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Old Nov 1, 17, 1:01 am #1
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LAX vs SFO International connection

I am flying from Sydney Australia to Denver in April. I have the option for an hour and a half connection in San Francisco or an hour and 45 minute connection at LAX. Do you have thoughts on which of these would be better for an international connection? Thank you!
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Old Nov 1, 17, 4:58 am #2
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Originally Posted by Brena View Post
I am flying from Sydney Australia to Denver in April. I have the option for an hour and a half connection in San Francisco or an hour and 45 minute connection at LAX. Do you have thoughts on which of these would be better for an international connection? Thank you!
Both of those connections are way too tight for my comfort level, however, depending on additional information, one or both may be doable.

Which airline(s)? Will you be traveling on one ticket or two? If you are traveling on one ticket, you may be protected on a later flight in case that you misconnect.

What passport are you traveling on? If it is not a US passport, you qualify for ESTA? Have you previously entered the US with your current passport/ESTA? It may affect your ability to use the automated passport control kiosks. Do you have Global Entry? How fast you pass through immigration controls will greatly be affected by these factors.

Will you have checked luggage? It can take up to an hour for checked bags to show up on the luggage carousel at the international terminal at LAX.
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Old Nov 1, 17, 5:00 am #3

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I wouldn't do either of these, allow at least 2h30 for a lower stress experience
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Old Nov 1, 17, 6:55 am #4
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Thanks for your thoughts.

I'm flying United on one ticket, have a US passport, Global Entry, and have checked luggage.
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Old Nov 1, 17, 11:25 am #5
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Being a US passport holder with GE helps a lot. With carry on luggage only, I usually get from the plane to the curb at LAX (TBIT) in fifteen minutes or less, so it all depends on how fast your bags arrive on the carrousel.

Most of United's international arrivals at LAX go through customs and immigration processing in T6, not TBIT. I'm told that the FIS facility in T6 is a dump.

United's international to domestic minimum connect time at LAX was 70 minutes a few years ago. I have no idea if that has changed. That being said, if United is selling you that itinerary, it is a legal connection.

UA has plenty of daily flights from LAX to DEN; if you misconnect due to a late arrival and/or slow immigration and customs processing, you will be protected on a later flight.

LAX is less prone to weather delays than SFO.

I'll now defer to the SFO experts to weigh in.


P.S.
You may wish to take a look at the following threads in the United forum:
Consolidated Connection time/logistics-Domestic & International at LAX

Consolidated Connection time/logistics-Domestic & International at SFO
There is also a lot of useful information in the Los Angeles forum:
2017 LAX Connecting / Connection / Connections thread

Consolidated "Customs and Immigration at LAX" thread
Let me just note that we have a rule against cross-posting. Should you decide to post in those threads, please ask just about the feasibility of the connection at the airport that is the subject of the thread.
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Old Nov 1, 17, 1:19 pm #6

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UA870 arrives at SFO at 6:40am and there's about 10 flights a day SFO-DEN, 9 of which leave after OP's arrival time from SYD. For that reason I'd be OK with SFO. Just be aware of the possibility of being bumped to a later flight to DEN.

On a second leg with less frequency I would say find something else.
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Old Nov 1, 17, 2:22 pm #7
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Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
Being a US passport holder with GE helps a lot. With carry on luggage only, I usually get from the plane to the curb at LAX (TBIT) in fifteen minutes or less, so it all depends on how fast your bags arrive on the carrousel.

Most of United's international arrivals at LAX go through customs and immigration processing in T6, not TBIT. I'm told that the FIS facility in T6 is a dump.

United's international to domestic minimum connect time at LAX was 70 minutes a few years ago. I have no idea if that has changed. That being said, if United is selling you that itinerary, it is a legal connection.

UA has plenty of daily flights from LAX to DEN; if you misconnect due to a late arrival and/or slow immigration and customs processing, you will be protected on a later flight.

LAX is less prone to weather delays than SFO.

I'll now defer to the SFO experts to weigh in.


P.S.
You may wish to take a look at the following threads in the United forum:
Consolidated Connection time/logistics-Domestic & International at LAX

Consolidated Connection time/logistics-Domestic & International at SFO
There is also a lot of useful information in the Los Angeles forum:
2017 LAX Connecting / Connection / Connections thread

Consolidated "Customs and Immigration at LAX" thread
Let me just note that we have a rule against cross-posting. Should you decide to post in those threads, please ask just about the feasibility of the connection at the airport that is the subject of the thread.
Thank you so much for the helpful information!
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Old Nov 1, 17, 2:28 pm #8
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
UA870 arrives at SFO at 6:40am and there's about 10 flights a day SFO-DEN, 9 of which leave after OP's arrival time from SYD. For that reason I'd be OK with SFO. Just be aware of the possibility of being bumped to a later flight to DEN.

On a second leg with less frequency I would say find something else.
Thank you!
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Old Nov 6, 17, 3:53 am #9
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Normally, immigration is much smoother at SFO than LAX but with global entry, they're both fine. However, SFO is a lot smaller airport and it's way easier to transfer. On UA, you can just go up the escalator to your right when you exit customs and pass by the international security check. If there's no long wait, you can go through security since right after security there is an airside passage to domestic. Otherwise, walk to domestic and go through security there.

If you have time and happen to be Amex Plat, using either international or the first domestic security, you'll walk by the Centurion club and can pop in for a free meal.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 7:22 pm #10

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Doesn't UA SYD-LAX get processed at TBIT (too early for CBP T6/7 opening time)? If so it's a long walk or equivalent-time bus ride from TBIT to T7. That will cancel out the 15 extra minutes.

SYD arrivals into SFO/LAX are not subject to weather delays, and early morning departures LAX/SFO to DEN are not affected by weather delays.
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