My flight is this coming Saturday, 27th of October 2018. This is my first time travelling to the US. I've got a tourist visa. My itinerary says that my flight here in Toronto leaves at 6:15 pm to LAX, arriving at 8:43 pm. I have a connecting flight from LAX to SFO which leaves at 9:30 pm.

The flights are on the same airline.

I've searched on google on how layover works in an international flight. I've read that you have to go through customs and immigration and need to claim and recheck your baggage. When I saw that I was sort of confused because I have less than an hour of layover. Can someone help me what to do? I'm worried sick because I might miss my next flight. I appreciate your quick response to whomever is reading this.

  • 3
    There's an US preclearance facility at Toronto Pearson; unless the airline you're flying with doesn't use it, you will arrive in Los Angeles in the same way domestic flights do, and connecting should pretty painless. Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 16:12
  • 1
    Also, if this is on one ticket, if you miss the connecting flight at LAX due to a delay on the incoming flight from Toronto, the airline will rebook you on the next available flight. LAX-SFO is a very popular route with several flights per day, so you shouldn't have to wait very long. Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 16:29
  • I think the OP says this is American Airlines (lack of capitalization makes it unclear). My recollection is they participate in pre-clearance, so the connection at LAX is going to be quick. Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 16:31
  • hi y'all! thanks for your comments. but may i ask if how the US preclearance works? and in what terminal in toronto pearson should i go to? because american airlines is on terminal 3. i've searched about it on google but didn't show much information.
    – mae vee
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 18:06
  • and yes it is a one ticket flight, so if i do the pre clearance here in toronto then i will no longer pass through the customs and immigrations in LAX and will be going straight to my boarding gate?
    – mae vee
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


US border preclearance in Toronto is performed by US Customs officers in the terminal of departure and all formal US entry procedures will happen there. Once cleared, your luggage and yourself are effectively domestic passengers and will deplane in LAX at a domestic gate. There are US Customs preclearance facilities in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. There is no need to claim your bags in LAX, they will have cleared customs in Toronto and will be checked through to SFO. Pearson says be at the airport 3 hours before departure for morning flight, and as long as you make it to the airport on time, you'll be fine.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_border_preclearance American Airlines asked for this service to be established in 1952 in Toronto.

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