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Rome-Charlotte-Tulsa possible?

I'm still playing with routes from Rome back to Tulsa in June. There's an American Airlines flight that leaves FCO at 11:15 a.m., arrives in Charlotte at 4:05; leaves Charlotte at 5:50, arriving in Tulsa at 7:14. This is absolutely perfect for us, but seems to me to be too good to be true. It looks like that is the last flight out of Charlotte (to Tulsa) that day, which means if our flight from Rome is late, we either grab another airline, if possible, or spend the night in Charlotte.

We don't know that airport at all. Anybody familiar with how long it takes to get through passport control and customs? I know we've been told that 2 hours is considered adequate at DFW, but I'm skeptical.

If it matters, we will probably be flying business class on this route.

Posted by
2035 posts

I am not familiar with how long it takes to get through passport control and customs at Charlotte.

BUT, it is a pretty small airport, and with business class to get you off the plane sooner, and if you have global entry, I would risk it.

Posted by
20718 posts

I have used the Charlotte airport a lot over the years. Relatively small but efficient on the domestic side but have no idea how international is handle. My guess that it would not be too bad given that you will probably be the only international flight at that time. Not like a Chicago where you can have a half a dozen international flights at once. Our experience is that international flight tend to be on time. I would do it. AA would have to take care of you if you missed the connecting flight.

Posted by
7 posts

Last year I flew from CDG to Charlotte arriving at 4:20 p.m. and connecting with a flight to SFO. I can’t remember the exact amount of connecting time, but it was approximately the same as your time, maybe a little longer. While I made the SFO flight, it was hectic. Apparently,several international flights arrived at the same time and it took forever to get my checked bags and recheck them. Then the security line was long enough that I had to almost run to the gate where they were already boarding. Flying business class was no help as the delay was with baggage claim. Had I been doing carry-on only, there wouldn’t have been a problem and the connection time would have been sufficient. I liked the Charlotte airport but, on that day, the baggage claim was a disaster.

Posted by
4142 posts

We fly the Munich to Charlotte route frequently. No major delays as it is a relatively small international airport. That said, flights can be late no matter the size or efficiency of the airport. But I think you know this.

Posted by
4104 posts

We will probably not have any checked luggage, so that helps.

And yes, Emily, I do know about late flights. In fact, on each of our last three trips to Europe, at least one of the trans-Atlantic portions of the journey was late, in once case by over an hour, and on another by about three hours. That's really the main reason I'm hesitating, although both those late flights were west to east. Actually, we did have another flight out of London that was delayed about 3 hours.

I guess I've probably answered my own question. Maybe. :-)

Posted by
160 posts

Charlotte is my connection airport for all my flights international and domestic. And I use American airlines because it's my only option to get back to Greenville NC and have the most miles and status with AA.
I expect to spend the night in the airport or a hotel in Charlotte NC because American airlines is notorious for delays. This year alone I have had to spend the night in Charlotte and fly out on the following morning 4 out of the last 6 trips. I don't even get upset any more, I just assume I won't make the connection and am pleasantly surprised when I do. Charlotte is a pleasant airport, well maintained and not too large.
You didn't say what your outbound connection/airlines flights are but I would NEVER attempt an international flight out on the same day. Outbound I position myself in the departure city of the international connection JFK, Boston or ,Dulles for example.

Posted by
3401 posts

I live in Charlotte. We have a great airport... but.... It is infamous for planes having to either circle and wait to land, or landing and having to sit on the tarmac waiting for their gate or traffic to clear so they can get to their gate. There are several nice/reasonable hotels near the airport or you could take the bus ($2.25 appx) or taxi ($25 or less) to uptown.

As someone mentioned, there are several international flights that arrive within a few min. of each other. This slows things down a lot. Getting Global Entry would save you LOTS of time (hubby was through customs and immigration in less than 15 min. on his last flight because he had it.

Posted by
4104 posts

OK, I guess I'll keep looking. What I liked about this flight was it allowed us to have a leisurely breakfast and morning in Rome, and get home before dark, with only one stop. (That's the one thing my husband requested: only one stop.)

If the time at the airport was three or four hours, I'd probably risk it. Or if there were later flights out of Charlotte to Tulsa. So, back to the drawing board!

Thanks, everyone, for your input.

Posted by
111 posts

Charlotte has always been dominated by one carrier, used to be US Air now is American - they control ~90% of the gates, so I’ve always thought that was part of the issue. Global Entry goes a long way here, but so will the $600MM reno just started this week.