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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    70

    Default Customs in Charlotte

    I was just looking over our itinerary because we leave in 11 days! YAY!! However, I'm getting nervous because we only have 1.5 hours on a Saturday between landing and our connecting flight in Charlotte. We had 2 hours in Mexico and did ok in Denver. Just wanted feedback on if we're actually going to be able to make this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    446

    Default

    That has been our layover time in the past in Charlotte and we've always had time to spare. That airport is so easy to get through and to where you are to be that we've never had any problems, and I predict you will be just fine as well. So to answer, yes I think you'll make the flight.

  3. #3

    Default

    We fly through CLT all the time to/from the Caribbean/Mexico & usually have a 1 hr 10 min to a 1 hr 30 min layover coming home. You should be ok, but you just might not have time to grab something to eat before you board your flight home.

    Try to go to the bathroom on the plane so you don't have to waste time before getting in the Immigration line at CLT.

    Timing, of course, is everything. You could get really lucky & be the only plane that has just landed. Or, there could be 2 or 3 planes that land all around the same time. You just never know.

    It just occurred to me.......I couldn't tell if you meant 1.5 hr layover going TO jamaica or coming home (I assume you meant coming home bec/ of your subject line, but).... If you meant on your way down TO Jamaica, then 1.5 hrs will be plenty of time. You should even have time to eat. We usually have only about an hour layover in CLT going to Jamaica, Mexico, etc. & almost always have time to eat at the food court.

    CLT is our favorite airport. So easy to navigate -- all the terminals are accessed from 1 central area so you don't have to waste time taking shuttles to other terminals.

    http://www.airportterminalmaps.com/c...minal-map.html

  4. #4

    Default

    You should be ok. We were in a very long line in Charlotte and were through it in 30 minutes. We got to our gate in plenty of time. I think we had about a 2 hr layover. Only thing is if a lot of international flights are coming in at the same time and/or if your flight from MBJ is delayed.

    Tammie & Mike
    CTI-Feb'08/CSA-Dec'08/CSA&CN-Mar'11
    CSS Mar'12/CSA Nov '12/CSA Dec '13/CSA Feb '15

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    866

    Default

    Kind of depends on when you land. We have always had the short layover and go through customs in Charlotte. The first year, I swore we were going to miss our next flight, we did not, that was the closest in 4 flights on a Sunday. The last trip did not count as it was a Wednesday, and we had the line pretty much to ourselves. Sit close to the front of the plane, and walk quickly you should be ok I think.

  6. #6

    Default

    Our last 2 years we did not make it with 2 hour layover coming home, going a 1 1/2 hours should be fine.

  7. #7

    Default

    Really depends on how many international flights are landing the same time yours is. We missed our connecting flight out of Charlotte on Sunday night because three planes landed around the same time as ours did. And, if you think they will hold the plane for you, think again. We actually arrived at our gate ten minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, and the doors were already closed. FYI, this was a US Airways flight to Phoenix. For this reason, we booked a different flight with a longer layover this year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,272

    Default

    Charlotte is the best airport to fly in/out of for customs. The airport is small and you can quickly get around. No need for concern. You are good to go! Enjoy!!!
    Juliann & Jeff
    Jamaica Soon Come

  9. #9

    Default

    We had a similar timeframe in October of 2011 on a Saturday. There were several flights that landed at the same time. We missed our connecting flight back. It wasn't that big of a deal, just inconvenient! We spent the night at a hotel and flew home the next day.

  10. #10

    Default

    D&A913,
    Do you mean on your way home? You probably will just make it okay, depending on the lines in customes. We go thru Charlotte customs frequently and it just depends on how many flights are coming in at the same time. One piece of advice is to NEVER go to the restroom in customs at the same time. We did this once, and when I came out of the restroom 5 billion people arrived, and we nearly missed our connection. So go one at a time and save your place in line! I like 2 hours when connecting, and having to go thru customs, but we have done it in less than 1.5 hours without a problem any times.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    60

    Default

    We went thru Charlotte on Mar 21st with no problems but on return flight Mar.28th customs took us about 30 mins and security took about an hour. Needless to say, we did not make our connecting flight. We had to seek another flight from Charlotte. I believe it was because it was spring break week that the lines were so long and time consuming. Customs went much faster than security did. Just thought I let you know what we encountered in Charlotte. We travel in and out of Jamaica on a Thursday.

  12. #12

    Default

    It will be close, depending on how many other International flights come in at the same time. I flew into Charlotte and had about an hour and ten minutes to get to my next flight. Till we got through customs, and went through the security check, we missed our flight and got on one 2 hours later. From now on, I fly into Philly and avoid Charlotte.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    154

    Default

    Piece of cake. We did it in under one hour due to a delay, easily, without rushing. Charlotte is a dream compared to Atlanta or Denver in that regard. I now will pay extra for a flight that connects in Charlotte if it's not too much.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Yes, I meant on our way HOME.....unfortunate to even be thinking about that Thanks for the mostly positive feedback! We bought trip insurance, if we miss our connecting flight do you know if that's covered? I've tried to contact Expedia to find out because it's unclear to me.

    We are making the connecting US Airways flight to Phoenix, so hopefully we don't have any issues! We could leave 2 hours earlier (at 9am) but at the time of booking I opted for the 10:55am departure instead.

