Customs: JFK vs MIA

Old Apr 26th, 2010, 08:04 AM
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Customs: JFK vs MIA

I am a rookie at flying international-- having only done so a couple times and both times I was lucky enough to have nonstop flights to my final/home destination, so I was able to clear customs there (BOS). However, I will be flying from BGI to BOS Nov 1 and must make a connection. My choices are: fly American via MIA (currently with 2 hr 20 min between flights) or Jet Blue via JFK (currently with 1 hr 50 min between flights).

Which of these airports is "better"/more convenient for clearing customs? I will have checked baggage, so apparently will need to claim my bag, clear customs and then recheck baggage. Not sure if either of these airports is significantly smoother/quicker for this process. (Landing MIA 6:35pm and landing JFK 8:45pm if timing matters). There is a terminal change for sure at JFK-- I don't think there is one at MIA, but not 100% sure.
Thanks for any advice.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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plus you asked this on Flyer Talk as well...
mztery is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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The few times I've landed in Miami the walk from the gate to customs/immigration seemed like miles and miles. We were flying AA from SA and going on to DC. The last times we entered at JFK, it was very smooth and relatively quick. Again AA this time from Europe.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Like YT I've had good experience at AA JFK, but AA and JetBlue use totally different terminals. The immigration/customs experience at JetBlue terminal 4 may be better or worse than AA - you can't generalize for the entire airport.

One downside is that JetBlue arrivals come into Terminal 4 - along with flights from 30 other airlines arriving from every corner of the globe. If you arrive right after several 747's then it could be a long wait at immigration. Changing terminals isn't a big deal - T4 and T5 are close enough to walk - might actually be faster than the AirTrain.

Miami is busy as well - it's AA's international gataway for the Caribbean and South / Central America, so it may be 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.

Deciding factor for me would probably be whether or not there is a later flight, should my 1st leg be delayed and I miss my connection.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 02:31 PM
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We've gone through customs at both JFK and MIA multiple times - our experience at both airports has always been good - wait at immigration has always been short (anywhere from no wait to less than 10 minutes - customs has always been quick but then we always travel with only carry-on (never check bags). Getting back through security to catch the connecting flight is dependant upon many factors outside our control but here again never very difficult or long (about the same as in any airport we've been to.

I agree that on some occasions the walk from the plane to immigration in MIA can sometimes be long but it can also be very short - depends on the rrival gate. Last time we were less than a 3 minute walk from the plane to the immigration checkpoint (which, by the way, was virtually empty).
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