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Old 21.05.2012, 20:34
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Travel to US from Zurich

Apologies if this is in the wrong area, I couldn't seem to find anywhere better.
I have to go to San Francisco. My flight options are via JFK or Atlanta, one option on the return leg has a 90 minute stopover at JFK.
Is it laughable to think I might get that flight?

Anyone with recent experience of traveling to the US with an onward destination to guide me.

Thanks
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Old 21.05.2012, 20:36
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

OH just did a non-stop from Zurich to San Francisco 2 weeks ago. Is that not an option for you? It would alleviate those pesky layover worries.
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Old 21.05.2012, 20:40
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

Yes, I'd say it is. Even for a return leg these days I think I'd want a 2 and a half hour gap at least. I know security going out of the States is not as tight as trying to get in, but you only need your first flight to be running a bit late and/or have inter terminal connection problems (as we did in Dallas a few years ago) and you'll be in real trouble with only 1 hour 30 to play with. Better, to me, to have to hang around at JFK or Atlanta for the connecting flight than be worrying about missing it because I cut it too fine.
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Old 21.05.2012, 20:42
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

It is a possibility, but can save chf600 IF I make the transfer. Haven't ruled out Swiss
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Old 21.05.2012, 20:42
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

My flights to the US (mainly Newark, but occasionally to JFK) usually arrive at least 10 minutes early. The earliest was 50 minutes early. And for domestic flights in the US it is recommended to arrive for your flight 2 hours early (for check in, security, etc.)

That being said, you would still have to go through customs AND check with the airlines if your bags would travel through to SF directly or if you have to pick them up and transfer them yourself when arriving at the first airport.

Generally, I avoid the Atlanta airport like the plague. It is considered by many to be one of the worst airports in the US. But if the difference means having enough time to make your connection, you might have to suck it up.
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Old 21.05.2012, 20:51
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

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Apologies if this is in the wrong area, I couldn't seem to find anywhere better.
I have to go to San Francisco. My flight options are via JFK or Atlanta, one option on the return leg has a 90 minute stopover at JFK.
Is it laughable to think I might get that flight?

Anyone with recent experience of traveling to the US with an onward destination to guide me.

Thanks
I'd take the JFK flight. If it's booked from the same airline, then I think you'd be alright. Either way, if you're unsure, why don't you just give the airline a call to ask whether the brief layover is feasible.
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Old 21.05.2012, 21:00
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

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Apologies if this is in the wrong area, I couldn't seem to find anywhere better.
I have to go to San Francisco. My flight options are via JFK or Atlanta, one option on the return leg has a 90 minute stopover at JFK.
Is it laughable to think I might get that flight?

Anyone with recent experience of traveling to the US with an onward destination to guide me.

Thanks
I've flown American a lot via JFK, and if you don't have to change terminals at JFK, you might make it. For example, American. You won't have to go through customs or transfer luggage, might not even have to go through security- depends on the gate arrangement - just switch planes. You should ask the airline what happens if you miss your connection - if you do, it would be their fault. Whether they do anything about it is another issue. Inbound from ZRH 90 mins at JFK would be insane. Outbound, it could work.

I'd avoid Atlanta.

I know this may seem absurd, but my husband flies British via Heathrow. He likes their economy plus (he's very tall). They do have a nonstop LHR-SFO.
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Old 21.05.2012, 21:59
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

90 minutes is ok, you can easily make that...just can't dilly dally on the transfer. I don't know Atlanta, but frequently travel to JFK and it is easy to transfer. There is an accessible train if you need to change terminals.

my recommendation would be to try and fly star alliance there (direct if possible) on United/Swiss/Luft. They are usually on time and in the worst case scenario if your bags don't make the transfer on your return Swiss will send them to your house in a taxi --They have done it for me twice.

I would also suggest that you travel carry-on only on the way to the US as you will need to collect your bags in JFK due to security (I know someone else mentioned that via American you don't need to collect your bags but I am not sure if this is the case with all the airlines) and check your bags on the return --if you have done some shopping.
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Old 21.05.2012, 22:21
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

Logically, the important thing is to book the arrangement as one trip - regardless of whether or not you change airlines. If they offer this arrangement, they will have checked that it works, and if worst comes to worst, they have to put you on a later flight. Plenty of flights from JFK to SFO. This has happened to me before, no big deal. Actually, most airlines also allow you to switch to a later plane in such arrangements. On a side note, if you have friends in NY whom you want to visit, you can do a stopover of less than 24 hours, without having to pay for two separate flights. I do that a lot.

