Miami Airport - Question

Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 11:19 AM
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Miami Airport - Question

I know I should probably be posting this on the "Airlines" board, but that board doesn't get a lot of traffic so I thought I would try here.

I am flying from DFW to Lima Peru in December. The flight down there is a direct flight, but the return flight stops in Miami. I have heard from friends that I will not be able to check my bags all the way through to DFW. I was told I would have to get my bag off in Miami, go through customs with it, leave the secured area and go back to the main ticket counter to check the bag to DFW, go back through security and then on to my gate? Is this correct? The airline is only giving me a little over an hour in which to accomplish all this, seems like it could be tough. Hoping to hear from someone who's flown internationally into Miami and on to a connecting flight who can help out. Thanks.
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 11:26 AM
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That is correct - when we came back from Curacao (American Airlines), we had to claim our luggage, go through customs, and then recheck the luggage. We did not go back to the main ticket counter, however. There was a place to check it just through customs and there were people directing you where to go and where to put your luggage. It was the same when I came back from Mexico connecting through Dallas (also American Airlines). We had less than 30 minutes in Dallas to connect due to the first plane being late and still made it.
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for the info Lucy. That clarifies it somewhat. Did you have to go through security again, or was this area where you checked your bag back in still inside the security area?
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 12:05 PM
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Just returned to DFW on Friday from Costa Rica with Delta via Atlanta. Whenever or wherever you leave the US, the point of entry back into the country is where you go thru customs (in your instance, it'll be Miami) --- all airports here are configured so that their arriving international flights pick up their bags and then are directed to customs --- once you go thru the customs line, there's usually signs or someone who directs you to where they re-check the bags. They're very good & very fast at this --- they snatch those bags out of your hands & then you'll be on your way to catch your connecting flight.

My plane landed 10 minutes early in Atlanta (7:50 pm). My itinerary was scheduled for a 9:50 pm connecting flight, however I managed to haul ass and caught the earlier flight to Dallas (8:35 pm departure). I ran to the gate and was the last person on the plane. They shut the door after me and we took off. By the way, I don't recommend this --- just to let you know that it's possible to do the process in 40 minutes. I was fortunate as they didn't ask to look thru my luggage; and yes, there were checkpoints in which they were doing random searches.
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 12:17 PM
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Sorry, I don't recall about security and both trips were pre-9/11 so I would imagine it has changed. On our only international trip post-9/11, we had a direct flight back from Jamaica to O'Hare so not an issue.
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 01:12 PM
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Every time I've connected after coming back into the country, the airline has taken the bag back basically right outside of customs. This is not a hard process, as basically your whole flight is probably doing it. The only times my bags have been delayed have been on this type of connection, so it's good that it's on the way home.
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 02:05 PM
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Hi Kath:

Lucy is right, you just check them back in right after customs. You do have to go back through security, since the customs area leaves you in the main terminal. Just go up one level and walk to the concourse where your gate is...You'll be in concourse E when you get out of customs (that's where all AA international flights arrive); most flights will leave from concourses B, C, or D...

Have a great time in Peru! And have a ceviche for me
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 02:26 PM
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Thanks Enrique. Its my first time through there and I'll be by myself so all the info is very helpful.
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 06:26 PM
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Dear Kath:

Other posters have addressed the process of going through customs (with luggage) but most have not addressed the TIME issue which you are (I think) quite right to be concerned about. It might be POSSIBLE to wait for your luggage, pick it up ar the carousel, wait in the customs line, go through the customs inspection, surrender your luggage to the baggage handlers, walk from Terminal E to your connecting terminal, wait in the security line there, go through security, walk to your connecting gate, and go through the additional security check at the boarding gate in less than the hour you have to make your connection, but do you really think that's likely? Even the slighest delay at any point in this process is going to make it hard to make your connection in such a short time. This would be true at almost any airport in this post-9/11 world, but the Miami airport is almost in a class by itself in the level of chaos which occurs there even on good days!

Have you considered asking your airline for a longer connection? If not, I'd at least learn the schedule for later flights so that you can be prepared to re-schedule if you miss your connection.
Old Sep 24th, 2002, 08:13 AM
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I just came back from Cancun thru Miami and on to Boston. I suppose everyone may have a different experience. We arrived at Miami and went thru a line at immigration for US citizens. They checked passports and sent us on to claim our luggage and customs. We picked up our luggage and were waved right thru customs. I saw others having their luggage opened and checked. I think in less than 40 minutes we got off the plane, cleared customs and rechecked luggage for our connecting flight and were sitting in a restaurant.
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