Can I go straight from flight to flight at JFK?
January 20, 2017 8:00 AM   Subscribe

I have a pretty straightforward question about switching flights at JFK, but googling has proven fruitless so far: I'm taking an international flight in to JFK on Tuesday, and then a domestic flight from JFK a few hours after I arrive. If they're in the same terminal can I go straight from one to the other?

This is not a formal connection; I booked the two flights separately on distinct itineraries. Both flights are on Delta, and both are arriving at/leaving from Terminal 4. I won't have any bags to retrieve or check. I'm an American citizen flying on an American passport, in case that matters. Once I've cleared customs after landing, is it possible to go directly to the departure gates without having to go through security again? Or will I have to leave the terminal at the arrivals area, re-enter from the departure level, and go through security again? If so, does anyone have any tips on how to get from the arrivals section to the departure section as quickly as possible, without getting lost in the JFK labyrinth?
posted by Itaxpica to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (5 answers total)
When you connect from an international flight to a domestic in a US airport, you always have to clear TSA security after customs, no matter what passport you carry, and even if you have Global Entry. The one exception might be if you're departing from a Canadian airport that has US immigration and customs on the departure side, which I'm assuming doesn't apply here.

If I'm remembering JFK correctly (and I'm like 75% certain this was Terminal 4, but it was also a couple of years ago), you don't have to like change levels or anything, there's a dedicated TSA checkpoint immediately after customs, although it doesn't have a Pre-Check lane.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:36 AM on January 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

In my experience, the process of clearing customs involves collecting your checked baggage. Because of this, before boarding your connection you will have to re-check your baggage on your new itinerary and pass through security again. The rationale is that you will have access to stuff in your checked baggage that may not be suitable to carry on a flight.

If you have no checked baggage, the process will be simpler, but you'll still have to go through security again. If you can print your boarding pass for your second flight in advance, you won't have to go looking for a boarding pass printing machine -- you'll need it in hand in order to pass through security.
posted by heatherlogan at 8:38 AM on January 20, 2017

If you are flying from one of the following countries you may go through customs at your original airport and then I believe you can go straight to your destination gate at JFK:
Dublin and Shannon in Ireland; Aruba; Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas; Bermuda; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg in Canada.
Otherwise you will have to leave the secure area and then re-enter security.
posted by muddgirl at 8:41 AM on January 20, 2017

Thank you, all! I've marked all 3 answers as best, because there's super useful info in all of them. I'm flying out of Ben-Gurion, so unfortunately it looks like I'm going to have to go back through security, though it's good to know that there's a checkpoint near customs (pity about the lack of pre-check, though). Fortunately I don't have any checked bags, so that should shave some time.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:49 AM on January 20, 2017

Just want to tell you to give yourself as much time as possible between the flights. The last time I did this at JFK I missed my domestic flight (granted I did have luggage). But they don't make it easy on you.
posted by peacheater at 5:55 PM on January 21, 2017

« Older What jobs consist primarily of research and...   |   Help me get the most out of my vacation Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.