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I am from Uruguay (South America), and I am trying to book a flight that goes from MVD to Tokyo, and goes back via Manila to MVD. I have found this flight with United, but the return seems too risky, since it only has 1 hour and 20 minutes in SFO to make an International to Domestic flight. What do you think? Returning on time is not critical as I have flexibility at work.

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  • If you were eligible for Global Entry, that would make this connection far easier, both for immigration and for security. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't look like citizens of Uruguay are eligible (though Argentinians, Brazilians, Colombians, and Panamanians are.)
    – reirab
    Jan 25 at 23:25

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I agree that 1:20 for international to domestic at SFO is quite risky, you can easily spend an hour at the immigration line alone and then you need to pick up your bag, clear Customs, recheck your bag and go through TSA as well.

However, this is all United's problem: it's a single ticket and 80 minutes is apparently United's published minimum connection time, so if you miss a flight, United will put you on the next one. If you're willing to take the risk of being delayed by a day or so, go for it?

All that said, 34+ hours on the move with four separate flights, presumably in economy class, sounds pretty brutal. In your shoes I would definitely book a stopover or two along the way just to get some rest.

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  • Thanks for the input, do you think a stopover on SFO would be a good idea? In practice I am not sure if a prefer delaying the return with a bit of rest or to suffer in a single run? Do you have experience with such long returns? Also, do you know how merciful will be United if I miss that flight due to customs being too long? As in, will I have to have a long discussion or is this straightforward?
    – Rendezvous
    Jan 23 at 19:58
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    For a 1:20 connection United is unlikely to make a fuss if you miss it. That's probably right at the minimum connection time they allow for that. You can check at awt.cbp.gov for recent wait times for your specific situation & weekday arrival and citizen status. For breaking up the flight I recommend asking a separate question.
    – Hilmar
    Jan 23 at 21:10
  • @Rendezvous I would definitely do a stopover in SFO, it will help with the jet lag and you'll need to get a US visa anyway. But I like breaking up my flights, while some people don't. Jan 24 at 2:57
  • The posted itinerary claims that there's a terminal change; does that affect how long you would allow for the connection? I'm unfamiliar with the SFO layout. Jan 24 at 12:20
  • @MichaelSeifert Not really, the terminals used by United at SFO are connected and easily walkable. Jan 24 at 12:22

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