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Miami transfer from London, UK

London, United...
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Miami transfer from London, UK

Hi!

I was hoping for some advice on Miami transfer from the UK. How long should be enough? My main concern is missing the connection to GCM.

This is our first visit & we are travelling as a family with a 3 y.o. We want to avoid as much hassle as possible but looks like we might need to go through customs, security & possibly even get our luggage & check it back in?

There are no "direct flights" from London to GCM, the closest we get to direct is an hour's layover on a runway in Nassau Bahamas, but that flight costs £1000.00 more than a Miami one!!!!

thanks so much!

PS I don't seem to find the FAQs on here... sorry!

13 replies to this topic
Nevis
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1. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

When transiting through Miami you will have to deplane, clear US Immigration, claim any checked luggage, clear Customs, re-check your luggage, and then clear TSA Security Checkpoint then proceed to your connecting gate.

If your connecting flight is on the same or partner airline you’ll get your boarding pass for the connecting flight when you check in for your flight from London and you can drop off your bags as soon as you exit the US Customs Hall then proceed to TSA Checkpoint. If you are not on the same or partner airline you’ll have to go to the ticket counter in the main terminal after clearing Customs to get your boarding pass and check your luggage the priced to TSA.

You should allow a minimum of 2 1/2 hours if you are on the same or partner airline and a minimum of 3 hours if your connecting flight is on a different airline.

Miami airport can be a bit of a zoo.

Edited: 7:43 pm, December 11, 2017
Grand Cayman
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2. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

We did Cayman/Heathrow 5 times this summer. Worst flight was through Miami. On the way back we were lucky as Miami was a ghost town as it was when Irma was moving in. It is not a good airport experience and we have Global Entry. Just keep an open mind.

Glasgow, United...
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3. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

If you haven't already booked via Miami I'd consider another connecting airport in the States. We have connected via Miami to Grand Cayman as well as other Caribbean islands - it really is a zoo at times. Last time we paid for the VIP meet and greet service without which we would never had caught our connection.

Your luggage will have to be picked up from the arrivals carousel and taken to the transit luggage belt. If your connection is less than 2.5 hours I wouldn't risk it.

Grand Cayman
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4. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

I've done LHR/GCM lots of times via Miami and I don't find it that bad. It is a bit unpredictable though as to how busy or how quiet it will be. Also, sometimes your bags will be booked right through and you won't have to pick up. Best to have the whole thing booked on one ticket (BA with American Airlines for the last leg) and you'll have an easier connection. I don't actually like the direct flight via Nassau as I don't like that they serve dinner after you leave Nassau so ends up being midnight with lights still on. And coming back, sitting on a plane for an hour in Nassau just seems like torture. I'd rather have two hours in Miami and at least be able to walk around.

For Americans and Canadians, check out the Mobile Passport App. It is free and I find faster than my Global Entry. (Except you don't get TSA precheck with it but Miami often has their TSA precheck line closed anyway)

London, United...
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5. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

thank you all! Really appreciate your feedback! It's a mixed bag, isn't it? Looked at the Global Entry option, but that is being offered to US nationals only? Ufortunately only my husband has a US passport. ;)

@Cayman I, I was just going to ask, wouldn't we get our bags checked in through to the final destination? Seems a bit weird needing to claim checked baggage & re-check it later. Yes, we're looking at booking with BA & the last leg of trip is operated by AA.

So you think, 3hours would be enough for Miami? There are flights with 2.5 and 3.5 hours layover in Miami, should we take the 3.5?

Edited: 6:18 am, December 12, 2017
Grand Cayman
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6. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

I would take the 3.5 hour layover. If the automatic kiosks are down ( and I have witnessed it several times) Immigration can back up considerably. Better safe than sorry. Perhaps you can look into purchasing a day pass at American's Admiral Lounge or the American Express lounge. If you speed through Immigration and Customs, waiting in the lounge will make for a more pleasant experience.

Grand Cayman
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7. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

My husband is a Brit and has GE. Their screening and security didn’t seem as efficient as other airports. Make sure you follow all the instructions about liquids etc. There were many people who didn’t and it tied up the lines terribly.

London, United...
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8. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

thanks JerseyGirl1514 ! That's a good idea about booking the lounge, I actually think we have qualified to access the lounge with our Amex points. So will consider using it, though, who knows, might spend ages in customs.

Syracuse, New York
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9. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

As far as picking up the bags and rechecking them...

If you are on one itinerary, then you shouldn't need to actually go through the whole process of rechecking your bags - the bag tags should say "GCM" on them. However, most airports in the USA don't have the concept of International Transit areas - every passenger has to go through immigration, pick up their bags, and go through customs. However, right after you exit customs there is a bag drop-off area where you leave them. There are usually no queues there - it's a very quick process. (I have never flown through Miami, but this is typical of every other international arrival I have done in the US)

However, this then dumps you land-side and you have to go through airport security checks once more, which can be exceedingly time-consuming if the airport is busy.

So if you don't have Global Entry or TSA Pre-check (which I doubt you would) then I would go with the 3.5 hour connection to be on the safe side, and use the lounge access if you have it.

Grand Cayman
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10. Re: Miami transfer from London, UK

At Miami International Airport right now as I type. Just confirmed that if you arrive from an international destination and you are continuing on to another International destination, you DO NOT collect your bags and then drop them again. I know that I have done this for both Canada and the UK.

You will still have to exit the arrivals and go through security again though. But not having to pick up your bags will save you 20 minutes or so (that is how long I've just been waiting for my bag).

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