Miami Connections

Old Jun 26, 18, 7:13 pm
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Miami Connections

Booked online with BA in CW on a LHR->MIA->MCO flight. The connection for the MIA->MCO flight is only about 1hr35 which from previous experience of connecting at MIA from a London flight might be pushing it a bit. On this flight we'll be travelling hand baggage and we have Global Entry so normally the passport and customs bit can be quite quick for us. From what I remember though at MIA we had to come right out of the airport and go back in again for our connecting flight and it was the security queues getting back into the domestic terminals that took the time. Wasn't a problem then as we had a 3hr connection.

So my question is did we do wrong leaving the exiting and going back through the main security line again? i.e. is there a transfer security bit we missed last time that will speed things up. Also if the airline has allowed us to book these tickets as suggested by the online booking tool, if we miss the connection will they automatically try and get us on the next flight? I believe there is another AA one 2hrs later which I can see on google flights but the BA website when booking didn't give me the option of that one when I booked.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 7:49 pm
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This has got a lot better in the last year or two, and though it's not a generous connection then you should make it even if the BA arrival is 30 minutes late. MIA used to be dreadful most of the time and awful much of the time; these days it's probably better than JFK (etc) overall, particularly if GE. Just watch that the GE machines may be on the far side of the CBP area from where you walk in, but there are plenty of machines.

For the Flight Connection issue, it's true that no USA airport has a proper Flight Connection experience, though PHL runs close, and MIA actually isn't far behind. There is a dedicated connections channel into MIA right by the international arrivals exit, albeit via landside. It is clearly signposted for AA connections, it can also be used for BA connections though you do end up in the D concourse rather than E, and it's just to left of the Arrivals exit into landside. It consists of a few check-in desks and a small security channel away from the main D security. It doesn't have PreCheck, however they give you a card to indicate your have an expedited process, and so you can keep shoes on and leave laptops in the bag. You may need to reprint your AA boarding passes in AA.com, or use the App, to ensure that PreCheck appears on the boarding pass, and in any case you should put your Known Traveler number into the SABRE booking reference on AA.com. BA.com seating module will show the SABRE locator.

If it's not the end of the world that you get rebooked to the next flight in the event of delays, then a 90 minute connection seems ideal to me.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 8:31 pm
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I did MIA a few days ago, arriving on AA in biz from LHR and transferring on to MCO. I was back in the lounge after having cleared passport control (GE), waited for luggage, rechecked the bags and waited in the regular line (pre-check was closed) in no more than 45 minutes. Maybe less. It's a lot better than it was before as CWS said. But I had pre-check on my AA-issued boarding pass so I was given a blue card by the guy checking passports which meant just the metal detector and keeping shoes and belts on (laptops and liquids still had to come out).

All that to say, it should be OK, especially with Global Entry and hand baggage only. That could be done in 30 minutes or less, depending on whether pre-check is working or not. And, since it's all one ticket, you're protected if your flight is late.

One further thing to note (depending on when you are traveling) is that summer is horrible in MIA and MCO for afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Sunday night three of the four MCO flights were cancelled! Rolling delays meant that i waited in the airport from 5:15 until 9:30 before i found out my flight was finally cancelled and then didn't get to the hotel (AA provided) until 10:30. All this is moot if you're traveling in the winter.
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Old Jun 27, 18, 11:30 am
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Thanks all good info there and much appreciated. I’ve two trips booked doing that route one in mid Nov and the other at the end of Jan so the afternoon thunder storms should be less of an issue. Got caught out by one of those before on a VS flight about 5 years ago that turned into the trip from hell as they diverted us to land at West Palm Beach which hadn’t seen a Jumbo in years and couldn’t refuel us easily, then the crew ran out of hours etc etc etc upshot being we eventually got deplaned into a holding gate around midnight, spent the night in there and another crew flew the plane up to MCO around 9am the next morning! Was really badly handled by Virgin and we haven’t flown with them since. Their loss as we we travel there 4 or 5 times a year in business. Might give them another go soon as they used to be my favourite airline.

Anyway I’m drifting a bit off topic there.

As mentioned in the original post we did go through Miami in January this year but we must have totally missed this connections security channel you mention as we definitely went back through the main security channel. Wasn’t a problem then as we had a 3hr window. Will keep an eye out for that in November though.

