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transfers at miami airport to south american destination

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
The last time I was flying back from SA, I had a layover in Miami to get back to Canada. I had to pick up my baggage, go through customs, and then check my baggage and go through security again. It was a retarded system and needlessly stressful because the layover was barely long enough to get through on time. What's the experience going the other way? If I'm flying from Toronto->Miami->S.America, do i have to go through Customs in Toronto (presumably yes), then go through again in Miami because their airport is retarded and you can't transfer to a different flight w/o going through the same areas as people that haven't already been screened once? Or is it more like JFK where because you're only passing through, there's not much extra security? Need to figure out what will be the least aggravating way to get down there taking into account travel time and airport hassles.
post #2 of 12
I just traveled from Louisiana to South American through Miami. I did have to recheck luggage, but I was carrying a gun (was going hunting, it's a long story), and I didn't have to go through US Customs in Miami. I don't see why you couldn't check your bags all the way through to your destination and only go through customs at your final destination. It should be the same going back. Customs wants to check your luggage to make sure you're not bringing anything illegal into the country, or bringing something that could be taxed, and if you're not stopping in the US, I don't see why they'd want you to go through US Customs.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolpapa View Post
I just traveled from Louisiana to South American through Miami. I did have to recheck luggage, but I was carrying a gun (was going hunting, it's a long story), and I didn't have to go through US Customs in Miami. I don't see why you couldn't check your bags all the way through to your destination and only go through customs at your final destination. It should be the same going back. Customs wants to check your luggage to make sure you're not bringing anything illegal into the country, or bringing something that could be taxed, and if you're not stopping in the US, I don't see why they'd want you to go through US Customs.

Well, coming back, I can say with 100% certainty that even if you're transferring to a flight with a destination outside of the US, you still go through customs because i guess the airport wasn't designed to facilitate transfers between destinations outside of the US.

If it was JUST an extra security check of your bags it might not be as bad, but being forced through customs is a waste of time, and you do in fact have to do both; customs and security checks are separate.
post #4 of 12
they have added a new terminal in miami a while back, so some airlines go through the new terminal. you don't have to touch your luggage, but in some cases you have to exit the secure area and then go through security again. not fun. so sometimes its a matter of a few minutes, sometimes 90 minutes.
post #5 of 12
MIA sucks big monkey balls... just remember that every time you are there and you won't be quite as upset.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
Well, coming back, I can say with 100% certainty that even if you're transferring to a flight with a destination outside of the US, you still go through customs because i guess the airport wasn't designed to facilitate transfers between destinations outside of the US.

If it was JUST an extra security check of your bags it might not be as bad, but being forced through customs is a waste of time, and you do in fact have to do both; customs and security checks are separate.

Hi, not sure if this info will be useful to you;

I have flown to SA several times in the past 18 months, in my most recent experience Houston was the best place to transfer for my final flight back to Vancouver, they had a special line at customs for non-US citizens with carry-on only, I zipped through, went through a non busy security check and was having a nice dinner in 35 minutes(there is a nice Wine Bar in the terminal)....it took me 2 hours to get through customs at LAX last time...never again.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS View Post
MIA sucks big monkey balls... just remember that every time you are there and you won't be quite as upset.
+1. On the plus side, they do have some good food in the airport, so you can get an arepa to quell your raging anger.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambo View Post
+1.

On the plus side, they do have some good food in the airport, so you can get an arepa to quell your raging anger.

The should serve it in line, because the times i've been there, lines are the only part of the airport I saw.

Based on responses, I'm trying to schedule around MIA, if possible. Looks like Newark may be an option, or JFK, or even Panama.
post #9 of 12
No Ft. Lauderdale?
post #10 of 12
You wouldn't have to touch a thing if you transfer in Panama. Everything is contained in one terminal and since they're smart enough to realize they're an important international hub they don't make their passengers deal with customs unless they're exiting the airport. The food court's upstairs which is retarded because Panama is an oven and they don't believe in air conditioning, so you can guess where all the hot air and smoke finds itself. Do take advantage of the large-personality women shoving free booze (and other things) in your face in the duty free shops.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by whodini View Post
You wouldn't have to touch a thing if you transfer in Panama. Everything is contained in one terminal and since they're smart enough to realize they're an important international hub they don't make their passengers deal with customs unless they're exiting the airport.

The food court's upstairs which is retarded because Panama is an oven and they don't believe in air conditioning, so you can guess where all the hot air and smoke finds itself. Do take advantage of the large-personality women shoving free booze (and other things) in your face in the duty free shops.

+1 Panama is a breeze to get through,but double check your gate, it seems they are always different from the boarding passes i get elsewhere

OP-Where are you going in SA?
post #12 of 12
Glad I'm not the only person who always wonders why the actual gate is always different from what's printed on the pass AND what the TA says.
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