A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

JFK Layover

rappahannock_rev

Anglican Catholic Priest
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes, Burgos, SdeC 77 (train); Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes, Aragones 18; Meseta 19
#1
I'm looking at a very attractively priced flight from Madrid to Richmond VA that includes a 2 hour 15 minute layover -- do immigration/get bag/do customs/turn in bag/do security/find gate -- at JFK, in New York City.

But JFK?!? :eek: I've never flown through JFK before - very deliberately! Daunting prospect for a simple Southern country boy!

Here's my question: Will 2 hr 15 minutes be sufficient?
 
Last edited:

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
#2
if you've booked it as one itinerary, it will be the airline's responsibility to get you to your destination, meaning that if it isn't enough time then the airline will get you on the next plane without charging you anything further. But if you're buying 2 separate tickets, then you bear the risk.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#3
I'm looking at a very attractively priced flight from Madrid to Richmond VA that includes a 2 hour 15 minute layover -- get bag/do customs/change planes but not airlines -- at JFK, in New York City.

But JFK?!? :eek: I've never flown through JFK before - very deliberately! Daunting prospect for a simple Southern country boy!

Here's my question: Will 2 hr 15 minutes be sufficient?
I don't have much experience with over-the-pond flights but you wrote: "get bag/do customs/change planes but not airlines" which at least to me means that you've booked TWO itineraries. That might be a bit tight. But the same airline, hm, why not contact them?

Hope for the best!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes, Aragones-Frances-Finisterre, Operation Sabre, Marin Ramble
#4
You truly never know BUT having flown through/into/out of JFK a number of times, 2 hours works UNLESS YOUR PLANE IS LATE!!!! 😵. If you fly internationally on a frequent basis, you should get Global Entry which will speed you through customs/immigration very quickly.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#5
It depends if you hold bag is 'checked though' or not (checked though means you won't see your bag at JFK it's transferred for you). On the same airline, on the same itinerary, it should be, but worth to ask.

Also I would have thought you will be in a transit lounge at JFK, you won't do customs / immigration until Richmond? Maybe someone can advise on this.
 
#7
What a rare occasion — I get to disagree publicly with my pal VN. I have made a tighter connection at JFK, coming in internationally, with no rushing and no sweating. There may be delays of course, but if it’s booked on one ticket there is no downside. If you miss the connection, the airline will rebook you, as @andycohn says. The only possible hassle for you would be if the delay is due to weather and you have to spend a night in NY if there are no later flights with seats available to Richmond. (Yes, dear European friends, in the US, the airlines only have to take care of you if you miss a connection and the delay is because of mechanical problems).

And, I’m sure Rev knows this, but although @notion900’s suggestion would make sense, anyone who flies into the US has to go through customs and pick up baggage at the first “port of entry.” You recheck it right after leaving customs, but you have to claim it and take it through. I guess that makes the US an outlier on a lot of airline issues.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#8
It depends if you hold bag is 'checked though' or not (checked though means you won't see your bag at JFK it's transferred for you).
Every passenger whether on one ticket or not has to collect their bags at their first point of entry in the US and take them through Customs. (after waiting in line to go through Immigration) For bags that have been tagged to your final destination there is a place to drop them right after Customs, so you don't need to re-check them, but you do need to go through security.
This sounds like a tight, but possible doable connection.
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
#9
I agree that Global Entry can expedite. It really depends on weather, flight on time, etc. I would bet it would be enough time and if it is not you will need to be prepared to manage. JFK is just another big airport. I avoid it when I can, but if I can't I try to be flexible.
 
Camino(s) past & future
sept 2016 CF
sept 2017 Lourdes to SJPDP via Piemonte
SJPDP to SDC via CF
2019 CF (God willing)
#10
When I first read your post, I thought you were talking about flying from Richmond to Madrid with a stop/lay over in JFK. Obviously it is the other way around. If I were in you shoes, I wouldn't sweat it. If you miss your connection to Richmond, at least you are in the USA and JFK being a large airport with many flights, etc., if they can't get you to Richmond, they may get you a flight to DC/BWI/Norfolk. Worse comes to worse, you can also to a bus/train to Richmond. If worst does come to worst, give me a call, I'll put you up for the night and show you the town.

