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I'm currently choosing between flying from the EU to Seattle via JFK or via Amsterdam/Paris/London. The flight via JFK is much more convenient, but there's only 1h25m between the inbound EU flight and the outbound Seattle flight. A related question mentions that this would be a very tight connection - but it seems to be assuming that short connection passengers are not given priority? I.e. in Seattle airport there's a special queue for short connection passengers and they also go first in line for immigration.

Personally I hold a Global Entry card and won't have checked in luggage, but my travel partner doesn't have Global Entry so I have to take that into consideration.

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  • PS: I'm well aware that this is almost a duplicate of a related question. But I felt like the aspect of "can I skip the queues" specifically makes it good enough to keep open. But if you disagree - feel free to vote to close :-)
    – JonathanReez
    May 10, 2022 at 19:21

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From my experience short connection customers are not given any priority in any of the US airports (including JFK, although I try to avoid it usually so my experience is stale). You can ask nicely to be allowed to skip the queue and the CBP or the airport attendant usually administering the queue may or may not let you. It is your responsibility, not theirs, to book reasonable connections.

That said, recently major US airports upgraded their systems to use computerized immigration checks, so the queues may move much faster than they used to. For global entry it takes literally minutes, and you can try go that route, but the CBP person may still send your partner to the general queue. If they're nice enough they will send your partner directly to the CBP officer available next, which will solve your problem, but wouldn't count on CBP folks being nice. It did work for me once in a similar situation at SFO.

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  • I can confirm SEA does have a separate short connections queue, so at least one does :)
    – JonathanReez
    May 11, 2022 at 18:58
  • I've also used a separate queue for connections, I think at IAH but my memory is fuzzy.
    – user38879
    May 11, 2022 at 22:21

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