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AA MR / mileage run Turnaround issues & questions (consolidated)

AA MR / mileage run Turnaround issues & questions (consolidated)

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Old Aug 3, 15, 6:55 am   -   Wikipost
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Mileage a Run and Related Turnaround Questions and Discussion

Will I need a visa? How can I find out?

Airlines use IATA TIMATIC to tell them if they will allow you to board. United Aitlines offers free access to TIMATIC here: UA Passport, Visa and Health Requirements.

Will I need to go through immigration formalities?

If the airport is international and offers a transit path, you may be able to access this transit / flight connections path.

Will I have to recover baggage? Can I short check baggage?

If you must pricess immigration, you may well have to recover baggage, process customs and re-check your baggage.

Airlines may deny short- checking baggage even for an apparently good reason presented them.


Is there anything I can do to make turnaround easier?

Fly with carryon baggage only, carry a printed copy of your e-ticket (with ticket numbers) and return boarding pass if you can print it out. Study the particular airport's layout and try to determine answers to immigration, etc. before you arrive. Feel quite free to inquire of airline or official personnel. Be assertive about queues etc. but don't become upset or overbearing; this can engender resistance from some.
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Old Mar 9, 10, 5:00 pm
  #16  
 
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If I remember right you are sent directly to customs and immigration when you get off the plane. There is no option to go to connecting flights. The airport is not very large, and assuming you can get your boarding pass for the return flight in advance, I don't see why you would have a hard time getting in, out and then back in the airport in a short time. Of course, you could let the AAgent meeting the airplane (assuming there is one) know of your madness and they MAY be able to walk you into the terminal instead of making you clear customs (though I have no way of knowing if this is possible).

One thing that I do recall is that they boarded the return flight in an odd manner. They had everyone line up in the jetway and along the wall before the plane (A300) was ready to board. Once the aircraft was ready to receive passengers, the flood gates opened and the craft was fully loaded very quickly -- this is sort of like how AA boards in DEL, but much less chaotic and much better managed.
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Old Mar 9, 10, 8:49 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by cmhua777 View Post
If I remember right you are sent directly to customs and immigration when you get off the plane.
That is correct. You have to go through immigration and customs.
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Old Mar 10, 10, 2:31 am
  #18  
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Thanks cmhua777 and SJOGuy ^

Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
That is correct. You have to go through immigration and customs.
Is it the same procedure in SJO ?
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Old Mar 10, 10, 8:29 am
  #19  
 
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When you disembark at SJO, you go through the gate area mixed in with everybody who is departing. If you're connecting on Taca at SJO, you just go to your new gate. Can you do the same on an AA turnaround? That's a good question. I don't know.

I never have any need to do this, which is why I don't know.
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Old Mar 10, 10, 4:22 pm
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by G_G View Post
Thanks cmhua777 and SJOGuy ^



Is it the same procedure in SJO ?
If you want to do a quick turn on AA in Central America, you do not need to clear immigration in San Salvador (SAL), San Jose (SJO), Panama City (PTY) or Guatemala City (GUA). On the flip side, Managua (MGA) and Tegucigalpa (TGU) send you directly to immigration.
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Old Mar 10, 10, 8:37 pm
  #21  
 
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GUA sends you directly to immigration. You disembark and are walking one floor above the boarding gates. There's no mixing with the departing passengers at the gates when you arrive.

My concern about trying this at SJO is that it is physically possible, yes, but who is going to check you in for your return flight? Will they give you the SJO-MIA boarding pass at your originating airport XXX?
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Old Mar 10, 10, 9:51 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
GUA sends you directly to immigration. You disembark and are walking one floor above the boarding gates. There's no mixing with the departing passengers at the gates when you arrive.

My concern about trying this at SJO is that it is physically possible, yes, but who is going to check you in for your return flight? Will they give you the SJO-MIA boarding pass at your originating airport XXX?

GUA does separate arriving passengers from departures, but there is a transit exit well before immigration that leads to a security screening line and puts one into the departures zone.
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Old Mar 10, 10, 11:55 pm
  #23  
 
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cmhua777 is correct.

