We originally booked a flight from Lufthansa from Lyon (France) to Honolulu with a connection at Vancouver Airport. But our flight from Vancouver to Honolulu has been cancelled and replace by 2 flights Vancouver > San Francisco > Honolulu and the connection time at San Francisco airport is only 50 minutes.

We are concerned about connection time and US customs/immigration...

I've read that US custom and immigrations can be done in Vancouver, if so I think we just need to rush out to the next plane (same terminal, same company)

Will 50 minutes be enough ? If not what should we do ?

Lufthansa keep telling us that if they made these changes then we should be good.

  • I doubt that anyone here can tell you more either, than if Lufthansa made these changes, then you will be good. May 7, 2019 at 14:35
  • 2
    It's not so much that it "can" be done in Vancouver as that it will be done there. There are circumstances under which it wouldn't be done in Vancouver, but these will be rare, and the choice is not yours. Either everyone and everything on the plane is precleared, or nobody and nothing is.
    – phoog
    May 7, 2019 at 14:46
  • As others have indicated, your time at YVR is a larger concern than your time at SFO. United has four daily SFO-HNL nonstops, and would rebook you for a later flight if your Vancouver flight is delayed and you misconnect as a result, and Terminal 3 at SFO is a relatively civilized place.
    – choster
    May 7, 2019 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


Yes, you'll go through US customs and immigration in Vancouver (known as "preclearance"; source: US Customs and Border Patrol). That means that changing planes in San Francisco will be just like changing between two domestic flights. You don't mention the length of your layover in Vancouver; I hope it's long enough for you to get through preclearance.

50 minutes is shorter than I'd like for a connection but, as long as your flight from Vancouver isn't more than a few minutes late, you'll make your connection. It'll be stressful but it should be OK. Your baggage will most likely make the connection, too. If your incoming flight is late, then Lufthansa will book you onto yet another alternative flight; if your baggage doesn't make the connection, it will be forwarded to you, probably the next day.

  • Should be fine, then. May 7, 2019 at 15:07
  • With an LH ticket you'll most likely be on a United plane for both segments, so your transfer in SFO will almost certainly be in the same terminal (T3) and take you less than 10 minutes gate to gate. Precleared flights arrive at a domestic gate rather than in the international terminal. May 7, 2019 at 18:24
  • Yes you're right, both arrive at terminal 3. Thank you !
    – benuuts
    May 13, 2019 at 13:48

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