Flying across the pond
We are planning a Med cruise for summer '10. This will be our first to to fly out of the US (excluding Canada) so please pardon the stupid question.
Let's say I'm sailing out of Rome (yet to be decided). I might have a flight like IND - JFK - FCO with the return being a reverse of that.
If I understand correctly the outbound flight from IND to JFK would be like any domestic flight. What happens there? Do we have to retrieve luggage? Do we head to an international terminal to got the trans-Atlantic flight? And, what happens if we change planes in Europe?
Then the reverse, if I understand correctly we would clear customs at JFK. Is that right? That means we have to get our luggage first, does that involve leaving security. Do we check in with the airline again to get rid of the bags?
That's a lot of questions, but the driving question is how much time should be allow to make the connection at JFK. Some of the times I'm seeing seem a little optimistic for what I anticipate encountering.
A secondary question is "why am I not asking my TA". The answer is because you guys are so smart!
Re: Flying across the pond
you are correct in what you stated about checking in. you will connect from IND to JFK like you would a domestic flight, no bag claim needed.
on the way in from FCO to JFK, you will be directed to an international terminal where you have to claim your bags, recheck them at the customs security counter *just like checking in to fly out* and then be on your way to your gate.
if your times are too close together, you will not make it. it takes a while.
good luck :)
Are all your flights on the same airline? If so it will be easier to go from terminal to terminal. We had a different airline for germany to LAX so we had to leave the secure area, then go back through the security check point it was a pain in the bass. Had I booked the same airline I could have just gone down three gates. But hey I saved money. LOL
You don't have to worry about your bags, they will move to the next plane without your help (hopefully). If you are on a different airline you want to be sure which is your next gate is and hightail it over there quickly. Some of these security check points are a pain. :-?
You do clear customs in JFK, I can't remeber if we grabbed our luggage or not :?: . Customs in LAX was quite a bit faster than I expected. BTW I avoided JFK. It's a large messy airport hard to get around. Have you purchased your tickets yet? If not look for alternative routes. We did a Transatlantic cruise so I only had to put up with that headache once.
every time we checked in internationally we had to get our bags...it was a big pain in the arse....
You go through TSA screening after you check in at IND. At check-in your bags will be bar-coded and tagged and will not be seen again until you reach Rome. Then you go through Italian Customs - as you enter the country.
On leaving Rome, you will again go through screening security. Your bags will be tagged for IND but on entering the US at JFK you will need to collect them, go through Customs and Immigration and then outside the Customs hall will be an area where you deposit your luggage for onward flights..
Check your tickets for differing terminals. Most commonly all the domestic flights go out of one terminal and all International leave from another, you may have to get internal train to connect over or walk...
These instructions apply to having the same airline for each flight!!
If you have booked different airlines for each leg of your flight, ask at the check in desk what you need to do re luggage.
Have never been to JFK so can't really say but the where I come from it is advised to try to avoid that airport, just like you really need to avoid Heathrow. There are just some airports with to much trouble.
Depending on your choices and funds you can select your route to be the most convenient and through easy airports.
I have good (and smooth) experienc e.g. with Atlanta International.
Since we usually fly the other way around, I always try to make the pond-jump on the first leg of the trip (while going 'on' vacation) because local flights are much more frequent then intercontinental flight. At least then you know your luggage is on the same side of the Atlantic as you are and you will probably be re-united with it the same day.
When going home.... I don't really care as I'm going back to a filled closet.
Lots of questions? Correct.
Some things to consider that were not asked.
From the US to Europe...
This hint has diminished in value, depending on the airline. Book the flight from your origination airport to your destination airport. This way, your luggage allowance is (or is supposed to be), whatever the international allowance is, vs domestic allowance.
If you change planes in Europe, any duty free liquor you bought in a US airport must be packaged in a manner acceptable to EU standards, or it will be confiscated.
If you choose to stopover in a European city and reboard a plane to your final destination in a day or three, there are new rules for your luggage, based on weight, not pieces, and you probably won't like them.
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