Clearing customs/passport control upon entry is super easy. US$5 entry fee (cash only), in and out in less than 5 minutes.

The biggest issue is making sure you can get your boarding pass from MGA-MIA in advance of your arrival. The check-in counter at MGA is pitifully slow, even for elites/premium pax. You could easily take 30 minutes in line at MGA ticket counter to get a new boarding pass.

From there you have to go through passport control again before security. This could take up to 15-20 minutes. In any case it's faster than the ticket counter.
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Old Mar 11, 10, 12:33 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by HNL View Post
GUA does separate arriving passengers from departures, but there is a transit exit well before immigration that leads to a security screening line and puts one into the departures zone.
Okay. I never noticed that.
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Old Mar 11, 10, 6:37 am
  #25  
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thanks to everybody for all the tips ^
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Old Mar 11, 10, 1:12 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by trojanman View Post
The biggest issue is making sure you can get your boarding pass from MGA-MIA in advance of your arrival.
Some caveats here...

First, it's worth noting that it's not a given that you will be able to get your return boarding pass before leaving the USA. It all depends on finding an agent at a U.S. station who is willing to try to issue the MGA-MIA boarding pass. IME, about 50% are willing to try, 50% insist that it's not possible for flights originating internationally because of security requirements. Of course, we all know that it's possible, if they know the system well enough, but some agents won't try.



Second, there's also a chance that your resourcefulness could backfire during these runs. One of my FTer friends got in HUGE trouble earlier this year with the security personnel at MAD for having checked in and received his MAD-DFW boarding pass the night before at DFW. He did it so he could stay at T4S and bypass immigration/customs/train, and go directly to the lounge to await his return flight. But, the AA security staff claimed he was trying to circumvent the baggage security questions, and was not following the correct airport procedures. It was a big headache and he greatly regretted doing it. Since I heard that story, I've stopped trying to get my return boarding passes from overseas quick-turn MRs in advance. It's just not worth the potential problems.
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Old Mar 11, 10, 1:17 pm
  #27  
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Let me also say that I recommend trying MIA-PTY-MIA for same-day turns. Plenty of flights in case something goes wrong. PTY has an Admirals Club, and arriving/departing pax are mixed. So, you can get off the inbound and walk straight to the AC to check in for the return.

You might run into the issue of the 1-hour check-in deadline if your inbound is late, but again, there are multiple daily flights (plus a weekly DFW nonstop).
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Old Mar 12, 10, 1:20 pm
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by G_G View Post
I'm a British Airways tier point runner and this is my first post in AA forum.

If I am doing a run from XXX - XXX - MIA - MGA, returning MGA - MIA - XXX - XXX, what is the turnaround procedure in Managua ?

Is it possible to get straight off the plane (landing at 12:45 pm) and return on the same aircraft departing at 1:55 pm ?
It's bookable on AA.com but I don't know if in Managua you are 'forced' to exit through customs / immigration and if I would have to rush back through immigration/security ?

I will much appreciate help from anyone who knows the AA set-up in Managua well.

Thanks
I know the inbound flights on TACA that then connect to TACA SAL vs. on to TACA GUA (or vice versa, anyway - intra-CA flights that use MGA for a connection) they bring the passengers from the plane into the departure lounge and skip migracion. For arriving AA flights maybe not possible.

If you are at the front of the arriving flight AND it is on time (rare with AA) AND you are the only flight (which depends on the AA on-time ness of the whole shebang) you clear migracion in <5 minutes. (I have arrived on TACA at 8 p.m. , only flight at the terminal, and have been on the curb in under 5 minutes. With no luggage, natch. Then the AA counters are way the hell and gone at the other end of the terminal, though it all has been rebuilt (check-in area) and I haven't seen exceptionally long/bad elite lines at AA for more than a year even first thing in the a.m. when it is packed. Of course I fly TACA where they don't allow that sort of messiness.

There is an airport VIP service for arrivals and departures. I'd use them. Pay $30 US on arrival and they check you in through migracion and get your bags and clear customs and you leave via a separate exit without seeing anyone. Locals with 83 suitcases who don't want to pay customs their baksheesh are big users. On departure for SALA VIP you use a private security entrance, have a drink and they go through passport control for you, for your exit and obtain your boarding pass. So they do both sides which is what you want.

