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Best lay over

I will be traveling round trip from San Francisco to Dublin next summer. Most flights have at least one layover. Is it best/ easier to have the layovers in the US? I am concerned about timing and going through immigration in London or France vs having to go from domestic US terminals to international US terminals ie @ O Hare. Pros and cons of both? Most layovers are less than 2 hours.


Posted by
3112 posts

I would opt for a layover in Europe as there are likely multiple same-day flights to Dublin should you miss your connection. If you were to miss your connection at a US airport, it might be next day (or later) before they could rebook you on a flight to Dublin.

Posted by
13930 posts

tips - when you check in, make sure you have boarding passes for both flights. If you are checking a bag, make sure it's tagged to Dublin going and SFO returning. Ask for a "short connection" tag as well.

Avoid a transfer at O'Hare at all costs! I don't think you go through immigration, but it can take a long time to get through security and to your gate, especially in London. Ask the staff for the expedited line - even if there isn't one they may put you at the head of the line.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi! I have flown San Diego --> Dublin countless times and what I have learned is that if you can do your long stretch of your trip from California to Europe first (layover in Europe), then you benefit from the inflight entertainment and more spacious plane for longer of your journey. The flight from London/Paris to Dublin will be short and on a much, much smaller plane (probably without inflight entertainment unless you pay for a fancier class than economy). If you fly California to O'Hare or somewhere on the East Coast, your first leg will be one of those 5 hourish flights on a moderate/small size plane and then another 5 hourish, potentially moderate sized plane to Dublin (if you are lucky, they sometimes have the nice big plane).

Honestly, it depends how you like to break up your flights. Two roughly equal legs with a break in the middle, or one long flight to sleep on and then a short one. I tend to prefer the latter. Going USA --> Ireland you will only do immigration in europe (in Dublin airport, which can take ages if you happen to get in the NON-EU line along with lots of other Americans). On the way back Ireland --> USA, I STRONGLY recommend having your first port of entry in the USA be your final destination. Otherwise, if you have a layover in the USA going back, you will need to retrieve all your checked luggage, go through security, recheck all the luggage, and reenter the normal part of the airport all on that layover (it can take hours). At least if you have to do this at your final destination, you aren't risking missing a subsequent flight.

Posted by
298 posts

You could always fly to LA and take Aer Lingus direct to Dublin.

Posted by
3223 posts

On the return, if you fly directly to the US from Dublin you clear US customs and immigration in Dublin so when you step off the plane in the US it is just like you exited a domestic flight. Bad part is it takes more time there. Good part is it save you possibly hours stuck in the line at your point of entry into the actual US and you can check your bag all the way to your destination and not have to retrieve and recheck.