This is my first time traveling internationally by myself.

My country of origin is Manila and my last stop is Albuquerque. Along the way I will be going through several connecting flights, which is Manila to Guam, Guam to Honolulu, Honolulu to LA, and lastly, LA to Albuquerque.

My question is, at which point/destination do I grab my bags to go under customs or do I just leave them until I get to my last destination?

And can any of you give me the step-by-step process for connecting flights?

  • 2
    This is going to be affected by whether it is a single ticket or multiple tickets, and also which airline is the carrier for each flight. Jun 3 '17 at 13:26
  • 1
    @PatriciaShanahan Assuming it's all one ticket, does the traveler clear US customs and immigration in Guam? If so, does the traveler also clear US customs and immigration in Honolulu? We can be sure that regardless of ticketing the traveler does not do so in LA nor in Albuquerque.
    – phoog
    Jun 3 '17 at 13:34
  • 1
    I do get the question from an anxious first time international traveler, however is this question not almost invariably explained by the air stewards during announcements prior to landing and hence they are the best people to give the definitive answer? The general rule says first port of entry into the USA. Since here CBP considers Guam as a port of entry, I assume the process will be in Guam. Jun 3 '17 at 13:49
  • 2
    Is there a reason you're using the Island Hopper for this? It seems like an oddball itinerary to fly compared to one with fewer stops... Jun 4 '17 at 0:52
  • 1
    @phoog If I'm not mistaken, Guam is immigration only, Honolulu is customs.
    – Giorgio
    Jun 5 '17 at 15:12

You haven't provided sufficient information for a detailed response. If you're booked on a single ticket or several with airlines that have agreements, and the route is a series of layovers, it will affect how your luggage is handled. If these are four separate tickets on four different airlines, you would have to collect and recheck your bags at each stop.

Here's a general idea of what you might experience:

Guam: the territory has its own customs process, and it's quick and easy. After that, you go US Customs and Immigration pre-clearance.
Honolulu: you'll go through US Department of Agriculture inspection (but not Customs or Immigration as you've been pre-cleared in Guam).
Los Angeles: this is a domestic arrival and you'll go from your arrival gate to the departure gate for your onward flight to New Mexico.
Albuquerque: collect your bags and leave the airport.

  • I've never arrived in Hawaii from outside the USA. Does the US Dept of Agriculture check incorporate the much stricter State of Hawaii standards? Jun 22 '17 at 17:58
  • @AndrewLazarus yes, and similar to Australia's strict biosecurity policies.
    – Giorgio
    Jun 22 '17 at 19:03

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