someone has to pass border officials.

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