Good luck.
Buen Camino

Mark
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#11
What a rare occasion — I get to disagree publicly with my pal VN.
Hahahaa!:D:D

Well, to expand that response: My 'No' was coming from an experience relatively recently of very long immigration lines at JFK that made making a 3+ hour connection very tight. I made it, but barely.
C and I are often the bottleneck coming into the US, regardless of the port of entry. The queues can be epic.

And yes, if it's one itinerary they have to get you to your destination. So it's a trade off: less expense, more hassle. Whether I'd be willing to try it or not would depend on just how cheap those seats were.
And it's your call on that, RR.;)
Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#12
It depends if you hold bag is 'checked though' or not (checked though means you won't see your bag at JFK it's transferred for you). On the same airline, on the same itinerary, it should be, but worth to ask.

Also I would have thought you will be in a transit lounge at JFK, you won't do customs / immigration until Richmond? Maybe someone can advise on this.
Whilst not a US citizen and with limited recent experience of US INS/Border Security - its my understanding that one "clears customs/immigration" at the first port of entry which I suggest is JFK. (Happy to be corrected - but it wont worry me as a non-citizen entering via LAX or SFO or DFW we have to go through the whole shooting match even with a clean visa!!). Cheers
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#13
Whilst not a US citizen and with limited recent experience of US INS/Border Security - its my understanding that one "clears customs/immigration" at the first port of entry which I suggest is JFK. (Happy to be corrected - but it wont worry me as a non-citizen entering via LAX or SFO or DFW we have to go through the whole shooting match even with a clean visa!!). Cheers
You are correct.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#14
You might make it or you might not. Probably not if your flight from Madrid is late. I don't think the prior posts clearly state the steps you will go through upon arrival at JFK:
  1. Deplane
  2. Queue and go through U.S Immigration (Customs and Border Protection)
  3. Go to baggage carousel and wait for checked bags (if carried)
  4. Queue and go through U.S. Customs
  5. Place checked bag (if carried) on conveyor for continuation to Richmond
  6. Queue and go through U.S. security (TSA)
Of the above steps, only 5 takes only a few seconds. Wait times for the queues at the other steps depends on how many other international flights arrive about the same time as yours and on how many personnel are working at each checkpoint.

Before purchasing the ticket you have described, check on the availability of later flights from JFK to Richmond with the carrier making the offer that is so attractive. If there are 2-3 later flights to Richmond on the carrier or its code-share partner, you can estimate the probable delay if you don't make the connection.

Tom
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
#15
I don't have much experience with over-the-pond flights but you wrote: "get bag/do customs/change planes but not airlines" which at least to me means that you've booked TWO itineraries. That might be a bit tight. But the same airline, hm, why not contact them?

Hope for the best!
Padre, if it’s the same airline, can you request them to check your begs all the way through at your starting point? That way, you could sprint between gates/terminals - sans bags, if you needed to.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#16
Padre, if it’s the same airline, can you request them to check your begs all the way through at your starting point? That way, you could sprint between gates/terminals - sans bags, if you needed to.
No soap, I'm afraid, Michael. You have to collect your bags and go through customs at the first point of entry into the US. Hence the get-the-bags-and-give-them-back dance (that's steps 3, 4, and 5 in @TMcA 's very clear post).

On top of that, if the onward flight is in another terminal or with another airline (in the case of a code-share), there may or may not be the option of turning them in again right after customs. I have had to drag all my stuff to another terminal, and go upstairs to check in as though I was arriving off the street.
And all of that takes time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
#17
No soap, I'm afraid, Michael. You have to collect your bags and go through customs at the first point of entry into the US. Hence the get-the-bags-and-give-them-back dance (that's steps 3, 4, and 5 in @TMcA 's very clear post).