Last edited by chrisnj; Jun 27, 18 at 11:32 am Reason: correcting typo
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Old Jun 27, 18, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by chrisnj View Post
As mentioned in the original post we did go through Miami in January this year but we must have totally missed this connections security channel you mention as we definitely went back through the main security channel. Wasn’t a problem then as we had a 3hr window. Will keep an eye out for that in November though.
You definitely want to stay airside use the flight connections route. With GE, hand luggage and your gold card you should be off the flight and into the Flagship lounge in the D concourse within 20 minutes max* with about 10 minutes of that covering the walk from the E to D concourse.

*From stepping off the aircraft

Last edited by golfmad; Jun 30, 18 at 5:08 am
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Old Jun 27, 18, 2:25 pm
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I came through Miami a few weeks back on BA connecting to AA. We were herded into a separate CBP section to the main section. There was no machines for anything other than GE so all manual processing. It then lead to a separate baggage zone and no connections zone. I had to exit to the street and go upstairs to departures.This area all looked brand new

was a little surprised as last time I went through Miami I went through the main CBP section and then used the handy connections security...
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Old Jun 27, 18, 3:43 pm
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Not much to add to the above, except to say that when I went through 10 days ago (lhr-mia-nas, BA to AA) the line to go through security after exiting CBP was so long that I turned around, went upstairs to the AA flagship check-in area (where TSA-Pre have an access) and went through the pre-check area there. With handluggage only (GA, and pre-check) I was plane to gate within about 35mins.
Ive done that a couple of times in MIA, and something similar in Madrid too when coming back to the UK (just exit and go through fast track in departures, instead of transiting) from South America.
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Old Jun 27, 18, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by RichP View Post
I turned around, went upstairs to the AA flagship check-in area (where TSA-Pre have an access) and went through the pre-check area there.
Does this mean all Pre-check pax can use the AA flagship security regardless of status, or is there a separate pre-check lane for eligible passengers?
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Old Jun 27, 18, 8:01 pm
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Originally Posted by balowlyblue View Post
Does this mean all Pre-check pax can use the AA flagship security regardless of status, or is there a separate pre-check lane for eligible passengers?
No. The AA Flagship security line (which feeds to the front of the regular security line) is next to the TSA Pre-Check facility. It can only be used by eligible customers.
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Old Jun 29, 18, 1:24 pm
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Originally Posted by balowlyblue View Post
Does this mean all Pre-check pax can use the AA flagship security regardless of status, or is there a separate pre-check lane for eligible passengers?
But the pre-check lane is so much faster that it's the one you want to use if you have a choice. I think they can do 2-3 passengers in the time it takes the flagship lane to do one. Part of this is leaving laptops, liquids, etc. in your carry-on and leaving belts and shoes on. Part of it is also using the metal detector instead of the scanner where you have to stop and hold your arms up or out and wait.
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Old Jun 29, 18, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by golfmad View Post
You definitely want to stay airside. With GE, hand luggage and your gold card you should be off the flight and into the Flagship lounge in the D concourse within 20 minutes max* with about 10 minutes of that covering the walk from the E to D concourse.

*From stepping off the aircraft
How would one stay airside if connecting from an international flight?
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Old Jun 29, 18, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by balowlyblue View Post
Does this mean all Pre-check pax can use the AA flagship security regardless of status, or is there a separate pre-check lane for eligible passengers?
As the other responses have said, pre-check can't use AA flagship, but it you have a gold card you can use it. I've gone in when the connections place was rammed, and didn't have a BP for the next flight... They sorted one out for me and then escorted me to the front of the security line. Pre-check is generally quicker, and I'm not sure if they always get you to the front of the queue, but it's worth a look-in if the regular route looks very busy.
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Old Jun 29, 18, 6:28 pm
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Lots of great tips and info here and I will try and see if we can find these quicker ways through when we do this trip in Nov. I'll try and remember to find this thread and report back on how we did in case that's useful for anyone else in future.
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Old Jun 30, 18, 5:09 am
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Originally Posted by duvin View Post
How would one stay airside if connecting from an international flight?
Thanks. I modified the wording in my post.
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Old Jul 5, 18, 1:47 am
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Would that 95 minutes MIA connection still be enough if you had hold baggage and no GE?

Wed be flying CW and so should be off the inbound plane fairly quickly but will have my parents with us (dads 75+ but fit) whove never done US immigration before and our BA status wont be high enough to help in any way.
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