I'm a non-US citizen flying to the US with a changing time between flights of 1:50 in Atlanta. Since this is rather on the short line according to this answer, I was wondering what to do in case of a delay. Since this will be my port of entry, I have to pick up my bag go trough border control, put the bag on field again, and change from international to domestic terminals, etc.

I know that if you are late in Europe, you can ask somebody; in most cases they let you cut the waiting line in customs/check in/etc. if you would otherwise miss the flight.

Is it also acceptable to approach staff with such a request at an US airport?

2 Answers 2


It is surely acceptable to ask staff. However, I know from experience that it is not uncommon in Atlanta that a member of the airline staff will be waiting at the gate asking everyone if they have connecting flights. This is the right person to ask. If I recall correctly, I also got a ticket there for the immigration fast lane.

Should there be a line at customs, you can kindly ask people in front of the line if you may overtake them (mention the delay and the connecting flight).

After re-checking your bag, your best bet to get through security quickly is to approach airline staff there. If they are not present, you may have to ask the fellow passengers in the line in front of you again.

And finally, if you still miss your connection (which will then be not your fault), then the airline will book you on a later flight at no additional charge, provided that you booked everything onto one ticket and the minimum connection time is met, which should be the case with 1:50h.

  • 2
    It may also be worthwhile to let the flight attendant on the incoming plane know that you have a very tight connection (you will note soon enough that your flight is running late). They can call ahead, and in many cases, as it has been said, an agent is waiting for you to get you connected as quick as possible. You will still have to wait for the baggage, and recheck it after Customs, but if I remember correctly, there are airline customer desks just nearby in Atlanta.
    – Max Wyss
    Aug 11, 2014 at 22:35
  • Just one comment that might help people with the same problem in the future. Atlanta is a wonderful Airport. Bordercontrol/Transfer between Terminals/... is rather fast (compared with NY at least), so there was plenty of time to change.
    – magu_
    Aug 31, 2014 at 14:50

In U.S. airports, in the after-security area, there is usually a customer service area for each airline. This is for re-printing boarding passes for people who lost them, and for re-booking for people who missed the flight while in the after-security area. You can talk to them in this area.

If you've just arrived at the gate too late (e.g. they just closed the door), then usually the staff processing your flight is still there, and they may be able to help you re-book directly from there. But otherwise, you should go to the airline's general customer service desk.

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