I am travelling from India to the United States. My final destination in the United States is Houston. But there are 2 layovers in between. So, the flight is from New Delhi to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Detroit and then from Detroit to Houston. So, for this case, I have some questions/doubts as follows:-

  1. What would be a port of entry in the United States?
  2. If the port of entry is Detroit, then their layover is of 1 hour 47 minutes. Since at port of entry, the immigration and customs check would happen, so is that time sufficient to get these things done and board next flight? Also, in this case, would I have to take check in bags from the 1st airline and then again checked them in flight from Detroit to Houston?
  3. Will the flight from Detroit to Houston also have international baggage policy? or would it have domestic baggage policy?

This itinerary is of 1 airline only(i.e. KLM) and please find it attached. I wanted to verify these things before finalising the booking.

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  • 4
    If you book a single ticket, the airline will make arrangements if you miss your connection. Your Port of entry is Detroit; you'll cross immigration there, pick up your luggage, pass customs, recheck your bag (via bag drop), cross security, and go to your connecting flight. Your Houston flight is domestic. Aug 24, 2017 at 5:51
  • Just as an amplification, one ticket usually means one PNR (the 6 digit code). If you've got all that on one ticket, the airline is "responsible" for your itinerary once you embark. If you did it separately, then there is no such responsibility for missed connections.
    – Aaron
    Aug 25, 2017 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


Typically the door close time is about 15 minutes before take off, best case ten minutes. You have 97 minutes to

  1. get off the plane
  2. get to immigration
  3. cross immigration
  4. collect your bags
  5. cross customs
  6. drop your bags en way to security
  7. cross security
  8. get to your gate

If, on average, each is just above 12 minutes you are already late. And the only one I would guess is below 12 minutes is 4. but only because 3. will be so long that by the time you are done, your bags will wait for you. Some I can do better than guess, https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/wait_times_detail.aspx reports security wait times at this time of the day to be 11-20 minutes.

And there is the matter of the plane possibly being late...

This is not doable. KLM might sell you the ticket and will take care of you (put on a later flight, pay hotel if necessary) -- but expect to miss your flight to Houston.

  • 1
    I agree that he's likely to miss his flight, but won't call it "not doable". With a some luck and running he may make it. It might be worth trying - either you make it, or they put you on the next flight.
    – ugoren
    Aug 24, 2017 at 9:14
  • It all depends on the immigration queue and the punctuality of the incoming plane.
    – chx
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:04
  • 4
    I think there is a lot of wrong assumptions in that. I have gone through the process a hundred times, and it typically is no problem under sixty minutes. His chances are easily 80+%. The airline would sell the ticket if they'd not think there is a good chance.
    – Aganju
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:05
  • Agree with @Aganju. This is definitely doable and very likely to succeed.
    – mdd
    Aug 24, 2017 at 13:51
  • 12 minutes seems arbitrary. Also most airports will let you skip the security line (not the process, just the line) if you are late for a connection. Aug 25, 2017 at 16:54

The minimum connection time (MCT) at the Detroit airport for international to domestic connections is 1h30 (source), so with your 1h47 connection you should be fine. Note that for Delta-Delta connections (which is probably the case for you itinerary), the MCT is even lower, 1h20. Note also that immigration, customs, bag re-check, security, etc. are already factored into this minimum connection time.

Regarding your other questions:

  1. Your port of entry is Detroit.
  2. Yes, this is sufficient time (see above). Yes, you have to pick up your bags, go through customs with them, and re-check them. There will be a special baggage re-check just after customs, so this is fast.
  3. Your baggage allowance should stay the same from the international flight (baggage policy is per-ticket, not per-flight).

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