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I am arriving from Frankfurt(FRA) to Newark(EWR) and I must pass the Customs and Border Control before catching the next flight to Baltimore (BWI). Both flight are on the same ticket by United Airlines (UA51 and UA4775)

  1. Is 2 hours and 45 minutes enough time to catch the next plane, or do I have to expect longer waiting times and should go for a different route?
  2. I'll be traveling before the AirTrain starts operating. What is the best way to get from Terminal B to C?
  3. I have heard that there is a transfer shuttle bus that connects the terminals such that you don't need to leave security area. What is the schedule for this bus?
  4. I'm not sure about the procedure for arriving from abroad. As far as I understood, I'll need to:
    • Collect my check-in luggage
    • Pass border control and customs (Immigration)
    • Transfer from Terminal B to C
    • Check my luggage into Domestic Flight
    • Go through Security Check

Is there a way to optimize this procedure to save time? Can I re-check my luggage in terminal B?

What are my options if I miss the connection? Just go to the UA counter and ask to reserve the next possible flight?

  • Are you sure about the connecting Newark - Baltimore flight number? First off UA51 arrives to Terminal C not B – Karlson Jun 15 '14 at 17:22
  • I'm not sure about the terminal, I just looked up here and here. The flight number is shown on the UA website before booking. – user16512 Jun 15 '14 at 17:45
  • I once missed a connection (a much shorter one) and they just put me on the next flight. It was a bisy line, so it was the next hour. No big deal. – ugoren Jan 30 '17 at 6:15
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Firstly I think you have your terminals a little mixed up. Although United has on occasion used terminal B for international arrivals, it's very rare. Almost always flights like UA51 will arrive in terminal C.

Your outbound flight will also probably depart from terminal C, so you won't need to change terminals. There is a chance it will depart from terminal A, but in that case there is an air-side bus that goes from terminal C (around near gate 70) to terminal A. As with all US international arrivals you will need to clear immigration, collect your baggage, clear customs, and then re-check your baggage and clear security.

How long this takes will depend mainly your citizenship and how busy the immigration and security areas are, however 2 hours 45 mins should be plenty. I did a similar connection at EWR two days ago and it took less than 20 mins from when the plane door was opened until I was through security - although we were the first plane to land for the day, I had no checked luggage, and I do have TSA PreCheck so getting through both immigration and security were fast.

If you do happen to miss the connecting flight, just go to any of the United service desks/check-in counters and they will assist you. If you are flexible and could handle going to Washington Dulles IAD instead of BWI then you should talk to them before you drop your bags after customs - there is a check-in counter just behind where you would normally drop your bags (next to the escalator). Once you've dropped your bags, changing airports will be almost impossible.

  • Last year I arrived at EWR and immigration took over 2 hours. 3 or 4 planes had arrived, so the waiting area for non-US citizens was stuffed. – Simon Jun 16 '14 at 6:19
  • Is the air-side bus any good if you are arriving internationally? You are ground-side after clearing customs. I've never tried going back in to terminal C and taking shuttle, will they let you do that with a boarding pass for terminal A? – djna Jun 28 '16 at 6:25
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Why do you think the air train will not be operating? This airport info says it's 24x7.

I travel to Nashville on United several times a year, usually via Newark, but sometimes via Chicago. I never book a ticket with a connection of less than 2hrs 30 min. I've never (yet) missed a connection.

As has been observed, wait times at immigration are unpredictable, but your 2h 45m should usually be fine.

On passing immigration you then collect your checked bags and clear customs, immediately on exit from customs there are drop-off points for your checked bags. You do not need to take your checked bags over to terminal A, the drop-off procedure is very quick.

However, you are now ground-side so you will need to clear security again in terminal A and on occasions this can be a little slow, so don't delay take the air-train and get yourself through security in terminal A.

My understanding is that as you are on a single ticket covering the connection then should you miss the connection United will rebook you, so you will get a connection eventually. However you would need to cover any accommodation costs incurred.

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