We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

Level Contributor
158 posts
2 reviews
Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

I am looking at flights from London which involves connection in Miami. Now this may seem a silly question to some but I've never done a connecting flight before.

So what happens? Do I collect luggage and then go and check in again like you would if you was starting you trip?

Only ask as some connection times are not long and involve a change of terminal too.

Help needed please

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
28,630 posts
1. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

If you have any other option then don't connect via a US airport (if heading to Central or South America look at flights via a European hub)

As to what happens it will depend on your final destination and what approach your airline will take. What is certain it that it will be a long and painful process


Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
13,470 posts
23 reviews
2. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

You should allow a minimum of 3 hours, probably 5 hrs at Miami, to make a connection from an international arrival to any departing flight.

MIA is probably one of the worst airports for connections - on arrival you'll clear US Immigration, collect bags, clear US Customs, return bags and get to your departure gate - I would avoid connecting in the US if you are not staying in the US unless I had no other flight options.

Remember you'll need an ESTA or Visa (depending on your nationality) even if you are just in transit at the airport.

Fort Lauderdale...
Level Contributor
7,723 posts
169 reviews
3. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

Five Hours ? Seriously ? When was the last time you cleared Miami's FIS ?

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
8,293 posts
89 reviews
4. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

You said you're starting in London but did not give any other details. Where are you going to? What airlines? That information will make a difference.

If you're not flying to the USA, it's much better not to connect through the USA if you can. Most countries allow transit passengers that are not intending to enter the country to stay in the airport in transit without going through immigration and customs. The USA does not. To transit through a USA airport, you have to clear immigration and customs in the US and actually enter the country. That can be time consuming.

Level Contributor
158 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

Sorry from London heathrow to orlando via Miami. Some have a connect time of 2 hours?? Is that enough??

Level Contributor
1,919 posts
256 reviews
6. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

Absolutely not. Took us two hours last April to rush off the plane (we were first off) then wait, and wait, and wait to clear immigration. Timed it after a while - 8 minutes to clear each passenger set at immigration - huge queue behind us. No sense of urgency at all. We know Miami so our connecting flight was next day (and we only just made it despite turning up 3 hours before)

Maybe you will be lucky. But Miami has a terrible reputation for inefficiency, uncontrolled queues and u really should build in more time. I would rather stick red hot knitting needles in my eyes than use hat airport. Have been thought it over 50 times over the years as had no choice for key west, but know try to fly direct and avoid miami

Edited: 7:22 pm, October 08, 2013
Level Contributor
1,886 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

It's not just immigration. You then have to clear security to go back airside when you have a connecting flight, and that can take ages too.

Edited: 3:39 am, October 09, 2013
Romford, United...
Level Contributor
2,065 posts
22 reviews
8. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

Just for the sake of your sanity avoid MIA as your port of entry into the US use ATL,DFW or anywhere else for that matter also consider LHR-DUB-MCO with Aer Lingus and pre-clear INS/Customs at DUB which is far more civilised and relaxing

London, UK
Level Contributor
1,409 posts
139 reviews
9. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

Objets - five hours is not a joke if you don't have a US passport. I think it's quite sensible actually. I have queued for more than 2 hours to get through immigration at MIA before and that's flying business class and therefore being amongst the first off the plane. If you're met with a solid wall of people at the visitors desks (the queues in front of each desk disintegrate if there are enough people waiting) you will wait that long. I've heard of others waiting longer. You can wait ages for baggage too, although if you've waited 2 hours at immigration your bags will have been removed from the carousel so you then have to hunt for them amongst the hundreds strewn all around the baggage reclaim area waiting for their owners who are all stranded at immigration. MIA can be absolute chaos when it's busy and the staff do little to help. It's a disgrace, and like Tom and jeremy I do everything I can to avoid entering the US through it, which is inconvenient as my employers are based there. The only thing I will say is that once through and reunited with your bags, it's easy enough to find your way to an onward flight.

Edited: 4:34 am, October 09, 2013
South Jersey
Level Contributor
2,037 posts
64 reviews
10. Re: Connection time needed for flights into Miami??

FYI - Miami to Orlando is a 3 1/2 hour drive.

If you are comfortable driving maybe you should consider it.