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Old 04-14-2009, 07:12 AM
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 37,310,163 times
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Originally Posted by schmidt486 View Post
I read that if my flight was booked on the same itinerary, I can just take the next plane if delays cause me to miss my connection. Any truth?
That next plane from Chicago to Dublin could be the NEXT DAY. While the airlines do accomodate if you miss your flight due to your connection not getting in on time........ the next flight can be hours away or the next day. Add in that you won't have access to any of your checked luggage. It may or may not have made the connection. If it made it then it is sitting in some airport most likely unattended. If they happen to get your luggage and put it up for you then when you arrive you have to stand in line at the counter for lost baggage and claim it. Depending on how many people are w/o luggage depends on how long that line can be.

Originally Posted by cleosmom View Post
One thing I would suggest is finding out in advance gate numbers and knowing how far you need to truck in the terminal to get from one gate to the next. They should have a map of O'Hare online.

Very true. Another thing I have done is find out where the planes I'm going to be boarding are coming from. Then I monitor their departures and arrivals. You can look up the prior days departure gate and time and their arrival and time. There are usually trends to this. If they are consistently late then you know...... not good. Same for the gate. Are they always landing and coming into the same gate and then is my connecting flight always late arriving and departing and where is the gate for it. I believe the OP said they were going to be on American and in that case they do have this info available. On their homepage on the left hand side mover your mouse over to flight information for "gates and times" and start watching this. Find out where the two planes are coming from BEFORE they get to Columbus and Chicago.

Now, even though you have looked up the gate info for that flight out of Chicago to Dublin ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK once you land. The gates can and do change. You don't want to hustle to one gate and get there and find out the plane is at a different gate in the opposite direction. A good flight attendant will find out for you if you ask them. Ask them before you land if it is possible upon landing if they can verify your connection gate information for you and they will and let you know before you even get off the plane.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:28 AM
Location: NYC area
3,486 posts, read 5,074,699 times
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Originally Posted by schmidt486 View Post
I am going to Dublin this June. I live in Columbus, OH. I'm flying American from CMH/ I have a layover at O'Hare, then nonstop to Dublin from there. I have never flown at all, let alone International. SO i have a few questions...first, i only have from 6:25 pm to 7:15 pm local time to get off my plane in Chicago onto another plane for Dublin. I booked the whole package together so it seems like the airline would allow enough time for the connection but it doesnt seem like very long. DO i have to go through customs and check baggage and all that in Chi?

Basically, can someone explain to me the process please?!

I believe I'll be entering and leaving from the same terminal in Ohare, too.

Wow, less than an hour! That's a pretty tight connection. Okay, not to worry. You've already received some good advice, so I'll just add a few minor things:

Whenever you have a connecting flight, your baggage is checked only on the first flight. It receives all appropriate tags and the airport crew in O'Hare will transfer it to the other plane for you. There is no need for you to come out of the secure area and claim your baggage, then check it. Here are the steps of the process:

1. Arrive at CMH early (I'd say about 3-3.5 hours before your flight). Checking your baggage early lessens the likelihood that it will be lost or misdirected. It also might give you a better choice of seats, if you don't have one pre-reserved. Go to the American counter and check in. Make sure you have your passport ready. Staff will either check you in or help you do a self check-in on a computer screen. You will receive TWO boarding passes -- one for the flight to O'Hare and one for the flight to Dublin. A "boarding pass" is like a ticket that you need to actually board the aircraft. Each boarding pass will have the number of the gate from which the airplane will depart, your seat number and boarding time. Hold on to the boarding passes for dear life -- they are like cash.

2. Simultaneously, your baggage will be checked in. By the way, if your luggage is nondescript, I suggest you attach some conspicuous identifying mark, such as a large, colorful bow. That's in addition to a tag with your name and contact information, which should preferably be plastic with a permanent marker. People are frazzled after a long flight, in the bustle and jostle of the baggage claim, so it's not unusual for folks to grab wrong bags and not check the tags until hours later. Make sure your bags stand out. Since you have a connection, airline staff should attach special tags to your bags. Make sure they do. At the end of the process, your boarding passes will be put into a paper jacket, and your baggage claim stubs attached to the back of the jacket. Your baggage will then be put on a conveyor belt, and you can proceed to the "secure area", i.e. the gates.

