Is 35 minutes enough layover time?
Basically, I'm looking at a flight I could possibly book that's perfect except for its incredibly short layover time (at least from what I think). This will also be my first flight and I will be alone. I will first go from Raleigh to Detroit (9:25AM to 11:25AM) then at noon it will fly to London, Ontario. Since this is an international flight, will I have to go through customs in Raleigh or in Detroit? And is 35 minutes enough for either scenario (whether I go through customs or not)? If not, how much time do I need? One last fact is that both flights will be through Delta.
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Neither, you go through customs in Canada. But 35 minutes is not enough time, especially in Detroit. You need at a minimum of 1 hr.
35 minutes is not enough time.
35 minutes is nowhere near enough time. The minimum is usually 1 hour. I prefer 90 minutes to 2 hours personally, because it is impossible to know if the first flight will be on time or delayed. Is there a better coordinated flight through Buffalo? London seems to be about half way between Detroit and Buffalo, so the latter might work just as well. You will most likely go through immigration and customs when you arrive in London, ON. If you had to clear Canadian immigration on departure from Detroit, then you will absolutely miss the second flight.
Usually 35 minutes wouldn't be enough time but you won't have to stand in any lines, you will already have your boarding pass, and you are continuing your flight on the same airline. You will be in their computer and they will know what flight you are coming in on and what flight you are connecting to. I have done this and sometimes it is as easy as walking off one plane and walking to the gate next to it and walking onto the next flight. Just make sure that when you are in Raleigh you get BOTH boarding passes. They will also check your luggage all the way through to Ontario so you won't have to worry about it. You go through security in Raleigh and customs in Ontario. You won't have to do either in Detroit. You should be fine.
You go through customs when you arrive in Canada. As for the 35 minute connection, that is really hard to say. It is quite tight but if you have a seat towards the front of the plane and the connecting flight has a gate right next to your arriving gate, then 35 minutes is enough time. You have to know that since Delta merged with Northwest, the airline is the dominant carrier at Detroit with about 80-100 gates. If you just look at the airport diagram in the back of the Sky Magazine (Delta's in-flight magazine) you will know. My suggestion is since your flight is already booked, I would familiarize myself with the Detroit airport. Also if you can try to get a seat closer to the front of the plane, it will be good as you can be one of the first people off and would not have to wait for everyone to get their luggage out of the overhead bins. As you approach Detroit, I would ask the flight attendant what gate you will arrive at and what gate your flight to London, Ontario will leave from. As soon as you arrive in the terminal, move as fast as you can to your connecting flight. Do know that Delta closes its gates about 20 minutes prior to departure. Hopefully your flight to Detroit is not delayed. If it makes you feel better, 11:25 am is the estimated time of arrival. Sometimes flights do arrive early. The airlines like to put a buffer in there to factor in airport traffic or delays caused by bad weather.
That's really difficult. Once I had a connection that length. After deplaning, I literally had to run to my next gate, where I just barely arrived on time. Luckily, the plane was late, so I made it. However, my luggage didn't. You can be almost positive that your luggage will not make it through, because the airline workers don't have enough time to sort through all the bags and move them on. I would strongly recommend rescheduling.