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2 separate tickets - how to plan for the connection

2 separate tickets - how to plan for the connection

Old Feb 9th, 2010, 10:40 AM
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2 separate tickets - how to plan for the connection

We are flying on an international flight with a group that ends at Miami with arrival at 10am. We need to book a one way flight from Miami back to our home destination in Canada. The airline we're flying doesn't complete the trip to Canada, so we're having to pick up a different airline. How much time should be allowed for customs, getting bags and checking in again?

What happens if we are delayed and miss the one way flight to Canada?
Is there any way to book this better?
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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It's difficult to predict but International arrivals at Miami can be a "zoo". How long it takes depends on time of day, day of week and how many other international flights are arriving at the same time as yours. I'd allow at least two hours (three would be better) to make your connection. When travelling on a seperate ticket you'll have to clear immigration, claim your luggage, clear customs, get your boarding pass for your flight top Canada, recheck your luggage go through the TSA Security checkpoint and get to your departure gate.

When travelling on two seperate tickets it is YOUR responsibiliy to get to the connecting airport, checked in and to the departure gate for the connecting flight "on time". If you are late and miss the flight the airline has no obligation to get you to your final destination although most will try to accomodate you on one of their next flights - that could mean later the same day or perhaps the next day but I repeat, the airlines is not required to do this.

You didn't make it clear but did your international trip originate in Canada? If so, perhaps the booking agent for the trip could re-issue your ticket as a r/t itinerary on multiple airlines (i.e. Canada/your international destination/MIA/Canada) that way the one of the airlines would be required to get you to your final destination if you miss a connection.

I'm not a great expert on this subject but other contributors might be able to help if you gave more information such as your actual itinerary, the airlines you are flying and your planned datyes of travel.
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 12:07 PM
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If you are delayed and miss your separate ticket flight to Canada, with most airlines you would have to purchase another ticket on the next available flight, probably with no credit for the one you missed, unless you are able to make a change before you miss your flight (which typically involves a hefty change fee).

Therefore, when flying on two tickets it is absolutely essential to allow plenty of time. It's much better to have hours to spare (and a nice lunch) than rush like mad and/or miss your ongoing flight.
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 12:44 PM
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The original flight starts in the US with the rest of the group. We have 3 1/2 hours between the arrival and departure, so it should be enough time.
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 02:50 PM
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You have enough time assuming there are no problems.

However if the first flight is delayed (or the flight times are changed) and you miss the onward flight then you'll be paying for new tickets.

Can you afford that?
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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You don't say when you're traveling or when during the day you plan to depart for Canada from MIA. In the summer, afternoon thunderstorms can be a problem. But since most international flights land in the AM (from Europe and South America), you're probably pretty safe with 3-1/2 hours between flights as long as you aren't leaving late in the afternoon.
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Old Feb 10th, 2010, 08:04 AM
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You haven't given enough information, and it is confusing.

But, when flying with separate tickets, it's a good idea to find out a few things ahead of time, such as your arrival and departure terminals, and the check-in/baggage check deadlines for your onward flight.

3 1/2 hours at an international airport is not as long as you would presume. There could be long delays anywhere/everywhere along the way.

As mentioned above, you should have a contingency plan in place in case you miss your flight, and know what that will cost you, and know that the second airline will likely have no sympathy whatsoever regardless of the circumstances.

Most seasoned travelers would advise you that it's much better to have hours to spare at an airport than miss your flight, be delayed for hours, a day, several days, and incur significant expense by trying to save a little time.
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Old Feb 10th, 2010, 09:28 AM
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I take it this is a tour company arranging the group part of the trip? Is there any way it can ticket your one-way flight to Canada and link it to the bigger roundtrip ticket? I for one would appreciate that extra security if it were me. It will probably all work out in the end, but if your incoming flight to MIA is delayed, and you miss your one-way flight to Canada, you'll be a no-show and out the cost of the ticket, as was mentioned above.
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Old Feb 10th, 2010, 10:21 AM
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All this advice applies to nonrefundable discount tickets for your last flight. Look up the price of a full fare ticket; if it is not a lot more, that might be a good option, as such tickets can have the date changed without a fee if you miss the flight. Most road warriors buy that type of ticket, as they often have to change the date of a flight at the last minute, or later.

Another option would be to schedule a day or two in Miami. There must be something there you'd like to see.
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