3. You don't need to go through customs -- neither in CMH nor in O'Hare. You only go through customs when you enter a country (that is, you'll do it in Dublin), not when you exit. Instead, you'll go to the "secure area". Just follow the signs to "all gates". You'll go through metal detectors, and your boarding passes and passport will be checked. You probably will have to take your shoes off and put them through the x-ray machine along with your carry-on. If you are carrying a computer, it will be separately inspected. Once you enter the secure area, stay there. If you exit, you'll need to stand in line and go through the checks all over again.

4. Find your gate. Note that gate assignments change sometimes. There will be monitors listing departures throughout the secure area, with destination cities listed alphabetically, so you can check the gate assignment when the boarding time nears.

5. When you board, you'll need to present your passport and boarding pass again. Most of the boarding pass the airline will keep, and you'll get a stub, which you should keep in a secure place along with your baggage stubs.

6. When you get to O'Hare, DO NOT go to the baggage claim and DO NOT exit the secure area. Go directly to the gate for the plane to Dublin.

7. While you are on the plane to Dublin, you will be given forms to fill out. Usually, it's 2 forms -- one for immigration and one for customs. Fill them out in advance and keep them with your passport.

8. When you arrive in Dublin, follow the signs to "baggage claim" (or "immigration" or "border control"). You'll go through border control, where your passport and immigration forms will be stamped. Then follow the signs to the "baggage claim". In the baggage claim room, there will be several carousels and a large monitor which will indicate flight numbers and corresponding carousel numbers. Find your carousel number and wait. Be patient. It takes as long as 40 minutes after the plane's arrival for the airport crew to start putting bags on the carousel, and bags come out in batches that can stretch over another hour or so.

9. Once you've claimed your baggage, follow the signs to "Customs/Exit" (they are about the same in all airports). In the customs area, you'll need to show your passport once again, and your customs form will be taken away. After that, you are done.

A word about checked-in luggage and carry-ons. Luggage does get lost sometimes. Keep all valuable equipment in your carry-on, along with a change of clothes (or at least an extra t-shirt). You may not bring any sharp objects on board in your carry-on, or any liquids, gels or foams in containers exceeding 3 fl. oz. in volume (unless you have a medical condition, in which case you need a doctor's note). Even appropriate-size containers should be packed into a translucent lunch bag, and you should take them out of your carry-on when you go into the secure area.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:09 AM
9,031 posts, read 16,457,937 times
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another good idea is to put a piece of paper inside your luggage that will have your first name, contact phone # that can be used in your destination along with your destination city

this can be helpful in the event of lost luggage - the outer tags can be flimsy and provide no backup if something happens to the outside tags in helping the airport get your bag to you
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:42 PM
Location: Texas
718 posts, read 2,154,757 times
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Just an FYI, I looked up on the O'Hare terminal map, and it looks like American domestic and American International departures are all out of terminal 3. With that being said, terminal 3 is looks huge by the map (I have never flown through O'Hare, so I have no personal knowledge). Here is a link to the maps:

Maps and Concessions at OHare

I like the advice on the movies, I like to know what is playing and plan ahead what I want to watch. If you have any special meal requirements, don't forget to call ahead with requests. When I travel internationally, I usually have 2 kids with me, so I check most of our luggage. I do carry on a bag with a change of clothes, extra underwear, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and anything else I might would need in case I am without luggage for a day or two.

I like to make a copy of my passport and leave it home with a relative or some you can get in touch with easily. You can never be too careful.

