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Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 4:19 am

Intl connection at DFW

Tue May 15, 2018 4:46 am


I'm considering a trip with AA from China to Brazil, connecting in DFW. The estimated time in DFW would be 2h 10m. Is it enough? Some facts to consider:

I have a valid ESTA / Visa Waiver program (saw on DFW website that the immigration process in this case would be more automated).
My flights would land and depart at Terminal D (is there immigration in this terminal or i'd have to move out and come back to it?)

Any help on that would be much appreciated.
Posts: 183
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:54 pm

Re: Intl connection at DFW

Tue May 15, 2018 9:30 am

I arrived in DFW a few times from Europe with an ESTA, but I never connected to an international destination from there (not that there is much of a difference for departing international or domestic flights anyway). I also did not see the latest changes in the immigration hall. So take what I say with a grain of salt.
In the past I experienced everything from 15min to 3.5h from arrival gate to the taxi or departure gate. If everything goes smooth you will not have a problem. But unfortunately they are very creative in creating problems.
These are some places where I had to spend some waiting time, so it may happen to you as well:
-security check directly after arrival
-sometimes long queues in the immigration hall (depending on the time of day, the number and size of international planes arriving at the same time as yours and where they come from, the staffing of the counters, and if all the computer systems work) The immigration hall is in the terminal building, you don't have to go elsewhere.
-collection of your luggage
-customs check
-being singled out for a more intense secondary check
-getting a boarding pass for the onward flight (if you don't have one already)
-rechecking of your luggage
-security check again.
So from my experience I would give you a 70% chance to make your connection.

Please note that other countries may not require you to go through immigration & customs for an international connection, and you may not have to recollect and recheck your luggage. If I have a choice I do international transfers in Europe or places like Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok or Hongkong. The most I had to go through there was a security and a passport check, so a much easier procedure than what they put you through in the USA.

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Re: Intl connection at DFW

Wed May 16, 2018 11:25 pm

From my experience (and as long as everything is in the same ticket/itinerary):

1. You'll likely get an ITI sticker on your passport during the security interview/check-in and a tag that indicates that your bag is NOT to be returned to you at DFW (at least as long as you check in directly with AA, and not with BA like when I left HAM). You may not get the tag, only the sticker if you have to connect somewhere with your AA flight (before arriving in DFW) and you have checked in with e.g. BA at an airport not served by AA. You'd also do the security interview then (like in my case when I connected in LHR).
2. Once you reach immigration at DFW, if you're in transit and with VWP passport, you'll be directed to the green APCs. Those are the ones for those who either travel without checked luggage, or eligible VWP nationalities in transit.
3. You then go to the immigration officer responsible for processing those who go through the green APCs.
4. Once you're good to go, you're directed to an elevator that takes you directly to the check-in area, bypassing customs because you don't have to pick up your bag and recheck it. You only pass through immigration.
5. Go through TSA.

That's it. If you need to change terminals, take the Skytrain, which connects all terminals. The Skytrain is airside, so no need to reclear TSA again. DFW is a wonderful airport, I enjoyed transiting there, but I do recommend that you keep enough connection time (minimum 3 hours).
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