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#90770 08/19/04 02:45 PM
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Flew American Airlines to Belize, through Miami, for the first time last week. The connection in Miami gave us 1.6 hours to get through customs so I really wasn't anticipating a problem. But, we sat on the tarmac for 1/2 hour watching a retiring pilot taxi his last flight through an honorary firetruck spray, customs was really slow, and when we picked up our luggage to recheck it,some lady ran up, tore our bagtags off and said the recheck closed 5min. earlier, i.e. 30min. before departure.. Still not sure if she was AA or TSA. So, AA says we weren't 60min. late and they're not responsible for immigration/customs delays, so come back to the airport tomorrow to continue your flight. Did get a "complimentary" shuttle bus pass. Have flown to Belize through Houston with a 55min. connection window and through Charlotte with 1.3hr and never had a problem. Continental in Houston had service reps. getting luggage if it got close. Is Miami always slow to get through? Is AA generally so unconcerned? I have no gripe with TSA. Whatever they do is better than the alternative. If it was an exception I'll at least consider AA again. Are most everyone's exp. with Miami/AA OK?


Flyfishing my way through mid-life crisis.
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kreshfish - Miami airport is just awful for customs/immigration. I flew on AA from Costa Rica and I waited 60 minutes for my checked luggage let alone the long line to clear customs. For me, I knew the 1.5 hour connection wasn't going to be enough time from past experience, so to avoid the hassle, I booked myself on a flight the next morning flight and paid to stay at a nearby hotel. I avoid Miami like the plague now.

Just two days ago I breezed through customs in Dallas on American coming back from Belize without a problem. I think Miami/any airline combination is the headache.


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here is the deal if you must go thru mia ,when you go thu customs walk all the way to the right around the pole as far right as you can go ,this saves 30 min or more ,I go thru mia ans aa once a month ,but have a two hr lay over ,and time to spare ..next month going to belize us air ??? thru charlotte n/c for first time how is that air port going down only have a 1 hr lay over ??/ but just to change gates and plane but no customs only change plans on the return have 1 hr and 20 min ???? to clear customs and get on the plane to newark ??? how is that


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Capt. Jeff, I didn't quite catch that. How do you save time at Miami?

Like others, I was amazed at how long it takes to walk to Customs, get cleared and get re-checked.

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Charlotte is great, no comparison to Miami.

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CAPT. --Charlotte's a breeze. TSA folks are almost friendly and even the customs guys smile. US air is really nice, just too bad they're in $trouble. The airport is relatively small and all my connections were off the same concourse. 1hr is plenty and I think 80min. is enough with customs. At Charlotte they have only 1 line and then they direct you as the customs booths open up. None of that 4 people from the same party getting in 4 different lines and then all moving to the person who gets to the front first. That's a big part of Miami's problem.I love going through Charlotte but AA had such a good deal recently I had to try. ($650 r/t air from MSP and 4 nites at Banana Beach, incl all taxes, even the departure tax) Famous last words!!!


Flyfishing my way through mid-life crisis.
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Charlotte is great (and so is US Air), Miami terrible, and AA to my mind one of the worst airlines around. Miami also has the worst US record for theft by baggage handlers. But for delays, how about this - I flew into Toronto from the UK once, to transfer to a flight into the USA, and it took over 5 hours to clear formalities. AND I had a US visa at that time.

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I totally agree -- Miami is one of the worst airports in the U.S. and Charlotte is one of the best. For travel to Belize, I prefer US Air (and CO and TACA) to AA.

On return, Charlotte immigration sometimes does get jammed up with flights from the Caribbean, but nothing like Houston or Miami.

--Lan Sluder


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I had a similar delay last month when I arrived in Houston from Belize City. The line was longer than I had ever seen it, and it took us over an hour to get through immigration and customs. By that time we had missed our connecting flights. Continental was very gracious and gave us a free hotel, transportation, and food vouchers for the night with flights out the next morning. Sounds like AA stiffed you!

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SAM: I agree, not b/c they "had" to give me anything. But, it would have cost them $110 for all 3 of us(room/food) and I'd be back, not through Miami, but at least considering them. Way it is, hell will freeze over b4 they see us again.


Flyfishing my way through mid-life crisis.
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