I hold an American passport and will be returning from Amsterdam. The flight goes from Amsterdam to KEF in Iceland, there is 2 hour layover, then I continue to Newark. This portion of the trip was purchased on the same itinerary, so I am not worried about rechecking my bag during this portion.

However, I will then be traveling from Newark to Nashville on a different airline, purchased on a separate itinerary. I arrive to Newark at 7:00pm on Iceland Air and my flight to Nashville departs at 7:55pm on United. These airlines are both in Terminal B.


  1. Is it possible to go through customs, recheck my bag, and make my flight in this short window of time?
  2. If I was to leave my bag at Newark in order to make my flight, would I have any avenues for regaining it?
  3. If in dealing with customs and rechecking my bag I miss my flight to Nashville, will United put me on standby/rebook me for a future flight or would I have to buy a whole new ticket?
  • 3
    The last Continental flight left Newark sometime in 2012. Odds are that you will not have sufficient time to catch it.
    – Doc
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 6:50
  • Well played. Everything says United, not sure why my brain went to Continental.
    – Lauren
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 7:12

1 Answer 1


I'm going to guess that you're not actually flying Continental as they haven't existed for over 3 years. Odds are you're actually flying United Airlines which is who they merged with.

United Airlines flights depart from either Terminal C or Terminal A. For this flight, given it's on a regional jet, it's most likely Terminal A. United do NOT have check-in facilities in terminal B, so you will need to catch the train to terminal A to check-in, and you must have completed check-in/bag drop by 45 minutes before your flight departs. Thus you would have 10 minutes to get off your flight, go through immigration, collect your bag, go through customs, catch the train, and then check-in. I don't think I need to tell you this isn't possible.

To answer your specific questions :

1) No. It's not possible to make this connection with luggage.

2) If you attempt to leave your bag it will be confiscated by US Customs. It may be possible to get it back, but it will be a difficult and likely expensive process. Even then, the chances of you getting through immigration/customs/check-in/security and then catching your flight in 55 minutes (keeping in mind that technically you need to board 15 mins before the departure, so it's really 40 minutes) is still extremely close to zero. It took me ~25 mins to get through security alone at Newark last week, and I have priority access...

3) United has a "flat tire" rule that if you arrive at the check-in counter within 2 hours after your flight departs they will attempt to put you on a later flight for no charge. Given that you are on the last flight of the day to Nashville, they may or may not do this for you. Technically they have absolutely no obligation to you given that you are not on a single ticket.

  • Doc - Thank you for this thorough response! I'll plan to get a hotel room that night in Newark and book a flight to Nashville the next morning. I appreciate your help!
    – Lauren
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 7:18
  • 2
    Last time I had a bag not go through US Customs with me, the airline took care of collecting it and clearing it through customs in my absence. In this case, Icelandair might get the bag for you, but their responsibility would only be to get it as far as Newark, so they'd be unlikely to be particularly helpful getting it to Nashville. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 7:49

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