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I will be on an international travel from Europe to Central America with Star Alliance with stop-over and transfer at Newark Liberty International Airport.

  • I will be arriving at terminal B from Frankfort/Germany with Air Canada (operated by United).

  • 1.5 hours later my connecting flight to San Jose/Costa Rica with Lufthansa (operated by United) is leaving at terminal C.

Is it correct that there is an airport terminal shuttle operated by United for Star Alliance passengers which will not require an immigration into the US or another security check?

Is 1.5 hours transfer time enough?

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  • There are a few US airports running a special ITI program for specific flight combinations, but I’m not aware of UA flights at EWR qualifying for this. Unless UA explicitly tell you ITI applies and that you won’t go through CBP nor have to reclaim your bags, I would consider the normal procedure applies (passport/visa control, reclaim luggage, customs, drop bags, security). 1.5 hours seems quite short to me, but if the airline sold you that they think you will make it, and will rebook you on the next flight if you don’t.
    – jcaron
    Aug 30, 2022 at 21:45
  • The two flights are on the same ticket, right?
    – jcaron
    Aug 30, 2022 at 21:45
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    @jcaron I've only seen reference to ATL, DFW and MIA as having ITI programs, but I haven't found a definitive website that lists the airports. This old report apparently lists the airports. I found it in a flyer talk forum
    – Peter M
    Aug 30, 2022 at 21:59
  • @PeterM yes, that program is very elusive. I believe I’ve seen one or two other airports mentioned. In each case it’s usually limited to a single airline, and not necessarily for all flights. Also in DFW IIRC there’s a special program to avoid bag claim & recheck for some connections but you still have to go through passport control.
    – jcaron
    Aug 30, 2022 at 22:02
  • @jcaron what is ITI?
    – phoog
    Aug 31, 2022 at 6:05

2 Answers 2

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You will have to pass through customs and immigration in order to reach your connecting flight. This is typical in the US as they do not have sterile transfers.

The Newark Airport says this about the subject:

For international arriving passengers, you must claim all checked bags at Customs and recheck with your departing airline, even if the bags are checked to your final destination!

The same site says that there is a shuttle bus between the 3 terminals, and that using this bus means you will not have pass through TSA security. However I don't know if you can access the shuttle after passing through immigration and customs, and dropping your bags off again.

United Airlines Operates a shuttle bus between Terminals A and C from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. In addition, United operates a one-way shuttle bus connecting Terminal A to Terminal B and Terminal C to Terminal B between the hours of 1:00 pm and 11:00 pm (i.e., customers in Terminal B cannot use the shuttle bus to go to Terminals A and C). This service is free and you will not have to go through TSA security again. The shuttle bus is available at gate A28, B67, and C70 as illustrated in the image above. Please note this shuttle is operated at the sole responsibility of United Airlines and is subject to modification at their discretion.

1.5 hours does seem tight for this. But the same link also provides you with a link to a portal where you can monitor security and customs times. Doing so will at least give you an idea of whether you need to be an olympic sprinter in order to reach your flight, or just a normal long distance runner.

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Is it correct that there is an airport terminal shuttle operated by United for Star Alliance passengers

Yes

which will not require an immigration into the US or another security check?

No. Since your EWR is your first port of entry, you will have to clear immigration and customs and enter the US. You have to take landside transfer to Terminal C and clear security again.

Is 1.5 hours transfer time enough?

You have a good chance of making it otherwise, the airline wouldn't have sold you the ticket. However, it's on the tight side since immigration is somewhat unpredictable. Your chances depends a lot on whether you have checked luggage, status, Global Entry, TSA Precheck, etc.

Connecting in the US is unfortunately a pain in the neck.

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  • Many thanks, Hilmar. Indeed, a pity...
    – Kaia
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:10

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