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Customs--Where, and how long?

Twin Cities, MN
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Customs--Where, and how long?

My family (me, my wife, and three kids ages 12/8/6) will be traveling from US to Ixtapa soon. This is our first time ever traveling abroad for any of us, excluding a couple brief cruise ship port stops.

Our flight down is a direct flight, MSP to ZIH. Coming back, though, we fly ZIH to MEX to ATL to MSP, with about a 90-100 minute layover at each stop.

When and where do we go through customs? Is it in Atlanta? How long should we expect the process to take, and do we have enough layover time? Do we claim and re-check baggage, or does it go straight through?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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Ixtapa
Ixtapa
Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Atlanta
Atlanta
Georgia
Saskatoon, Canada
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for Riviera Maya
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1. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

I believe you have to go through Customs & Immigration at your first point of entry into your home country- so yes that will mean Atlanta for you. Typically, you exit the plane, line up in Immigration and are processed, go pick up your checked baggage and then go through a re-check point and place it on a belt, then back again through security and to your new gate. I don't think bags are ever checked through in the case of a first entry, only other connections.

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Atlanta
Atlanta
Georgia
Minnesota
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2. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

Yes you will go though immigration and customs at your first U.S. stop. Atlanta

Yes you will claim and then re-check your bags.

Is the layover enough? That can be a toughy.

Atlanta is one of the busiest airports. If you are flying weekdays it will be easier, and weekends busier. Kind of goes without saying doesn't it.

If you can change over to the Delta direct fight back, your world will be much easier!!

We are Thursday to Thursday the first part of March out of MSP.

Keith

Edited: 19 February 2014, 16:49
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Atlanta
Atlanta
Georgia
Twin Cities, MN
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3. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

Unfortunately, there is no direct Delta flight back. This is as direct as it gets.

We are flying on a weekday (Tuesday); we get to ATL at 7:59p, and are scheduled to depart at 9:55p. (I was wrong about the 90-100 minutes--that's our connect time in Mexico City. We have closer to two hours in ATL.) I'm guessing/hoping that evening arrival will be even more off-peak for customs, and aid our time in customs?

Thanks!

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Mexico City
Mexico City
Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, Mexico
Minnesota
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4. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

Hopefully every thing runs smooth for you!!

Or you could extend your trip by two days and fly back on the non-stop Thursday if they aren't filled!

Keith

Twin Cities, MN
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5. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

No direct DL flights that Thursday either. We fly down 3/31, return 4/8. The prior direct Delta flight from ZIH to MSP is 4/5 (too soon), and the next one is 4/12 (too late).

Actually, my biggest concern on the return flight right now is food. None of our return flights have meal service, and my wife becomes ungodly irritable/irritating any time her meal schedule is even slightly compromised. The only time we're on the ground between 3:30pm and 11:30pm is the two hours in Atlanta, when we'll be busy with customs--and obviously bringing fresh food with us through customs is a no-no. I'm anticipating the return trip from hell... :(

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Atlanta
Atlanta
Georgia
Saskatoon, Canada
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6. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

There should be somewhere at the gates (after security) in Atlanta to buy at least a sandwich and a drink. :)

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Atlanta
Atlanta
Georgia
Minnesota
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7. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

Taco her up before boarding, and get her a rack of ribs as soon as you exit customs!!

(or yeah, you're sceeeeeerude!)

Have a great trip!!

Keith

Twin Cities, MN
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341 posts
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8. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

Thanks. I'll have to look at the map of the ATL terminal ahead of time, and plan out potential sources of nourishment.

But am I correct in reading between the lines--that with two hours in Atlanta, on a weekday evening, we should be OK with customs, knock-on-wood?

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Atlanta
Atlanta
Georgia
Illinois
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9. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

You should be able to grab something in Mexico City. There are plenty food kiosks -- even a Starbucks -- that will have things like sandwiches to go.

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Mexico City
Mexico City
Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, Mexico
Minnesota
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10. Re: Customs--Where, and how long?

I'm thinkin yeah.

Here is a great TA link for ya on ATL:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60898-c123635/Atlant…

Keith