Just relax and have fun!
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:08 PM
Location: Spring/The Woodlands area
228 posts, read 886,149 times
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* I like to make a copy of my passport and leave it home with a relative or some you can get in touch with easily. You can never be too careful. *

I put a copy of my passport in my hotmail file...if I need it, I can go to my account and print it...
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:19 PM
Location: Texas
718 posts, read 2,154,757 times
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Originally Posted by DotLib View Post
I put a copy of my passport in my hotmail file...if I need it, I can go to my account and print it...
I've never thought about that, great idea! Whether you take your computer or not, there is always access worldwide!
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:21 PM
Location: Spring/The Woodlands area
228 posts, read 886,149 times
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Originally Posted by statefan View Post
I've never thought about that, great idea! Whether you take your computer or not, there is always access worldwide!

I cruise a lot, and you never know when you might need it!
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:52 PM
515 posts, read 1,175,180 times
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That's a really good idea! I never thought of that....hmm... must use for future reference. Lol.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:38 PM
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
3,871 posts, read 15,527,341 times
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You'll have a fabulous time! Ireland rocks!

Every time you must change planes, whether you are flying within the country, within the continent, within the hemisphere, or within the planet -- never ever ever ever leave less than two hours between flights. Delays are likely, due to weather, mechanical problems, illness, who knows, so you MUST plan for them. You can always read while you're waiting for your next flight, walk around the part of the terminal you're in, eat, watch planes, help an old lady find something...

If you can do your trip on one 20" suitcase, and smart travelers do this all the time, then you can KEEP that suitcase with you as carryon luggage and you can stow it in the compartment above your seat (or a nearby seat). This means you will never lose the suitcase.
Checking suitcases, especially when you must change planes, is a loud invitation to the fates to have your luggage disappear for at least five days. If you nevertheless insist on checking luggage, be certain to have a paper easily accessible without breaking the suitcase's locks.
On the paper, have your name only, list your flights with carrier names and flight numbers, and identify with dates the places you will stay (hotels, ets.) with full name, complete address, phone number, and fax number. Never ever ever ever put your own name, address and phone number on or in checked luggage -- this advertises to thievs that no one's home at that place and it's ripe to be robbed. All your hotels will have all that info if you do lose something.

Organized thieves stake out airports, especially international flights. Their object is to get from you as much as they can, without detection, and then sell what they get, including your identify.
SO: never ever ever ever let go of anything that belongs to you while you are in an airport, airport restaurant, rest room, shop, etc. They will spot your inexperience from a mile away.

Aspects of this:

WEAR your documents -- passport, tickets, boarding passes, credit card, driver's license, U.S. paper money, Irish paper money, medical insurance card, any medical info that's critical to your life, your travel insurance page with your policy number printed on it (not the entire policy), your itinerary, name and phone numbers with zip codes of persons who must be contacted in case of your medical emergency, kidnapping, death.

By "wear" I mean not "pocket" where anyone can steal these things from you. Wear them in a moneybelt which you wear around your waist under your clothes. Be fussy about carefulness -- you've heard of driving defensively? Live defensively in airports and strange places.

Keep a photocopy of the full page of your passport that has your photo (open the page out to photocopy): in a pocket of your suitcase; in your moneybelt; with a friend/family at home so they can fax it to you if necessary; copied and stored in your hotmail.com email account so that you can print it out.

Never ever ever ever let go of anything that's yours until you're sitting in your seat in the airplane or taxi. So at the security checkpoints, when you must put all your stuff on the conveyor belt, DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT let ANY of your stuff move ahead of you on its conveyor belt. HOLD your stuff, and wait. The security officer will tell you when it's okay for you to walk through the metal detector. That's when you let go of your stuff and let it move along the conveyor belt beside you. Object: prevent the person (passenger? thief?) in front of you from walking away with your stuff.

International travel is the best! But in order to really, fully enjoy it, think wisely, plan carefully, move cautiously, and always trust your gut feeling.

Last edited by allforcats; 04-15-2009 at 10:46 PM..
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:43 PM
515 posts, read 1,175,180 times
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Use a fanny pack if necessary!

Unattractive, yes, but helpful when it comes to stowing the necessities!
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