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.

LAX connecting flight concerns

Level Contributor
9 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
LAX connecting flight concerns

Hey there,

So I'm not sure if I'm putting this is the right place - hope so :P

I have a few concerns about my connecting flight in LAX and any advice would be really helpful!

Here's whats happening.

My travel agent booked me on a flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles, then Los Angeles to Orlando - problem is - I have exactly 1 hour 40 mins to make it to my connection.

This terrifies me - I have been to LAX once before and I know how big it is.

However, the flights were made under the same booking/ticket - they are both Virgin Australia flights, and the lady I spoke to on the phone (from Virgin) said I will have enough time, and that I WON'T have to pick up my bags in LAX and transfer them for my connection to Orlando.

This doesn't seem quite right to me..

Also - I land on Thanksgiving.

Scary.

So long story short, I'm really worried I'm not going to make it - does anyone know what happens in this case? And is it true about the luggage?

Thanks :)

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

I presume you meant Virgin Australia to LAX, and then Virgin America to Orlando.

While you do have to claim your luggage to go through Customs at LAX, you can hand them back right after customs to be placed back in the luggage system. (The airlines do have a code share agreement).

It will be a bit tight, but should be doable. And since it is on one ticket, if you miss your second flight, the airlines should work with you to get on another flight.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Melbourne, Victoria, Road Trips
Level Contributor
4,575 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

It's also worth posting on the Air Travel forum as there's a few regular posters familiar with connecting at LAX from Australia. I usually fly United, so I can't comment on connecting with Virgin, but my last flight had a similar layover time. All of us with a connection of less than 2 hours were given express passes to get through immigration. Out flight was actually an hour late leaving Australia, but as it was booked on the one ticket, when we arrived at LAX we had boarding passes waiting for the next flight.

You will need to collect your luggage at LAX to go through customs, but you should be able to just drop your bag rather than having to check in again.

Fortaleza, CE
Level Contributor
9,183 posts
375 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

In the end it's your responsibility to check such things in advance, but that's a moot point now. You have to make do with the flights you have unless you pay a fee to change.

Everyone must go through Immigration and Customs are their first port of entry in the U.S., which for you is LAX. The rep was just plain wrong. Your ongoing flight is a domestic flight. Your bags would only go through Customs at LAX, not MCO. At LAX, you go through Immigration, wait for your bags at a carousel, then walk through Customs, which usually involves nothing more than handing over a customs form you filled out on board your flight and had initialed by the Immigration officer, then hand your bags over to a transit desk. At that point you need to exit the security zone and then go through TSA security and go to the gate for your domestic flight. You arrive at, and depart from, the same terminal?

If you miss your ongoing flight, Virgin should put you on the next flight with available seats. That may or may not be the very next flight.

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
31,231 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

The short answer is:

Since Virgin is prepared to offer such a connection, it is likely to be possible. If not, you'll be placed onto the next available connecting flight.

The long answer is:

When you land at LAX, you'll have to do a number of things before heading to your onward flight:

a. De-plane (which could take 20 or 30 minutes based upon where you're sitting on the plane). Keep in mind that the 'arrival tine' is the time at which the plane 'touches down', it's not the time it arrives at the gate so there could be another 10 minutes for taxiing as well.

b. Walk to and pass through Immigration.

c. Walk to baggage claim, wait for your luggage and retrieve it.

d. Walk to and pass through Customs

This process could take as little as 60 minutes or as much as 90 minutes (or even longer).

Since you will have only 1 hour, 40 minutes to make the connection, you cannot spend more than about 60 minutes doing the above since that will leave you only 40 minutes for you to transfer to your onward flight.

There are several steps for that as well. If you're extremely lucky, then your onward flight will be in the same terminal as your international flight. In that case, having 40 minutes to make it to your onward gate would be doable.

If, however, you need to transfer to a different terminal, then your odds of making the connection start to lessen. If the walk/shuttle ride takes as little as 10 minutes that will leave you only 30 minutes to make the flight -- in reality, it's only 20 minutes since the airline needn't honor your ticket if you arrive at the gate less than 10 minutes before departure. Making it through security and down the concourse to your gate in 20 minutes could be challenging -- you'll need to talk to a uniformed TSA security officer and asked to be moved to the front of the queue in order to do this.

Of course, if your arrival flight is late or the first part of the process (listed above) takes longer than 60 minutes, it could be a bit of a squeeze.

I like the 'short answer' better.

Fortaleza, CE
Level Contributor
9,183 posts
375 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

You're considering paying to have your fights changed or just wondering whether to worry?

Level Contributor
9 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

Thanks for your replies :)

Both flights are Virgin Australia, however - I believe I will have to change terminals because Virgin Australia is on a codeshare with Delta. I think I will arrive in TBIT and have to transfer to terminal 5.

I read on the Virgin website that because the tickets were booked as one - I can't split them.

I'm just wondering if I miss the flight because of the lines though customs and immigration, and *not* because of a plane delay - is it possible/likely for Virgin to get me onto another flight (considering its Thanksgiving) and would I have to pay extra?

I sound so ignorant, but this is my first time travelling outside the country without my family, so I'm really nervous

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

Can you post your flight numbers, that would help us figure out the actual arrival and departure terminals...

Will you have to pay extra as it is booked as "one ticket", no. But as mentioned above, you might not get the "next" flight, but they will do their best to get you on another flight ASAP.

Level Contributor
9 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

The flights are VA23 and VA6515 :)

Thanks for your help, everyone!

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

OK, so you will be on a tru Virgin Australian flight to arrive in America, and the switch to a Delta Flight (code Share). The VA Flight will arrive at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, where you will clear customs and immigration, and then drop off you bag prior to leaving the secure area.

You will then take a short walk (or shuttle bus) to Terminal 5, to connect with the Delta flight. You should have your boarding passes for the second flight being issued in Australia, so all you would need to do is get the basic security screening (TSA) when entering the terminal and head to the gate.

Manhattan Beach...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
Level Contributor
20,489 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: LAX connecting flight concerns

I know it sounds tight, but AA booked our ticket all the way through from Rome to JFK, with that amount of time between flights to connect to a flight home at LAX. I was nervous all the way to NY, but we made the connection just fine. The airline does this and must know the statistics. I've also seen them hold flights for ten minutes at the gate while everyone gets onboard.

Good luck.