    Thanks for the tip on the bathrooms! I have a bunny bladder and would probably have tried to hit the bathrooms - I'll be going on the plane!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Checked with trip insurance and they only pay the change fees, not any difference in fare. For those of your that MISSED your connection, did US airways charge you for the new flight or was it free of charge? Mr. Expedia customer services feels US airways should pay because by giving me this reservation they are telling me the connection time is adequate. It's scary though because if we missed the flight and got put on the next -we'd only have 46 minutes to connect in Phoenix. Can't win! In hindsight I should have sucked it up and had us leave at 9am. It would cost me $840 to make that change today

    Thanks for helping everyone! Can't wait for our trip!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Not sure if my first post went through - yes I am talking about returning home on this flight.

  17. #17

    Default

    When we missed ours it was no charge for a later flight.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    60

    Default

    In regards to US Airways, we miss our flight in Charlotte due to Immigration and Security lines. No we were not charged for the new flight. We did pay the difference on a upgrade to first class from coach. This was only because all coach seats were booked and would not be able to fly home until the next day. First class was all that was available and we paid a $50 difference on each seat. US airways made it known to us, that Immigration and Security is a separate entity and US Airways is not liable for any delays.

  19. #19

    Default

    D&A913, US Airways booked us on their next flight, no charge.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Hopefully we don't miss our connection. Thanks SO much for all the feedback. I'm glad for both of you on Us airways - that the later flight was not charged to you. That would help lessen the blow if we do miss our connection

    9 days and a sleep until paradise!

  21. #21

    Default

    Sorry to highjack the thread but this post has made me very nervous... my husband and I are flying novices so any and all guidance is appreciated.
    We also have a layover in Charlotte but it's on the flight TO Jamaica so we won't have to worry about customs but our layover is only 51 minutes. It's between 0844 am-0935 am on a Friday. Will we have enough time? Does anyone know if the Charlotte airport is typically busy at that time of the morning on a Friday?

    But the thing that has me most worried is our return flight... our layover is in Philly and we only have 1h 14m on a Sunday afternoon. YIKES We come in terminal A at 430 pm and depart terminal F at 544 pm .... Does anyone have experience with the Philly airport? I've read that it's not great. Is this doable? I can only assume Sunday nights are a busy time.

    Initially we had more time both ways but our flight schedules changed twice and with each change time was shaved off each layover.

    Since this is just our return flight I won't stress as much as I would if it were our departing flight...However... I still want to make our flight so we actually get home on that Sunday. We have to deal with kids and work schedules.

  22. #22

    Default

    chadandtoni,
    A 51 minute layover in CLT, going to Jamaica, should be fine. Our layovers are often less than an hour & we still have time to grab a quick bite to eat (but, we're Preferred & get to board anytime, so we don't worry too much about the boarding queue) & then walk over to Terminal D. There is a moving sidewalk down part of the hall to D, so that helps w/ time.

    Usually, on the way to MBJ in CLT, they want you to check in w/ the agents at the gate (before they start the boarding process). They check passports & make a mark on your boarding passes. So, leave a few minutes for that.

    With PHL coming home.......ugh is all I say to that !! Flying back in to the U.S. from an int'l flight, you go through Immigration (can be long lines), then claim your luggage, then you go through Customs (shorter lines than Immigration -- here, you only hand in the form you filled out on the plane), then you will have to re-check your luggage, then you'll have to take a shuttle to your other terminal. We haven't flown into PHL from an int'l flight in a few years, so some of that order may be off.

    Anyway, walk as quickly as you can (no dawdling). Like I suggested in my post above, go to the bathroom on the plane, so you don't have to waste time in the terminal once you land. That few minutes can make the difference.

    But, having said all that, don't be nervous. It always seems to work out. And, don't be surprised if your plane to your final destination doesn't leave right on schedule either. We always hope for a slight delay to give us a little more time (of course you can't usually find that out til you can see a departure monitor).

    There's nothing like a nice stressful layover coming home to make a relaxing vacation fade quickly from your mind !!

    Jackie

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    328

    Default

    I actually have found ATL to be very easy as well. Just my experience, I suppose. We just got back from CSS on Sat, 3/23. Landed in ATL around 5pm (30 minutes late) and we only had a 2 hour connection to start with. I was a little worried about making it to our connection but knew there was a later flight out if needed. After it was all said and done (get off the plane and we were in the "back of the bus"), went through passport check, got our bags, went through customs, re-checked bags, went through security (and even got stopped to check one of our carry on's), got on the Tram from Intl Terminal to Concourse B (so further away) and walked up to our gate)... 22 minutes in total. I was impressed but there weren't any lines.
    Linda & Nick
    CSA - Oct 2004 (for our wedding!!!)
    CN - March 2006, Nov 2013
    CSS - March 2013

  24. #24

    Default

    Chadandtoni, on your flight over, you have nothing to worry about, unless you plan on stopping and eating breakfast. The flights are all in the same terminal, so easy walk to the next gate. In fact, you probably even do have time to grab a breakfast sandwich.

  25. #25

    Default

    I appreciate the info. I'm more at ease about our layover in Charlotte but I wish I could say the same thing about Philly. It's all the unknown's (will there be long lines at immigration/customs) and the things that are beyond our control (will the flights be late) that have me stressed (I know, I know... why stress over something that we have no control over).
    You have hit the nail on the head though with your statement about a stressful travel experience erasing all the good of a relaxing vacation. SIGH I just need to think positive thoughts that all will be fine. I will ruin my vacation before it even happens if I continue to stress over this.

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