I'm looking at a flight that goes from the US to Europe via Montreal. Is a 52 minute layover in Montreal enough time to get to the next flight? Arrival time in Montreal would be about 8PM.

  • 1
    Are both flights with the same airway?
    – Pierre B
    Mar 13, 2019 at 18:31
  • Use the CanBorder app to shave off a minute or two at immigration. Download before you depart and fill it out before you arrive instead of the landing card. Mar 14, 2019 at 1:45
  • Yes, they are on the same airline, but it will be necessary to change planes.
    – Jagular
    Mar 14, 2019 at 1:46
  • Good to know about CanBorder. Had not known of it before.
    – Jagular
    Mar 14, 2019 at 1:50
  • The answer varies specifically by airport, airline (same/change/codeshare), terminal layout, do you have a terminal change, how long Canadian immigration will take (what is your nationality, passport, visa status and country of residence), do you have only carry-on/checked luggage, how much do you care if your checked luggage doesn't make it...?
    – smci
    Mar 14, 2019 at 2:19

3 Answers 3


Montreal airport has a page you might find useful:

United States-International

After having gone through border control – primary inspection, you will be asked to follow one of two procedures:

  • If your airline offers the option of automatically transferring your luggage, you will be directed to the international departures area.

  • If your airline does not offer the option of automatically transferring your luggage, you will have to pick it up yourself from the carousel, then follow the normal procedure for international arrivals and then for international departures.

For USA->International connections, you need to find out if your airline offers the option of automatically transferring your luggage.

If that is the case, you don't have to "clear customs" in a traditional sense at all (in Canada) and you have to simply walk over to the international departure gate. You shouldn't have a problem, unless your flight is delayed. You still have to go through "border control" (speak to a Canadian border agency worker, provide evidence of transit visa or lack of need for one, attest you aren't carrying certain goods, etc).

If it isn't the case, then you will have to get your luggage, clear Canadian customs, and only then proceed to the departure gate. This will be much trickier to pull off.

  • 1
    There is a flight connections channel before the main border control, worth noting that seems to only be for passengers travelling from international to US flights.
    – Carl
    Apr 1, 2019 at 20:31

Possibly, if you didn't have to re-check your luggage. Canadian immigration is pretty speedy. But it's a tight connection, and a small amount of bad luck could easily lead to a missed flight, and then you'd be stuck in Montreal overnight (a pleasant place to be stuck, but still). I would never ever try it unless it was a single-ticket, guaranteed connection. (And I also wouldn't do it unless I could easily afford the extra costs for overnight accommodation and whatever messes it would make for my destination plans.)

  • I'm always dubious when offered a connected time that's less than an hour. There appear to be earlier flights to Montreal, so gambling on the short connection probably isn't necessary.
    – Jagular
    Mar 13, 2019 at 16:19
  • In addition, I would check if there are similar flights few hours later. In this case the risk is just that you will be put in later flight. But on intercontinental flights, the probability that next flight (with a partner airline) is next day is high. Mar 13, 2019 at 16:41
  • Not necessarily overnight, I should think. For example, if the scheduled flight is tonight's 9:00 Air Canada departure to London Heathrow, they could re-route the delayed traveler through Toronto in time for the flight that leaves at five minutes after midnight. (@GiacomoCatenazzi)
    – phoog
    Mar 13, 2019 at 17:02
  • 1
    When this happened to me, Air Canada picked up the hotel room. Mar 13, 2019 at 17:41
  • 1
    @Sneftel It was, in fact, bad weather which disqualified the intended crew, and I don't believe they were obligated. But international travelers could, I suppose, always think to transfer somewhere else and avoid AC entirely, so they did it. Mar 13, 2019 at 17:49

Air Canada note that 40 minutes is the minimum time, although they note this only applies for Air Canada/Jazz flights. I'd personally want to allow more time though

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