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Posts: 1540
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Questions Concerning Connection In IAH

Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:21 pm

Good Day,

in a few weeks I will be flying from FRA to TPA. I was initially booked via EWR but could rebook via IAH, as this would give me a) a LH A380 instead of an UA 767 and a "safer" weather issues airport in this winter time.

Reading horrible reviews about immigration in IAH on Skytrax I am unsure if it was a good decision.

I will be arriving with LH from FRA in Terminal D at 1:50 PM, need to clear immigration, and then depart to TPA on UA at 3:59 PM, which is usually C or E Terminal.

Here are my questions:
-Is this usually a busy time for immigration? I have a German passport...
-Are the lanes really that long as suggested by the reviews? The good thing is that I will sitting in Economy Class first row on the plane, so I should be at immigration right after the premium passengers and before the horde of all the remaining Economy Class guests...
-Do you get any special treatment as Star Alliance Gold to clear immigation more quickly?
-Going to Terminal C I can walk, right? The Video on the Houston Airport website suggest to take the train.
-I believe connecting security is usually quite a mess, isn't it? Do they have special lanes for Star Gold at least there?
-Is there a plan B in case my LH flight comes in late and there is a mess at security? I.e. going landside and reclear through another security checkpoint?
-Do they use body scans in Houston and can one opt out without too much issues? I opted out once in Miami shortly after these things were installed and it was a quite easy pat down so I don't really mind...

Thanks very much for all your thoughts.
Posts: 5298
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:33 am

RE: Questions Concerning Connection In IAH

Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:04 pm

well i had around 2 years ago a very stresfull connection from a incoming CO flight ex LIM connecting to an CO flight to LAS, I had a 1,5 hours connection and was basically the last to board on the LAS flight.

Immigration was really slow - and so far the worst expirience for me in the US.

Anyhow IAH is a quite good connecting point for me ex CCS hence I will use it again next year in February on a CCS-IAH-LAX-HNL flight.

Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
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RE: Questions Concerning Connection In IAH

Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:35 pm

In the US there are no priority lines for immigration based on class of service or frequent flyer status.

You will be able to walk to the C gates and, at times, can be quicker than the trains.

Many US airports have elite lines for security to which you would have access as a *G. That being said, I can't recall if they exist after customs for connecting flights in Houston (I've done it but it's been a couple of years).

If they are using scanners, you can easily opt out. If it's really busy it will slow things down.
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RE: Questions Concerning Connection In IAH

Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:22 pm

You're probably fine if your inbound is not late. In my experience the lines at immigration were pretty heinous but afterward there was no wait at all for the TSA. The thing that was aggravating about the immigration lines was that only about 1/10 of the available lanes were in use. Having just one more open would have made a big difference.
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RE: Questions Concerning Connection In IAH

Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:02 am

There should be no problem at Houstin. You exceed minimum collecting times, so go for it!
737MAX, Cool Planes for the Worlds Coolest Airline.
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RE: Questions Concerning Connection In IAH

Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:20 am

I know my situation may sound to be quite unusual, however, the purpose of this reply is to share my experience with Houston/Intercontinental.

In the days when I was once a One Pass Elite Bronze/Silver Member (I'm a frequent leisure traveler), I used to frequent IAH. My connecting times would typically range from 40 minutes to just under 2 hours. Sometimes, I would arrive from an international city and connect to a domestic city or domestic to domestic, etc... So, I finally called the 1-800-We-Care-2 telephone line because every time for almost a year, my bags were ALWAYS delayed (but never missing). I had enough and from that point on, I would choose Newark as my transit point because this dark cloud seem to follow me when transiting through Houston.

Lesson of the day: Not even a priority tag can guarantee your checked luggage will arrive with you.

My advice: Make sure you have a comfortable t-shirt and sleeping shorts inside your cabin baggage in case you arrive without a change of clothes. You can always go to a Customer Service Desk/Baggage Claim Desk and ask for a complimentary overnight toiletries kit. It's not advertised, so be sure to ask for one in the event the Baggage Agent does not offer you one. THEY ARE AVAILABLE.

Bon Voyage,

AirAfreak =]
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