Houston International Airport Connections
July 21, 2008 9:18 AM   Subscribe

How is Houston International Airport for connecting international flights?

I'm going to be travelling from Toronto to Mexico City via Houston. I'm flying Continental. Now I'm not particularly worried about flying to Mexico City, as there's a US customs in Pearson(Toronto). Coming back I'm curious if I'll have to re-check my bags in Houston when coming home (unless there's an american customs in MEX, I'm sure I will).

I ask because I've previously done many business trips from Curacao via Miami. Miami's disaster of an airport always made me have to take my bags and re-check them in even though I was in transit to Canada. I assume it's FAA requirements at all airports from flights arriving outside the US. But what's worse is that after going through customs there, you're supposed to leave your luggage in a huge pile that never make the connections and then bolt as fast as I can across the airport and barely make the next flight.

Am I in for the same experience in Houston? Is it at least a better Airport than Miami?
posted by hylaride to Travel & Transportation around Houston, TX (6 answers total)
Last month I had a connecting Internal flight from Houston around 7PM on a weekday (Arrived there around 4PM) and it was not crowded and re-cheking the luggage was not that much of a problem. Also luggage was not delayed or missing in my destination.
posted by WizKid at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2008

Flying in from Vancouver last month, we had to re-check luggage. There's a US Customs facility in Vancouver, but our flight was a red-eye and that Customs facility closed by the time our flight started getting processed. The flight that left before ours was processed, though.

That said, we got to Houston at around 7AM localtime, and were able to make our connecting flight after going through Customs and re-checking. We had about a 1:25 stop-over, and made it to our gate with about 15 minutes to spare.
posted by chengjih at 9:50 AM on July 21, 2008

Yes, you will have to re-check in Houston. It's the penalty you pay for not flying direct. You are essentially taking two trips, one to the US and one from the US to Mexico.

That said, HOU is modern and clean and quick to get around. It's much better than Miami. Your risk of losing your luggage or having it misdirected is the usual 1-in-20 or so.

If possible, get a direct to Mexico City next time. Air Canada has cheap ones sometimes. The few extra dollars saves you, like, an entire day of work, because Canadian and Mexican customs is much, much less stressful than US customs.

Also, very very important: While changing terminals in Houston, you should stop for a Shipley's donut (Terminal B.)
posted by rokusan at 11:34 AM on July 21, 2008

Miami International smells like wet carpet. Everywhere. All the time.
posted by rokusan at 11:34 AM on July 21, 2008

Very few major airports are as bad/inefficient as Miami, and that goes for domestic flights, too. My experiences in Houston haave been few but overall very positive. I did not come back in to the US through Houston, though, but judging by everything else an airport has to offer, Houston is far better than Miami.

Seconded to Rokusan's advice, except I have no clue about donuts.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:56 PM on July 21, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks guys! Looks like I'll be fine. I'll check out those places in the airport.

I'm flying connecting, because the difference in price was $700 for continental VS $1600 for AC at the time of booking. Thanks for all the info!
posted by hylaride at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2008

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