¨The devil himself had probably redesigned hell in light of information he had gained from observing airport layouts.¨
What is a Flight with Intermediate International Connections
After flying over 100 international flights in the past eight years, I have come to detest ¨Intermediate International Connections¨ flights.
A ¨Intermediate International Connection¨ flight has two legs. The first leg departs from one country and then arrives at a destination in another country. In the second leg, you make a connection from this ¨Intermediary International Connection Point¨ to your final destination in the same or a third country.
Typical Problems with Connections on International Flights
Most likely you will have to go through security, immigration, and customs at the ¨Intermediate International Connection Point¨, even if you are transiting to a third country.
For example, let’s say you are flying from Cancun to Montreal and have a connection in Atlanta. You will go through security in both Cancun and Atlanta. You will also go through US Immigration and Customs in Atlanta and Canadian Immigration and Customs in Montreal. (Note: if you take a flight directly from Cancun to Montreal, you will only go through security in Cancun and Canadian Immigration and Customs in Montreal).
One exception: You usually do not need to go through security if you are flying from Canada and connecting in the US to go to another city in the US. (In other words, you will likely not have to go through security in Chicago if you are flying from Toronto to Los Angeles via Chicago).
To avoid going through security, immigration, and customs multiple times, fly non-stop as much as possible on international flights with Intermediate International Connections. For a couple of years, I flew from Cancun to Montreal via the US to save money. Now, I fly non-stop exclusively even though it costs me between $50 and $100 more. I consider it a wise investment in my mental health.
How to Avoid Problems at the International Connection Point
Ensure that you can make the connection when booking your flight. I have frequently found myself running to the gate after being delayed with immigration, custom, and security procedures.
If possible, leave at least two hours for the connection. A three hour connection time is even better to avoid running through an airport to catch your connecting flight.
I make this suggestion because:
- flights often arrive thirty minutes to an hour late;
- it usually takes between thirty minutes and an hour to go through immigration, customs, and security; and
- it can take up to an additional ten to forty minutes to get to the gate for your connecting flight.
If you are a citizen of a developed country, usually you can transit in an Emerging Country without going through immigration at the ¨Intermediary International Connection¨ point. You are encouraged; however, to verify this before you buy a ticket with a ¨Intermediary International Connection¨ country that requires a visa to enter.