On top of that, if the onward flight is in another terminal or with another airline (in the case of a code-share), there may or may not be the option of turning them in again right after customs. I have had to drag all my stuff to another terminal, and go upstairs to check in as though I was arriving off the street.
And all of that takes time.
Groan - I feel your pain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#19
There is some good information here. But having worked as US immigration officer for some 20 years, and having spent a lot of time at JFK, as well as traveling extensively, let me add to the dialog.

JFK is a very old airport with airlines in their separate terminals. It is most similar to London Heathrow. The terminal layout is "higgly-piggily" and not efficient.

These airports evolved from the first days of civil aviation, they were not planned originally to be efficient or to handle anywhere near the volume of passengers they now handle. However, unlike LHR, the inter-terminal connections at JFK are not as near easy or seamless.

For reference, JFK regularly shows up on the list of the world's and the US's WORST airports, as does Newark (EWR) and LaGuardia (LGA). The simple advice is to try to re-enter the US at Boston (BOS), Dulles (IAD), Philadelphia (PHL), Charlotte (CHL), or Atlanta (ATL) on the East Coast.

Given what I think is your location in SW Virginia, I suggest IAD both ways, if possible. It is well run and the connections are many. You can likely get shuttle van service home from there or have someone pick you up. (BTW, I lived in NoVA for 35 years before FL.

I regularly fly Iberia as a AA codeshare direct to MAD (Madrid) from MIA (Miami). When going to Lisbon (LIS), Portugal, I use TAP as a US codeshare the same way.

But I live relatively closer to MIA, so I substitute an hour or so in a taxi for another domestic flight and connection. This way, I am more in control of the transit times. Were I to fly from my closest airport (PBI), I would have to make another connection, which takes more time than the taxi ride. MIA is not a good airport either, but it is manageable for a direct, non-stop.

At JFK, If you are going from international to domestic in the same terminal building, two hours can be enough time, if your international flight is not late, and if the immigration / customs process is not backed up. But, in my experience, if one or more flights arrive from the Africa, Asia or South America just before yours, you are well and truly screwed. Passengers off these flights take longer to process for any number of valid reasons.

However, if you must change airlines or terminals at JFK, then I submit that two hours is NOT enough time to complete the arrival process, and the physically separate departure process. others may disagree. But if you have checked baggage, remember you are dumped out of the arrival process to the sidewalk, 'dirty' if you will.

You must find your other terminal and airline, wait on line to recheck your bag, get a boarding pass, go through TSA security and find your departure gate. In my recent experience at major airports the TSA - Pre lines (Global Entry members are included) can be longer than the regular lines for occasional travelers. It is very frustrating at times.

Getting back to arrival, Global Entry helps hugely in this regard. However, it is my experience that even though it takes maybe a minute to let myself back into the US using Global Entry and there is generally no queue for the terminals, I still have to wait 30 - 45 minutes for my checked baggage to be delivered. No one is automating baggage handling and delivery. In the airline industry, baggage delivery is seen as an unproductive, unprofitable, backroom activity that is contracted out.

In the US, you MUST clear customs at your FIRST port of entry. This means that your checked luggage is offloaded. You wait for it, retrieve it then proceed to complete the customs process.

This is OPPOSITE the EU. In the EU, your bags are transferred to your final destination, and you clear customs there. Be aware. This does affect connections. In the EU, they are smoother. In the US they are still primitive...IMHO.

Arriving at JFK, If you are traveling international to domestic on the same airline, they will have a baggage recheck counter just inside or just outside the actual exit from the customs area. This means you can drop your bag with the same airline, or codeshare connection partner, immediately after clearing customs.

If you are changing airlines, outside any code sharing arrangement, you must schlep your checked luggage to the check-in counter of the connecting airline and do it all over again, check-in, TSA, getting to the gate. In this eventuality, two hours is not enough time, IMHO.

I hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

rappahannock_rev

Anglican Catholic Priest
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes, Burgos, SdeC 77 (train); Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes, Aragones 18; Meseta 19
#20
No soap, I'm afraid, Michael. You have to collect your bags and go through customs at the first point of entry into the US. Hence the get-the-bags-and-give-them-back dance (that's steps 3, 4, and 5 in @TMcA 's very clear post).
On top of that, if the onward flight is in another terminal or with another airline (in the case of a code-share), there may or may not be the option of turning them in again right after customs. I have had to drag all my stuff to another terminal, and go upstairs to check in as though I was arriving off the street.
And all of that takes time.
That's my understanding, too.

