Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: After your story about US immigration delays, what happens if we miss a connecting flight?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Wednesday 26 June 2013
Q You recently wrote that British travellers could face long waits at US immigration this summer, because of American government cutbacks. I believe Dallas was one of the worst airports for waits. In November we're flying non-stop with BA to Phoenix, but coming back on a combination of American Airlines and BA via Dallas-Fort Worth. We have only 85 minutes between arriving from Phoenix and leaving for London. What happens if we miss the connection?
A Relax: you are pretty certain to make the connection, because when you leave the US there is no Customs and Border Protection check. As The Independent has reported, lines for US immigration are certainly getting longer this year (see bit.ly/USQ2013 for the full story).
But that is only when you arrive in America from abroad. Coming home, you should be issued with boarding passes for both flights at the American Airlines check-in desk at Phoenix when you arrive for your 12 noon flight to Dallas-Fort Worth.
While "DFW" is a huge airport, transfers between American arrivals and BA departures are usually smooth. When you touch down at Dallas, you will not need to clear passport control - nor even undergo another security search. The Transportation Security Administration regards anyone who has just arrived on a US domestic flight as being "clean" from a security perspective. (Britain does the same, eg if you arrive at Heathrow from Edinburgh, you don't need to go through security before an international flight.)
The chance of a delay from Phoenix is low; weather problems are rare. But should airline staff know your plane is going to be seriously late, they may route you to Heathrow via another city, such as Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco. Or you may be switched to the last American Airlines flight from DFW to London, giving you several more hours' leeway. But in the event of a long delay you should energetically try to persuade them to book you on the non-stop BA flight nine hours later. Any non-stop hop is less tiring and stressful than a connecting flight. And while you're waiting, you can rent a car and set off for a few hours on one final trip into the magnificent Arizona desert.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
- 4 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 5 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...
Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...