Connecting in Miami, a few questions

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Sep 30th, 2010, 01:03 PM
  #1
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Connecting in Miami, a few questions

I haven't flown anywhere since 1999. My husband and I are flying out of Tallahassee (American Eagle) on Thanksgiving day (12:55 PM) going to Costa Rica. We change planes (American Airlines) in Miami with an hour and twenty minute layover.

Questions:
1. Once we land in Miami, will we have to go through security again?

2. We're not checking baggage (we're packing light). How common is it for there not to be any room to store our baggage on the plane?

3. Since Tallahassee is a small airport, i don't really anticipate delays, but if there is a delay and we miss our connection in Miami, is there generally an extra charge to get a later flight?

4. Is an hour and twenty minutes enough time to change planes without worrying?

Thank you in advance for any responses!
blackcat256 is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2010, 01:46 PM
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American and American Eagle operate out of the new Miami North Concourse, aka Terminal D. It's a mile long, but fortunately has a new train that runs the length, so you shouldn't have to change terminals or re-clear security, and 1h 20m ought to be ample time. Today, for example, the morning flight from TLH to Miami deplaned at D60; the connecting flight to San Jose departed from D43 - maybe a 5 min. walk tops.

If you misconnect, AA is responsible to put you on a later flight at no cost. However if the missed connection (especially if it results from bad weather) requires you to spend the night at MIA, they're unlikely to pay for your accommodation... but they might.

As for carry-on, the issue will be overhead space on the small plane from TLH to MIA, not on the larger plane to Costa Rica. The regional jet from TLH has smaller overhead bins (and not much room under the seat) so you might have to check the bags (or "gate-check" them.) At the moment it looks like there's a fair amount of room (i.e. unsold seats) on the first flight; assuming you're going to San Jose on the second flight, that's looking fairly full, so overhead space for larger carry-ons might be a problem.
Gardyloo is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Most important, enjoy Costa Rica!
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2010, 03:05 PM
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To add to what Gardyloo said, on the Tallahassee to MIA leg you'll be on a Regional Jet and that means if you are carrying on anything bigger than a small duffle you'll have to "gate check" your luggage. Prior to boarding the gate agent will put a tag on your luggage and you'll leave it in the luggage area outside the aircraft (near the door). Don't worry, you'll see plenty of bags belonging to other passengers on your flight. When you land in MIA, your bags will be offloaded and waiting for you as you deplane (sometimes you may have to step to the side of the jetway and wait for the luggage. It will take only a few minutes to arrive.
RoamsAround is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2010, 09:37 PM
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We should talk about your flight home too. A couple of things will be different.

Before you check in for your flight from Costa Rica, you need to pay a $26 airport tax. Walk into the terminal and make a right. You'll see a series of counters where you pay the tax. You can pay in dollars, the equivalent in the local currency (colones), or with Visa or MasterCard. If you use a credit card, it gets processed as a cash advance which means extra fees above and beyond the $26 will appear on your credit-card statement. Once you've done that, then you can get in the check-in line.

Passport control to leave Costa Rica and security are pretty standard. There's a hand search of all your carry-ons at the gate just before you board the plane. They do not let you take bottles of water that you buy in the gate area on board the aircraft.

You land in Miami and everybody disembarks to go through U.S. immigration and customs. Since you're not checking bags, you can walk right from passport control to the customs line without having to wait to pick up your bags. Once you go through U.S. customs, you are outside the secure area. You'll need to go back through security again to get to the gate for your flight to Tallahassee.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
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Oct 1st, 2010, 07:30 AM
  #6
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Thank you all for your replies! Jeff, I had not thought far enough ahead to consider what it would be like coming back. We're just focused on getting there! I plan to pay our airport tax when we arrive. Thanks again.
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