And that's been my experience, too!

Appreciate all the input, have made the decision to skip the JFK option.

Pax
 

rappahannock_rev

Anglican Catholic Priest
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes, Burgos, SdeC 77 (train); Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes, Aragones 18; Meseta 19
#21
.... For reference, JFK regularly shows up on the list of the world's and the US's WORST airports, as does Newark (EWR) and LaGuardia (LGA). The simple advice is to try to re-enter the US at Boston (BOS), Dulles (IAD), Philadelphia (PHL), Charlotte (CHL), or Atlanta (ATL) on the East Coast.
Given what I think is your location in SW Virginia, I suggest IAD both ways, if possible. It is well run and the connections are many. You can likely get shuttle van service home from there or have someone pick you up. (BTW, I lived in NoVA for 35 years before FL....

I hope this helps.


Appreciate the benefit of your experience! Thanks.

ATL will do nicely, instead..... Same price as the JFK flight. But with a relaxed 4 hour layover... And its not in Yankee country! ;)

Pax
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#22
Glad to have helped.

Over 45 years of international travel, I have learned the value of a stress-free trip, with as few connections as possible. I have also learned how to leverage codeshare relationships. It is an art not a science...

I also learned that, even in retirement, my time has a value. I apply this to travel decisions. It is also why I avoid very inexpensive discount carriers to the maximum extent.

Personally, I prefer to pay a conventional airline a reasonable price and have an assigned seat, checked bag and a meal on my flight, to being charged for literally everything except for a seat...somewhere... I recognize a bargain, but also assess all hidden costs when making travel arrangements.

A cheap flight that requires a night in a hotel on either end may not be a bargain. Travel to a distant feeder airport to get a bargain airline interjects added time and cost for ground travel, may also not a bargain.

Travel from one place to another is an algebraic equation, where each part of the process is a variable with an associated time and monetary cost. (A + B + C + D) = E. Stated another way:

Total cost (E) of delivering me there and back includes the costs of

A - Ground transportation to and from the starting and end airports
B - Airfare (including optional charges to basic fare)
C - Lodging if needed to stage for flights or for strange connections
D - Time (I use this as a constant to assess relative value)

On the last variable, for example, assume my hourly rate value is USD 10 per hour. It is actually much higher, but I adopt an easy, round number for ease of computation. A total point-to-point journey, including stopover time, connection time, overnights to position myself, etc. are calculated as hours or any portion of my hourly rate. So, a 14-hour curb to curb trip rates as a USD 140 charge. A 23-hour curb to curb trip works out to USD 230 (FOR THAT VARIABLE ONLY.)

It works best when you can plug in the total air charge, ground transport charges, lodging on either end, and the total curb-to-curb time value. The result is a weighted assessment of the relative value of a given itinerary.

Yes, I know it sounds OCD, but, I am trained as a analyst. This is how I view the world. It is also how I decide which routing is best when I travel and there are viable alternatives.

Hope this helps. You can stop laughing now...
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#23
Appreciate the benefit of your experience! Thanks.

ATL will do nicely, instead..... Same price as the JFK flight. But with a relaxed 4 hour layover... And its not in Yankee country! ;)

Pax
You will appreciate that you made that decision. Seriously, as huge as Atlanta Hartsfield is, connections are good, and the immigration - customs services there are among the best and most efficient in the US.

In fact, the government uses this port of entry as their test bed for all manner of new and emerging technology. As a result, arrival clearance times for those who can use these technologies is very good compared to the rest of the US. Baggage recheck is also very good, especially if you are on DL.

The airport also has a large crew of folks in red blazers or shirts to help guide you and answer questions. Seek them out and ask. Atlanta is very good in terms of customer service.