But since you arrive at the SALA VIP you wouldn't even need to leave it and you'd jsut wait for the runner to do both sides of the deal for you. I suspect he might be able to get the inbound migracion guy to do both and I suspect this won't be the first time they've seen this.

I am not sure what they'd charge for arrive and leave in 1:10 but they'd do it. Working Spanish is useful here, BTW. When you arrive there are guys with SALA VIP signs before migracion. Go with one of them. Give them your passport, two migracion forms, one noting arrival country and one departure (you will see what I mean) and e-ticket (would help). Make sure on your inbound flight you get TWO migracion forms (not one -two, because they are no longer carbonless duplicates). Fill out both before you arrive, as one is for arrival (and kept by the government) and one for departure (and kept).

Tell SALA VIP guy to enter you, get your tourist card (that is $5 cash BTW so have that handy), then hoof it to AA and check you in, then check you out through passport control.

AA in MGA allows you to check-in 24 hours before your flight so I am sure at your point of departure they can give you the ex-MGA boarding pass. That saves the guy the go to AA step not that it would add much.

I agree as well if you have no interest in MGA use SAL or PTY for a turnaround point as the open concept terminal is a lot better.

Last edited by ricktoronto; Mar 12, 10 at 1:27 pm
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Old Mar 12, 10, 1:51 pm
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
I know the inbound flights on TACA that then connect to TACA SAL vs. on to TACA GUA (or vice versa, anyway - intra-CA flights that use MGA for a connection) they bring the passengers from the plane into the departure lounge and skip migracion. For arriving AA flights
There is an airport VIP service for arrivals and departures. I'd use them. Pay $30 US on arrival and they check you in through migracion and get your bags and clear customs and you leave via a separate exit without seeing anyone. Locals with 83 suitcases who don't want to pay customs their baksheesh are big users. On departure for SALA VIP you use a private security entrance, have a drink and they go through passport control for you, for your exit and obtain your boarding pass. So they do both sides which is what you want.

But since you arrive at the SALA VIP you wouldn't even need to leave it and you'd jsut wait for the runner to do both sides of the deal for you. I suspect he might be able to get the inbound migracion guy to do both and I suspect this won't be the first time they've seen this.

I am not sure what they'd charge for arrive and leave in 1:10 but they'd do it. Working Spanish is useful here, BTW. When you arrive there are guys with SALA VIP signs before migracion. Go with one of them. Give them your passport, two migracion forms, one noting arrival country and one departure (you will see what I mean) and e-ticket (would help). Make sure on your inbound flight you get TWO migracion forms (not one -two, because they are no longer carbonless duplicates). Fill out both before you arrive, as one is for arrival (and kept by the government) and one for departure (and kept).

Tell SALA VIP guy to enter you, get your tourist card (that is $5 cash BTW so have that handy), then hoof it to AA and check you in, then check you out through passport control.

AA in MGA allows you to check-in 24 hours before your flight so I am sure at your point of departure they can give you the ex-MGA boarding pass. That saves the guy the go to AA step not that it would add much.

I agree as well if you have no interest in MGA use SAL or PTY for a turnaround point as the open concept terminal is a lot better.

Yes... the airport VIP is great. I have done it a few times when flying into MGA. Recomend for sure...
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Old May 16, 10, 5:40 pm
  #30  
 
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San Juan MR Turnaround Question

Doing a MR to San Juan next Tuesday night out of LAX. Route is LAX-BOS-SJU-JFK-LAX. At this point I've got a stay over on Wednesday in San Juan.

My question is this - Do you think it's possible to pull off a standby trip back on Wednesday afternoon vs. having to stay over on Wednesday night. I know there are flights available but I haven't done and intl MR yet.

Last time I was at SJU was almost 10 years ago, prior to needing a passport, etc. I'm not familiar with the new arrival process at SJU and was hoping just to go to the AC without leaving the terminal. When I went to SJU last you walked out to baggage claim like you do at any domestic terminal.

Looking forward to hearing your ideas.

Thanks in advance, 2001racer.
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