Is 2.5 hrs connecting time in Los Angeles enough for customs and immigration and catch the flight to Austin. Its a single ticket but different airlines.

I would be arriving at LA on a Monday/Tuesday evening around 4 PM.

Arriving via Asiana Airlines - Terminal B and Departing Via United Airlines Express domestic - Terminal 8

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    What terminals? – jcaron Oct 11 '18 at 5:04
  • It arrives in Terminal TB - Asiana Airlines and my connecting flight is United Airlines Express – Niki Oct 11 '18 at 6:39
  • Aah ok..Thats very helpful..am actually traveling with my 5 year old so not sure If I can take the risk..Not an US citizen so I believe immigration would take time..in a dilemma now as this is one of the best options given my time constraint.. – – Niki Oct 11 '18 at 10:06
  • One ticket or separate bookings ? – Hilmar Oct 11 '18 at 12:14
  • One ticket, not seperate – Niki Oct 11 '18 at 15:24

Typical immigration wait times are so-so around 4pm at TBIT: the average is often around 20 minutes (depends if you're a US citizen or not), but the max wait if you're in the back of the line can be closer to an hour. And it doesn't help that Terminal 8 is about as far as it gets at LAX: there's a shuttle bus outside that runs every 10 minutes or it's about 6/10ths of a mile walk.

It should be doable if all goes well (since the airline sells it as a single ticket, they at least consider it possible): your inbound flight isn't delayed, no extra-long line at immigration or customs, no extra-long line at TSA security. But it doesn't leave a ton of margin if there are delays. Since this is a single ticket, the airline will rebook you on a later flight if you don’t make it.

The catch is, it looks like that evening flight to Austin is the last United direct flight there of the night (there's a Southwest flight at 7:20), so if you miss it, you could well be stuck in Los Angeles overnight, as there really isn't an alternate routing that makes sense to get you there faster. Whether that's a risk you're comfortable assuming will depend on your circumstances and your need to be in Austin on time.

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  • Do note if the airline sold it as a single ticket and the incoming flight was late, they are on the hook for paying for the hotel. I have no idea what are the obligations of the airline if immigration or security makes you miss your flight. I had one such before and Alaska rebooked me on United despite not even being in the same alliance but that doesn't mean by itself, by far, that even Alaska much less United "we break guitars and beat passengers" Airlines would always do it. – chx Oct 11 '18 at 8:25
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    @chx Unless something like EU passenger rights apply, United will disclaim responsibility for the hotel if the cause of the delay is outside of their control (and you get into the whole "United blames Asiana" game), and they'll always blame weather unless the cause of the delay is obviously something like a mechanical problem. I'd be prepared to cover the cost of a hotel (or travel insurance). Even if they're willing to rebook you on another carrier, which does happen, there just aren't really routes that don't involve an overnight somewhere once the Southwest flight leaves. – Zach Lipton Oct 11 '18 at 8:33

You should be OK if you hustle. I like to leave 3hr or so when flying in to LAX from overseas. The longest part of your journey will be the walk from the international terminal to terminal 8, and going through security when you get there. Luggage push carts are free in the international terminal, and that can make the walk a little easier if you have big bags.

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