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Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

Chicago, Illinois
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Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

We are planning our honeymoon to Costa Rica, hotel is book and we are excited! Now for the flight... We want to minimize travel time as everyone else does. I'm just concerned about making the connecting flight through Houston, as I have never flown through Houston before. I've read some bad reviews about transfers, and I am just wondering what the minimun amount of time we should allow to transfer? Or do I avoid Houston all together? This is our honeymoon and she already is not the biggest fan of flying so I'm trying to make this as painless and stress free for her as I can. Any info, suggestions, or advise will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you all

Edited: 23 February 2014, 18:28
Costa Rica
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1. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

Getting through Houston on the way to Costa Rica is pretty painless - although you will no doubt have to change terminals.

However, returning to the US through Houston is another story. I have stood in line for an hour at passport control and then there was luggage retrieval, customs and rechecking the luggage (this part was quick) and then security. I wouldn't dream of transiting Houston from Costa Rica with less than two hours and 2.5 is probably better.

Are there no direct flights from Chicago? You could also look at Taca airlines which case you will transit through San Salvador which is a breeze. No passport control, no customs - just walk off one flight, down the hall and onto the next one.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

No direct flights out of chicago I have found. I really with there was. I will defiantly look into flying through San Salvador. Most flights I found for the day and time we wanted to fly were out of Houston or Miami, the Houston flights just looked a little better due to over all travel time. But I will keep looking! Thank you!

United States
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3. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

We transferred in Miami with zero problems, with only about an hour between flights. Are you going early in the day? If so, I would say do not worry about Miami.

Chicago, IL
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4. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

I would allow at least 2 hour layover through any airport going to San Jose. If your first flight is late for any reason, you can end up losing a whole day in Costa Rica. It's more relaxing not to have to worry about connections. You might want to check United. They have a nonstop from Chicago, but I don't think it flies every day.

Costa Rica
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5. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

Any airport - including Miami - will take more time returning to the US than going to Costa Rica - for the reasons I outlined for Houston.

I would never recommend only 1 hour between flights, especially Miami which can be a big mess.

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

We have never made it through customs and immigration at IAH in less than 1.5 hours. They have a wacky set up of lines and checkpoints and then they make you go through TSA all over again. We always go through during spring break in March so that doesn't help - the flights coming in from Mexico are packed. So we give ourselves plenty of time between connections. And you will have to change terminals to get from international arrivals to domestic departures. There are several places to get a good margarita so you can relax if you have time to kill.

Martinsburg...
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7. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

Never thought of this as a problem, booking flights through a single airline. Reading this thread now, I hope I haven't run us into a problem. Luckily, though, if we do have trouble it would likely be after our trip.

Our flight from Pittsburgh shows a stop in Houston, but not a layover; the flight is operated under a single flight symbol PIT to SJO.

Return flight is scheduled with a flight change in Houston lasting 90 minutes. (11:25am - 12:55pm) From what I'm reading, is it safe to say we have a significant possibility, if not probability, of not making the 12:55 HOU -PIT flight?

Followup question (I'm not real flight-experienced), would we be liable for change penalties if we end up on a later domestic leg, or would that not apply since it is a United to United connection (i.e. if it doesn't meet/'work', it's their fault)?

Thanks in advance!

Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

I have missed connecting flights home because I got hung up in US customs. I did not have to pay any additional fees for the next flight. BUT, and this is a big but, you are at the mercy of an available flight and it may not be the next flight out and they may not put your bag on with you. And if you are a group you may get split up. They will not put you on another airline because it is more convenient for you (that is lost revenue for then and it wasn't their fault you got hung up in customs). Sometimes you just have to throw the dice and hope for the best but if at all possible give yourself at least two hours to get to a connection.

Martinsburg...
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9. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

I can live with that, being at the end of the trip. Not perfect if it were to happen, and I certainly hope it doesn't, but the tickets are already booked. With Houston being a major United hub, hopefully not too painful to find a later flight if we miss the connect.

Thanks!

Canada
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10. Re: Chicago to San Jose via Houston, minimum layover?

You do not have to retrive and recheck your luggage transiting to Canada in Huston so I would be very suprised if it is necessary within thr US!

Edited: 24 February 2014, 23:02