Hope this helps. Bon voyage...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#24
You can stop laughing now...
Not laughing, T.
I go with gut feeling which usually takes all that into account but not systematically. And sometimes, as you say, paying a little more makes a huge difference in my energy level at the end of the journey.
customs services there are among the best and most efficient in the US.
That is really good to know because that's the difference between a relaxed connection and a stressful one. Entering the US at an airport where customs is understaffed is a nightmare. Probably for the folks behind the desks too.
 

rappahannock_rev

Anglican Catholic Priest
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes, Burgos, SdeC 77 (train); Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes, Aragones 18; Meseta 19
#25
Hope this helps. Bon voyage...
Let me impose further, mindful of your obviously greater-than-mine knowledge of the airline business....

I'm contemplating a return to Spain from the USA in late September or October 2019. Should I be shopping for airplane tickets now -- or wait? Is there a 'best time' to buy?
 

jburr3708

James on The Way
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Frances SJPDP
2016 Portugues (with wife)
2017 VDLP
2018 Portugues (with daughter)
#26
It depends if you hold bag is 'checked though' or not (checked though means you won't see your bag at JFK it's transferred for you). On the same airline, on the same itinerary, it should be, but worth to ask.

Also I would have thought you will be in a transit lounge at JFK, you won't do customs / immigration until Richmond? Maybe someone can advise on this.
That is not correct. All flights to the US are required to go through Immigration and Customs at airport of arrival. This is includes collecting checked bags and rechecking them after customs. Arriving at JFK will require baggage collection and rechechecking for flight to Richmond.
However if all the flights are on a single ticket it is true that the airline will rebook you on next available flight at no additional cost if necessary.
 
#27
Lots of great detailed info, thanks t2 and others.

But I don’t relate to that stress others described. Even though no one would ever describe me as a zen person, when I travel on one ticket, there is no stress in my journey. Maybe it’s because I don’t know as many of the details about the various airports and the chances that I will miss my connection, or maybe because the flight from Chicago to my little town is so frequently late or cancelled that I am just used to delays and missed flights. But I just plod blindly along, no frantic running, and if I miss my connection, I get my marching orders from an agent, or from my phone, because American/Iberia will have already rebooked me. On the way to the camino, I have a couple of days built in for contingencies, and though I prefer not to use one on my flight over, a missed connection won’t ruin my camino. On the way home, who cares?! My only point is that delays happen frequently, and even connections with a generous connection time can be missed. I once made a connection at Heathrow with a 20 minute connection time from deplaning to departure (i did get preferential treatment and passes, but we made it!), and I have missed connections with a connection time of three hours because of delays on the first flight. But if the airlines books a ticket, it means that it is possible to make the connection without a super-human effort, at least if all the stars align.

Buen camino, Laurie

P.s. t2, great description of JFK. Along with LaGuardia, and the state of the roads that take you into NYC, it must be hard for many international travelers to believe that they are in a first world country!
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
#29
As a sidebar, my younger brother and I few through JFK on the way to Germany by ourselves for the first time when we were 11 and 14 years old. (No one cared then if you were an unaccompanied minor and although the flight attendant did check to make sure we were the ones on her manifest, that was the extent of it.) We had to change planes in JFK and actually take our bags to another counter and recheck them on the way to Europe. We actually had to go outside and walk to another building with our bags (no little buses or trams to ride then). I remember my brother asking me in a fearful voice "Are we going to be OK". We were two scared kids from a small town in Kansas. I flippantly assured him we would be "just fine" although I was also scared to death. We made it to Frankfurt and made it home again all by ourselves (with a visit with Dad in between). That was about 42 years ago. I still need to remind myself sometimes when I travel that I made it then as a scared kid with a little brother in tow and that I can almost certainly do it now as an adult. Good luck to all who are traveling especially on this busy holiday weekend. I know you can do it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#30
Lots of great detailed info, thanks t2 and others.