I would not even consider combining flights, myself, though. If you do that, it is your problem if you miss the flight.

Enjoy your trip!
Idgie
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Old 21.05.2012, 23:55
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90 minutes is ok, you can easily make that...just can't dilly dally on the transfer. I don't know Atlanta, but frequently travel to JFK and it is easy to transfer. There is an accessible train if you need to change terminals.

my recommendation would be to try and fly star alliance there (direct if possible) on United/Swiss/Luft. They are usually on time and in the worst case scenario if your bags don't make the transfer on your return Swiss will send them to your house in a taxi --They have done it for me twice.

I would also suggest that you travel carry-on only on the way to the US as you will need to collect your bags in JFK due to security (I know someone else mentioned that via American you don't need to collect your bags but I am not sure if this is the case with all the airlines) and check your bags on the return --if you have done some shopping.
Inbound to the US, you have to go through immigration and customs. I've not flown for a year or so, but even on American, you had to pick up your bags, go through customs and recheck luggage. I don't think that's changed. Sometimes luggage at JFK is slow. It's good advice to do carryon if possible. Outbound, your luggage is checked straight through to your final destination, so it's less of an issue.
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Old 27.05.2012, 21:05
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

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Apologies if this is in the wrong area, I couldn't seem to find anywhere better.
I have to go to San Francisco. My flight options are via JFK or Atlanta, one option on the return leg has a 90 minute stopover at JFK.
Is it laughable to think I might get that flight?

Anyone with recent experience of traveling to the US with an onward destination to guide me.

Thanks
JFK is famous for its delays, so chances are good that you may make the flight if your second leg is delayed.
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Old 27.05.2012, 22:09
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

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Apologies if this is in the wrong area, I couldn't seem to find anywhere better.
I have to go to San Francisco. My flight options are via JFK or Atlanta, one option on the return leg has a 90 minute stopover at JFK.
Is it laughable to think I might get that flight?

Anyone with recent experience of traveling to the US with an onward destination to guide me.

Thanks
if I had no US passport, I would, as a rule, avoid connecting in the US......

You usually will have immigration and customs even if you're checked thru. If you do take the chance, don't build your trip yourself - buy it as one from the airline.
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Old 27.05.2012, 22:19
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

I think the OP was most concerned about the outbound (SFO to ZRH) leg of the trip. That's where 90 minutes, if booked on the same airline might work through JFK. Inbound (from ZRH), you'd have to be seriously lucky, the moon and stars and luggage handlers perfectly aligned to make the connection in 90 minutes. I've waited for 40 minutes to get my luggage at JFK off an American flight from LHR.

If the airline shows the trip with a 90 minute connection as an option, your flight is delayed, and you miss the connection, the airline is responsible for booking you on another flight. What else they'll do for you is hard to say, but at least they will rebook you.
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Old 27.05.2012, 23:38
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

When I fly to Boston, I usually take American Airlines through JFK. Never had an issue going out. Connecting coming in you need tons of time, but going out should be easy in 90 minutes. Do not try it with Atlanta. Atlanta is delay prone, especially in the summer with daily afternoon t-storms that can cause delays. Plus you will almost always have to change terminals and that is a pain the arse as well. I always avoid Atlanta and Philadelphia. JFK should be no problems.
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Old 28.05.2012, 08:38
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

I have flown numerous times to SFO from ZRH (and back) and have found British Airways via LHR to be very efficient especially now you arrive and depart from Terminal 5.
Their connection times are good but be aware when using their website that sometimes options for different London airports come up, so make sure you read through them properly.
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Old 28.05.2012, 08:57
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Re: Travel to US from Zurich

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I have flown numerous times to SFO from ZRH (and back) and have found British Airways via LHR to be very efficient especially now you arrive and depart from Terminal 5.
Their connection times are good but be aware when using their website that sometimes options for different London airports come up, so make sure you read through them properly.
Amen to the last part. I bought a ticket to the US and did not pay close attention. Flew into Gatwick and out of Heathrow. Only 2 hours between. Not a good plan.
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