We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Flying from Chicago to Roatan

Packer Town
Level Contributor
82 posts
8 reviews
Flying from Chicago to Roatan

We are planning a 15-16 day visit to Roatan and Utila. We need to be in Roatan from March 4-8, as we are meeting family at that time. Other than that, no restrictions as to dates. I'm having a heck of a time finding flights! I do see a flight down with a 1 hr 5 min layover in Houston - do you think this is enough time to make a connecting flight with the same airline? I see a flight back with a 1hr 48 min layover in Houston - do you think this is enough time to make a connecting flight with the same airline? The airline is United and we travel light - small carry-on bags only. I would really like to avoid extremely long flights and avoid the Salvador/Guatemala route, if possible. On the other hand, I'd really rather not miss a connecting flight. Please help me and thanks!

18 replies to this topic
I wander the world
Level Contributor
4,823 posts
25 reviews
1. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

Going down ya might well be ok IF your first leg is on time and your gates are close together.

Coming back ya have to add in customs and immigration, this may make it tough to catch the next flight.

What I take into consideration is how many flights a day are going where I want to go so if a connection is missed how long to I have to wait for a possible seat, mind you it is first available seat NOT next flight. If I have to be someplace at a set time... I leave PLENTY of room for nature and any other travel crazy.

Calypso, North...
Level Contributor
902 posts
1 review
2. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

I always find , select and schedule longer layovers ORD>RTB and return. I'd rather spend 2 hours in IAH than an overnight in Houston. The flights are there.

Packer Town
Level Contributor
82 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

Thanks for the quick responses - I am using ITA Matrix for a flight search. What do you use?

Tokyo, Japan
Destination Expert
for Hakone-machi, Minato
Level Contributor
7,768 posts
4. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

I always fly United. I use www.skyscanner.com to find nonstop flights between IAH-RTB first, then work on the flights to get to IAH and vice versa. I get my tickets through the official United site. If there's a problem, United takes care of the glitches without blinking an eye.

Although United does a good job with "on time" departure these days, I wouldn't trust just a one hour layover. Just a coincidence perhaps but all the times my flights have NOT been be on time were out of Chicago. Give yourself at least 2 hours for domestic flights. "1 hour and 5 minutes" means doors close 50 minutes after your arrival. IAH is a big airport.

Unless you have Global Entry, there will be a line at immigration when entering the US at Houston. You need to allow time to walk from the plane to immigration, then from immigration to TSA again (always a long line -- there's no TSA Pre after 4 pm), then a longer walk to whichever terminal you're in. International from Roatan departs and arrives in Terminal E. The United domestic flights I take are almost always in Terminal C. You might need to take the tram to get to your terminal. Or walk fast. Even without waiting for luggage (IAH must be the slowest airport.....), one and 48 minutes is too iffy. Doors close for boarding 15 minutes prior to departure.

Fun fact. I've done a hour and 40 minute transfer -- with Global Entry + luggage. The plane arrived early. We were in Business/First and our bags came out first. We know the airport well and RAN all the way to gate... which got changed while we were running. Needless to say, it was a most harrowing experience. Our luggage didn't make it on the flight with us and arrived on the next flight 24 hours later. Will never do that again. We always plan on 3 hours in Houston when coming back from Roatan.

There's a Marriott at IAH which is really easy to get to. There is "subway" (2 cars) that runs below the airport. Departs from below Baggage Claim in whatever terminal you're in and goes to directly to the hotel. 5 minutes. Depending on our flights, we always spend one night, either going to or coming from Roatan.

When United doesn't have nonstop flights from Houston, we use Avianca and go through San Salvador. It's a lovely airport. Nice people. Short transfer. We're going to Guatemala in January, so looking forward to that.

Utila, Honduras
Destination Expert
for Utila
Level Contributor
3,118 posts
343 reviews
5. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

i fly from chicago to roatan several times a year (i have a home on utila), I use AA, early 6am ish flight to Miami and connecting to a noonish flight to Roatan. always have enough time to relax in the lounge for an hour between flights. On the way home, allow 2 hours between flights at miami, customs can be slow there.

Level Contributor
40 posts
6. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

Given the long walks at MIA and IAH plus huuuuuuggggeeeee lines at immigration plus slightly shorter lines to return through security plus occasional hold up at customs even without baggage retrieval plus airline delays, I would only attempt this if you have Global Entry. Our last time through SFO there was zero line at GE immigration. Agents sitting around idle.

A solution is to clear immigration at your destination. Since they don’t fly nonstop from RTB to your home, then going through SPS or SAL might work. SAL is a nice little airport and Avianca flies on yo many major US cities. Maybe cheaper too. Say “nice doggie” to the drug sniffing dogs.

Missouri
Level Contributor
785 posts
7. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

We flew United in May. Had a 2 hour layover in DFW on the Saturday return flight. Customs was fairly quick but TSA only had one agent checking id’s and it took forever to get through. They were just closing the doors on our connecting flight when we hit the gate.

Level Contributor
40 posts
8. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

Corona, we’re you flying United through IAH or American through DFW? United doesn’t fly to RTB through DFW. Not that it matters.

Missouri
Level Contributor
785 posts
9. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

Yeah.....sorry. It was American.r

Edited: 01 November 2018, 16:14
Newfoundland and...
Level Contributor
4 posts
27 reviews
10. Re: Flying from Chicago to Roatan

From my experience with the airport in Houston I wouldn't risk it. We flew through there a couple years back on our way home from Managua and thought two hours should be more than enough time but we were sorely mistaken. We had missed our flight before we were even through the customs line and United wouldn't do anything for us without a fight. Essentially told us it wasn't their problem that we missed our connection, that it was the airports, even though they sold us an itinerary that was near impossible without zero lines at customs and security. Needless to say I avoid all travel through IAH now, if possible, and I won't fly United. Just a bad all around experience.

Reply to: Flying from Chicago to Roatan
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Roatan