But I don’t relate to that stress others described. Even though no one would ever describe me as a zen person, when I travel on one ticket, there is no stress in my journey. Maybe it’s because I don’t know as many of the details about the various airports and the chances that I will miss my connection, or maybe because the flight from Chicago to my little town is so frequently late or cancelled that I am just used to delays and missed flights. But I just plod blindly along, no frantic running, and if I miss my connection, I get my marching orders from an agent, or from my phone, because American/Iberia will have already rebooked me. On the way to the camino, I have a couple of days built in for contingencies, and though I prefer not to use one on my flight over, a missed connection won’t ruin my camino. On the way home, who cares?! My only point is that delays happen frequently, and even connections with a generous connection time can be missed. I once made a connection at Heathrow with a 20 minute connection time from deplaning to departure (i did get preferential treatment and passes, but we made it!), and I have missed connections with a connection time of three hours because of delays on the first flight. But if the airlines books a ticket, it means that it is possible to make the connection without a super-human effort, at least if all the stars align.

Buen camino, Laurie

P.s. t2, great description of JFK. Along with LaGuardia, and the state of the roads that take you into NYC, it must be hard for many international travelers to believe that they are in a first world country!
Laurie:

I am guessing that you, like me prefer to travel on one airline / codeshare 'family' per trip. This is designed to make your travel, including connections, as seamless and stress free as possible. That is the primary benefit of codeshare agreements to the traveler.

Within this ticketed trip, inter-terminal connections are minimized, unless the airport is a total botch job, like Chicago O'Hare. For example, all international flights there arrive at Terminal 5. EVERYONE must go landside to get to another physically separate terminal.

Once you do that, you are outside the sterile area to change to another terminal using the train to reconnect to your next leg. They may accept your bag for rechecking immediately before you exit the customs hall, but YOU still have to go outside, to another terminal, then back into another terminal, go through TSA security again, and find your connecting gate. It stinks.

I have encountered this even when flying point to point on UA and AA. Both of these airlines 'own' this airport. They could do better if they tried, but they don't. Even EWR (Newark) has a secure bus shuttle from one terminal to another.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#31
Let me impose further, mindful of your obviously greater-than-mine knowledge of the airline business....

I'm contemplating a return to Spain from the USA in late September or October 2019. Should I be shopping for airplane tickets now -- or wait? Is there a 'best time' to buy?
I would start shopping as far in advance as you can. But make sure your dates cannot change. Otherwise, you could lose money on change fees.

All airline tickets start to escalate in price starting about 30 calendar days before the travel date. After that, the same ticket increases in value every day. The formal threshold for advance purchase tickets is 21 calendar days traditionally, I use 30 calendar days for my planning.

The reservation computers are programmed to harvest as much profit as they can from a given flight. That is why a last-minute purchase for an economy ticket costs as much as a business ticket bought in advance.

My practice, for my April - May Caminos, is to wait until January or February, after the holiday rush. I watch prices and who is offering what advance sales.

Also, understand that if advance bookings, several months ahead are sparse, the computer will generate 'teaser' fares to induce customers to buy more seats. Once the 'teaser' amount of seats are bought, the price starts to return to 'normal' for that advance period.

One thing I have learned recently on codeshare airlines like Iberia (AA) and TAP (UA)... On the day I arrive at the airport to check in for my economy flight, I always ask if there are any inexpensive upgrades to premium economy. This is an emerging product among most international airlines, Premium Economy is what business class was maybe 10 years ago.

An empty seat is a wasted seat. If economy is full and has a waiting list for standbys, the airline will gladly let you pay a little more to sit up front. It does not happen always, or on every flight. But it has happened enough for me to make it a regular part of my check in routine when I fly to Europe. Asking is a 50 - 50 proposition. The worst they can say is no, or they quote an unacceptable price.

Twice, in the past six months, I was able to upgrade for about USD 300 (one way). It sounds like a lot. But, as my base economy fare was already USD 1200, it seemed reasonable, especially for an overnight flight crossing six time zones.

Premium economy on an Airbus 330 got me a wider seat in a cabin with 2 - 3 - 2 seating. Regular economy was 3 - 3 - 3 across. The seat had 60 degree decline, a footrest, and plenty of legroom in a separate cabin. Food and drink was free throughout the flight. There was an amenity kit, real linens, glasses and flatware. The entertainment system, (though not used) was huge.

