We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

customs/layover times

Oregon
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Topic
customs/layover times

I know to most people this question will seem silly but I have only flown once in my life and it was a straight flight to the next state. I am pricing flights to Cancun and have found some that fly from where I am to Houston and there is only as 55 minute layover then flight to Cancun. I am wondering if that is enough time normally (I know it varies considerably) to switch planes. It is with the same airline. These are the only flights that will get me there at the time I prefer. I am assuming there is no customs to go through leaving the US? Is it just when returning? I know this may seem like something I should know but when you don't travel there are many simple questions that you just don't know. Thanks!

Bryans Road
Level Contributor
4,198 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: customs/layover times

No customs leaving US. I have missed flights in Houston with similar layover, but that's what happens sometimes! Hope you have a great trip!

Calgary
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
Level Contributor
23,436 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: customs/layover times

IME, on the way down 45 minutes to an hour is enough layover time. On the way home, you need MUCH longer (3 hours to be on the safe side) because you will have to clear Customs & Immigration at your first point of entry into the US

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
43,525 posts
136 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: customs/layover times

If it were me, I would want a longer connecting time in Houston. But going to Cancun, it can be done if all is running on time.

Texas Gulf Coast...
Level Contributor
5,715 posts
127 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: customs/layover times

mollybird3,

Welcome to TA! A 55 minute connection is more than enough time in Houston for your flight from PDX to CUN. As others have said, you WILL NOT clear customs or immigration going down; that will be upon your arrival in CUN.

For your flight back, you will need a couple of hours to clear Customs & Immigration upon your entry into the US (Houston again??). The airlines (operations) are aware of exactly how many passengers are connecting from a given inbound flight to each departing outbound flight. Have a great trip.

¡Se diviertán!

Oregon
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: customs/layover times

Thank you everyone!

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
43,525 posts
136 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: customs/layover times

¨The airlines (operations) are aware of exactly how many passengers are connecting from a given inbound flight to each departing outbound flight¨

Yes, from my airline days, we were aware but it didn´t mean we would wait for late arriving connections. If it is a large group and we knew they were on the way to the gate, we might wait. It was ultimately the captain´s decision to make.

chicago
Level Contributor
1,237 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: customs/layover times

Careful--it can depend on the weather at the time of year you're going. 55 minutes is fine IF your departing flight takes off on time. If there's a good chance your plane might need de-icing or that you could face heavy fog or snow, I'd try to find a nonstop or a longer layover, just in case.

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
7,540 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: customs/layover times

Thank you Robert. I never could understand these posts that tell you not to worry, the plane will wait for you if your first flight is delayed. I cannot see that happening in this day and age, and I'm certain it wouldn't happen for us! LOL

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
Level Contributor
28,188 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: customs/layover times

If there are later flights you may have options if your original flight is delayed. I would boo it.

Learn the airport layout...people moving systems and likely arrival/departure terminals.

Texas Gulf Coast...
Level Contributor
5,715 posts
127 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: customs/layover times

Actually RobertSDF the decision is made by the airline Ops center. Each airline has a specific number of minutes they will wait per passenger, IF it is likely that they will make the connection. If it is clearly apparent that they will not, then they will not wait regardless. The airline Ops center also takes crew work/rest requirements, subsequent flights impacted by the particular aircraft, etc. into consideration.

So let's say 5 people total (they do not have to be in a 'group') are connecting from the PDX flight to the (same airline) CUN flight. If the airline allows 4 minutes per passenger (a common allowance), they will wait a total of 20 minutes MAX, IF the above considerations do not make the crew 'illegal' or further compound delays for subsequent flights for that aircraft that day. IF this 20 minute delay will not help the late in-bound passengers make the CUN flight (i.e. they are arriving later than 20 minutes), then the CUN flight will depart on-time and the 5 passengers will mis-connect and be accommodated on the next available flight. Ops will then tell the Captain go, delay or no go accordingly.

Keep in mind that it isn't just the PDX flight with passengers connecting to the CUN flight; there are probably passengers connecting from 20 - 30 different flights all within the same airline all trying to get to CUN. And airline Ops know exactly how many there are from each flight; how each flight is doing in regards to an on-time arrival at the connecting point, and how many of the passengers originating in Houston (IAH) have already checked-in for the CUN flight.

¡Se diviertán!