Saturday, March 14, 2009

Can I leave an US airport during an 12 hour layover in Atlanta on an international flight

Can I leave an US airport during an 12 hour layover in Atlanta on an international flight?
Hi, I'm German and I'm gonna travel back from my US trip in June from Santa Ana, USA to Frankfurt, Germany. I just found out that I'm gonna have an 12 hour layover in Atlanta and I was really excited to go and visit the city. But then I heard that it's not allowed to leave the airport? No clue where or whom to ask and I hope that you know more. I'll be travelling alone and I think I'll go crazy if I had to sit there for 12 hours all by myself, especially since I arrive at am! Does anyone know for sure and from a reliable source if I can leave the airport and go to the city?
Air Travel - 7 Answers
Random Answers, Critics, Comments, Opinions :
1 :
Of course you can leave the airport! As a german citizen, you do not need a visa to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days! There is no rule that you have to stay inside the airport once you have started your trip. People who are from countries that must have a visa used to have to stay in the airport if they transited the U.S., but now even they must have a visa , and may leave the airport. You will love Atlanta...just get back to the airport in time.
2 :
You can leave the airport but you have to go through customs both ways.
3 :
Usually you can but just to be sure, I'd check with your airline to make sure that your ticket permits you to leave the transit area. For good tips on things you can do inside and outside the airport in Atlanta, check out this site -
4 :
You can leave the airport. Since you have 12 hours, feel free to take a taxi to downtown Atlanta and explore for about 4 hours. Atlanta is huge, and there are a lot of great restaurants to eat at. However, don't spend more than 4 hours out. You will have to check in for your flight again and clear the security checkpoint. Make sure to check-in for your flight back to Frankfurt at least 3 hours before departure. Have a great trip!
5 :
Yes, you may leave the airport. If you are flying Santa Ana-Atlanta-Frankfurt, you'll just need to be sure to bring your Atlanta-Frankfurt ticket and your passport with you when you are out in Atlanta. Your Santa Ana-Atlanta flight will therefore be just like any other regular US domestic flight. When you return to the airport for your trip to Frankfurt, you'll just need to arrive with plenty of time to check in again - perhaps 3 hours, but check with your airline to be sure. One note: if you check baggage in Santa Ana (i.e. put it under the plane) you will not be able to get it in Atlanta. If you want to do the same thing on your Frankfurt-Atlanta-Santa Ana flight, it's pretty much the same story. You'll have to clear customs in upon arriving in Atlanta whether you leave the airport before your Santa Ana flight or not. The only difference here is that you'll have to carry your checked bag through customs, so if you want that with you while you're in the city for some reason, it will be available to you. But if you don't want to carry it through the city, you could simply land, get your bag, clear customs, re-check your bag for the second flight, go to the city, come back to the airport, go through security, and board your flight.
6 :
I would stay in the airport.......purchase a day pass from one of the airlines vip clubs........just hang out munch, sleep or have a drink or two........
7 :
Yes you will be able to leave the airport. Because you are beginning your trip in Santa Ana (a.k.a. Orange County, SNA) and you are arriving into another city in the USA, you are permitted to leave the airport. You will NOT go through any customs/immigration until you arrive into Germany. However you will need to get re screened by TSA upon your return to the airport to get to your flight.

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