Value is a relative and highly personal thing. For me, simply being able to get six hours sleep on an 8-hour flight is akin to getting a hotel room for the night. The point of this is that one can actually sleep fairly well enroute and arrive well rested. Hot towels were also included before eating, and again before landing.

Hope this helps.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes, Aragones-Frances-Finisterre, Operation Sabre, Marin Ramble
#32
T2andreo is absolutely right, but NOT for my circumstances — In fact, we are complete opposites! I have more time then money, so spending a few hours in at layover to save hundreds of dollars is perfectly OK with me. I am traveling from the San Francisco bay area to my third Camino this spring and have never spent more than $420 US on a ticket. These are direct flights on a Boeing dreamliner 787, but I forgoe checked baggage and meals. This works for me, but not for everyone.

In short, it’s all about your comfort level and your finances. Travel helps you to find your limitations in both of those fields.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPP 2015, 2016, 2018
Way of St. Francis, Italy April 2017
Portuguese/Finister (2018)
#34
For those of you that don't have Global Entry you can download an app called Mobile Passport that allows you to enter all your passport information and a picture. Immediately upon landing (when you have phone service) you answer all the entry questions and download them. You will get a barcode that allows you to go through a special line for Mobile Passport. Do not wait until you have exited the plane to download the questions; as you often will not have phone service.
I have Global Entry but have often found the Mobile Passport line to be shorter. Most airports with international flights have Mobile Passport (I think there are 24 currently.) If you are checking luggage this may or may not help, depending on when you luggage comes out.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#35
For those of you that don't have Global Entry you can download an app called Mobile Passport that allows you to enter all your passport information and a picture. Immediately upon landing (when you have phone service) you answer all the entry questions and download them. You will get a barcode that allows you to go through a special line for Mobile Passport. Do not wait until you have exited the plane to download the questions; as you often will not have phone service.
I have Global Entry but have often found the Mobile Passport line to be shorter. Most airports with international flights have Mobile Passport (I think there are 24 currently.) If you are checking luggage this may or may not help, depending on when you luggage comes out.
Just BTW & FYI, and I think germane to this dialog, for more than 25-years I worked with the fellow who first developed the Mobile Passport app, perhaps 13 years ago. We were both then working for the US CBP (Customs and Border Protection). He was a supervisor at Atlanta Hartsfield who loved to dabble with computer coding as a hobby.

Over the years, I was at the agency’s Washington HQ. On a regular basis, we would collaborate on a variety of clever projects that helped expedite border clearance. Usually, I was the friend at HQ who opened doors for good ideas. There were others who helped as well.

Over several years he developed the Mobile Passport app and tested it on the sly at ATL, as a test of concept. I recall it was before 2005.

Once it was proven to work, he kicked upstairs through the employee suggestion program. The government technology folks seized on and refined the app so it could be rolled out nationwide. And there we are today.

We both since retired. The last I heard, my former colleague was working in the tech development department at Delta Airlines. Parenthetically, this explains why Atlanta Hartsfield has become the de facto test bed for all new border inspection and airport security technologies.

Just thought I would add this personal recollection to the dialogue.

Hope it helps.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (from Ferrol June 2014)
Camino Portuguese (from Tui May 2015)
#36
it must be hard for many international travelers to believe that they are in a first world country!
That was EXACTLY my thought as I came through JFK on my last 2 journeys home from Spain! The walk outside in the rain to change terminals... not to mention that the incredible rudeness I encountered from an airport and airline emoloyee (separate occasions). JFK is on my “never again” list.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#37
I agree as regards JFK. It is an original 'landing rights' airport from the earliest days of civil aviation, starting around 1947. London Heathrow is similar in concept, as is Madrid Barajas. Back in the day, each airline company was permitted to build its own terminal. This led to the hodge-podge of airline specific multi-terminal airports where no one is happy.

Other US airports with this higgly-piggly terminal arrangement are also original landing rights airports from the late 1940s. These include, in the US, Boston (BOS), Newark (EWR), Miami (MIA), Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW), Chicago-O-Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Seattle (SEA). There are others, but these are the major US gateway airports that foreign travelers to and from the US might use.

