I am taking a flight from LHR to LAX (American Airlines) arriving 8th February 2023 at 19:05 at Terminal B. I will then be taking a connecting flight to Melbourne at 21:05 (American Airlines)- also from Terminal B.

This is a single ticket confirmed by AA. Will this two hours be sufficient for a layover/transfer? I'm seeing conflicting information online about the requirement for baggage pick-up, clearing customs and TSA. Will I have to do all these things within this time? Is there staff that can help expedite me through this?

Any information would be much appreciated.

  • 1
    Did American sell this to you on a single ticket? If so, then they think that the time is sufficient, and they will take care of you if you don't make the connection (though with such long flights that could mean arriving a day or more later than planned). The degree to which airline staff can or will expedite your connection varies, and I have no experience with this at LAX, which is why I am not posting an answer.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 12:08
  • Thanks for your reply. Yes it is a single ticket that I bought through a travel company. AA have confirmed it's all one ticket too. They said the minimum time for transfer is 2 hours and this is exactly on 2 hours. I just wondered anecdotally if this is possible. Thanks again.
    – Moreo12
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 12:39
  • 1
    It's certainly possible but there is a non-trivial risk of not making it. You can look up recent wait times or you terminal and arrival time here: awt.cbp.gov. A lot of this depends on your details: status, fare class, nationality, known traveler number, etc. With Global Entry and TSAPre Check that's a no brainer unless your incoming is significant delayed or they loose one of your bags.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 13:50
  • 1
    Also don't forget that, if you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, you will need to meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirement to enter the US.
    – user102008
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 17:26
  • Thank you, I had forgotten about that! I'm fully vacc'ed but might've forgotten to download the QR code. Very helpful.
    – Moreo12
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


Yes, you will have to:

  • have the required paperwork to enter the US (US passport or green card or visa or ESTA)
  • Go through passport control
  • Reclaim your checked luggage
  • Go through customs
  • Drop your bags just after customs. They will already have tags to your final destination so it takes seconds, no queuing at check-in or anything like that
  • Go through security

A few years ago thinking one could do it in less than 2 hours would have been madness, especially for a non US citizen/PR.

Apparently the process has much improved recently and airports and airlines now think that this doable and sell such connections (though I have personally no experience with this).

Note that given the hassle for them if you miss the connection, airlines usually only sell connections they think have a good chance of being done in time.

If you miss your connection they will have to reroute you and possibly provide a hotel, pay for meals, etc. Remember that (in this direction) you are covered by the UK equivalent of EC261. You shouldn’t be out of pocket but you could face a signifiant delay. It’s a good idea to know alternative flights / routings in case you may need them, it might speed up the rerouting process.

Make sure you have all you need in your carry-on for a longer-than-expected trip (especially medication, but possibly whatever you need to spend the night if it comes to that).

  • Many thanks for your reply. I have called AA and Qantas to see if this could have been an error. The staff said the minimum transit time is 2 hours and I'm bang on that. Frustratingly there isn't much information online about international to international transits. Would you recommend I only take hand luggage to speed it up?
    – Moreo12
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 19:24
  • @Moreo12 Remember they expect it to work out, they don’t want to end up having to pay hotels and compensation etc. The longest part used to be queuing for passport control, with all the kiosks and preprocessing things should be quicker now. It’s of course easier if your flight is early or or one, you are towards the front of the plane, are a US citizen or PR or part of a trusted traveler programme, but it should still be perfectly doable in the vast majority of cases, just don’t waste time.
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 21:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .