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Customs @ LAX

Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:40 pm

Hey all. My sister and her husband are flying PVG-LAX in a little more than a week and I'm curious how good or bad the experience is going through customs at LAX. From what I've heard/read on here it seems like it can be quite a cluster! They'll be on AA 182 which gets in at 1700L (if it's on-time) and it'll be a Monday evening. They might try to make a connecting flight to LAS, however, renting a car might be the better option since it's only about a 4 hour drive. Regardless, Neither of them have gone through customs at LAX and I was wondering if anyone of you could offer any advice to help them plan and prepare their trip. Many thanks!

"You can do anything once."
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RE: Customs @ LAX

Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:42 pm

If you fly into the New TBITerminal it is not terrible. If you land at a different terminal and have to be bussed over to the TBITerminal, it becomes a larger hassle. Also depends on what day you are flying on.
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RE: Customs @ LAX

Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:26 pm

If your friends land at 1700 I would personally recommend just waiting for the connecting flight. Unless they're familiar with the LA freeways and the driving habits of LA commuters the first hour on the road could be pretty frustrating.

Also, after that long flight, sitting in a car on a 4-5 hour trip through the desert would be torture unless you're certain that they would be plenty of rest on the flight. A couple hours on a long, straight, dark freeway would put anyone to sleep and the jet lag might make it even worse.
"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading". - Thomas Jefferson
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RE: Customs @ LAX

Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:09 pm

Yeah, don't do the drive. It is 4 hours WITHOUT traffic, but there is going to be rush hour traffic and that can easily turn into 6 hours. A 1 hour flight is MUCH more pleasant.
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RE: Customs @ LAX

Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:26 pm

If customs is in TBIT, then there are a couple of flights I can think of that come in around that time. LX and TK (maybe BA).
It should not be that crowded as say in the early afternoon.
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RE: Customs @ LAX

Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:43 pm

I came in on the TK flight on the 4th at around that time and it was a breeze for immigration but customs had a long-ish line. it took a long time for my bag. But if I had not checked my bag, it would have been 20 mins total or so.. New TBIT is much better.

Dont drive at that hour.
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RE: Customs @ LAX

Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:28 pm

If they transfer:

They should schedule a connecting flight with approximately 3-3 1/2 hours in between flights. Since we do not know if they will be flying with WN (Terminal 1), VX (Terminal 3), DL (Terminal 5), or UA (Terminal 7) to Las Vegas, let's just say 3 hours to give them plenty of time to hop on a bus if they are parked in the remote stands) and THEN, stand in the immigration queue, re-claim their bags, walk to departure terminal, check-in, TSA, and then onwards to assigned departure gate for Las Vegas.

If they drive:

+ Parking Stand (remote or TBIT or T4),
+ (Wait) @ Customs/Immigration + Agricultural Inspection Queue,
+ (Wait) @ Baggage Re-Claim,
+ (Wait) @ Ground Transportation to Rental Car,
+ Queue for next agent - it's LAX at 5pm, after all,
+ Paperwork, Insurance, Credit Card details, locate car, set GPS, etc.,
+ Navigate their way to the 405 or 105 freeway to the 10 freeway
+ TRAFFIC from Airport through downtown or however route they take will take TIME,
+ Dark, Boring, and Lonnnnnnnnnng Drive to Las Vegas is not fun after a flight from Shanghai - in any class of service.

This is coming from a 13-year resident of Los Angeles - and I don't mean the suburbs, either  

In other words, don't drive.  

Do you lead an Intercontinental life?
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RE: Customs @ LAX

Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:55 am

I have connected through LAX twice in the past two years.

The first time was on United from T6 to T8, arriving around 1:30pm. CBP was pretty smooth and I was in T8 by 2pm. I didn't have any bags to claim and recheck though. My connecting flight was at 4:30pm and I didn't have any trouble making it.

The second time I arrived on BA at TBIT and connected to AA at T4. Arrival was also at around 1:30pm and my onwards connection was at 4pm. Again, I had no bags. I was out of the terminal by 1:45, had time to go to In 'n Out on Sepulveda and got back for my 4pm flight with plenty of time to spare.

As others have said, tell your sister to leave at least 2.5-3 hours for her connection to allow for queues, delays and so forth. In addition, yes, do not drive. With an on-time 5pm landing, 3 hour connection and a one hour flight they can be at their hotel in Vegas by 10pm without putting themselves in any danger. By driving, they would probably make it to Vegas past midnight but would be putting themselves up for a greater risk with the tiredness involved etc.

[Edited 2014-01-18 17:56:02]
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RE: Customs @ LAX

Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:58 pm

Thanks guys! Definitely sounds like a connecting flight is going to be the way to go... and, even though it doesn't sound like it'll be too bad going through CBP and customs, plenty of time to connect is always a good thing/smart.

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