More modern airports, built in the 1960s or later, are relatively better. The problem is dealing with the industry's "fortress hub" paradigm and getting flights from your foreign point of travel to decent connecting flights in the US. These, relatively more efficient designs include: Washington - Dulles (IAD), Houston George Bush (IAH), Salt Lake City (SLC), the new Denver Stapleton (DEN), and of course Atlanta Hartsfield (ATL). Of these, ATL is a fortress hub - for Delta, and IAH is a fortress hub for United, So you will likely get the best US connections there. Hence my recommendations.

Plus, as I stated in an earlier thread, ATL is the US government test bed for all technologies intended to expedite passenger movement into and out of the US. I know personally the person who helped develop these technologies while working for the government or who developed the processes for using technologies efficiently.

Once ATL proves the concepts and processes, the government will migrate and expand use of the technology. So, if you can get into Global Entry, DO IT! If you can use the Mobile Passport app, GET IT!. If you have access to joining Clear (a recent government - private sector partnership exploring facial recognition to accelerate departure processing), DO IT!

Clearly, I think most of you with any international travel under your belts, prefer a large single terminal where all airlines share CUTE (Common Use Terminal Equipment) under one roof. Most all of the newest airports, especially in Asia, have adopted this paradigm.

Each year, Changi Airport in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur Airport in Malaysia, among other mostly Asian airports, are at the top of the list of the world's best airports. Conversely, most US airports that follow the old school, distributed / proprietary terminal design reside at the bottom of the "best airport" list. The better designed airports that would be more efficient are not fortress gateways for the US carriers. Hence, the disconnect between passengers and airlines.

The reason why most US airports continually fail in this regard is money. The airlines cannot afford to invest the sort of money needed to accomplish this. Our federal government is not yet willing to make this magnitude of infrastructure investment for the future. There are simpler answers but the industry is not prepared to make the needed changes.

Among US airports, Atlanta Hartsfield (ATL) is better designed than most. Although there are multiple terminals, and the terminals are largely segmented by airline and codeshare partnerships, all terminals are aligned parallel to each other, like a ladder. They are all connected by a modern underground tram system, INSIDE SECURITY, that allows shorter connections. The tram runs in an elongated loop, so it is possible to get on the tram going either out from, or in towards the main terminal and baggage reclaim, ground transport, exits, etc.

This is why I advise people planning on flying to the US to consider ATL as their gateway. The airport is very well designed. When the land was obtained, they obtained enough space for multiple co-operational runways, unlike some of the landing rights airports that only have a single runway operational at one time.

For example, Newark has a single runway that can be operated at a time depending on wind direction. Miami also has a single operational runway at any one time. So too does LAX, SFO and BOS.

But, Dulles and Atlanta have three operational runways at one time, 24 x 7, 365. One is for commercial aircraft takeoffs. Another is for commercial aircraft landings. The third is for corporate and private planes. At Newark, Boston, JFK, Miami, LAX, and SFO, for example, all these landings and departures have to queue for a single operational runway. It makes a difference in the safety margin, especially in bad weather. It also affects delays and connection times. This is also why ATL ranks among the best choices for a US connection, or as a first port-of-entry.

I should say that I have no commercial interest in Delta Airlines or this airport (ATL). In fact, I avoid flying Delta for personal reasons. During my career, I logged over one million actually flown air miles on United (not frequent flyer miles). But, living in South Florida, I find using American Airlines the most convenient for me. They get me where I want to go from my local airport with the best connections. Also, Iberia is a code share partner. So they both use Terminal 4 at Barajas in Madrid. I get seamless connections this way.

I know this is long, but there is a lot of good information in here.

Hope it helps.
 

OLDER threads on this topic




A few items available from the Camino Forum Store



Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 35 4.4%
  • April

    Votes: 114 14.5%
  • May

    Votes: 192 24.4%
  • June

    Votes: 55 7.0%
  • July

    Votes: 15 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 12 1.5%
  • September

    Votes: 236 30.0%
  • October

    Votes: 96 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top