How To Get Out Of Miami Airport In An Hour
On my recent trip to Cancun, I had two layovers in Miami International Airport – one on each leg. To give a bit of history, I’ve been flying in and out of that airport for a number of years and for a long time I found it a complete nightmare. For a non US citizen, if MIA is your first landfall in the States you have to clear customs and immigration – that can take a while. There have been times when I have barely made my connecting flight – and that was even before the security got beefed up. So I was dreading the hassle of connecting in Miami, and even warned my UK travel agent that I would need at least three and a half hours between connections to be sure of making the onward flight.
Not Just Any Line
So imagine my surprise on my last trip when I managed to get through all the formalities and get to the departure gate for my onward flight in about an hour. The officers on duty were great about shepherding people to the shortest line so the process was pretty smooth. A lot of people moved from line to line, but since my line was short and moving, I stuck with it. A good tip I had from a friend is to pick a line that’s close to where the US citizens are being processed. Those lines are the first to shorten and you will be moved to one of those if the officer on duty is free.
The other key thing you can do to speed up the process is to fill out the paperwork properly. It may seem obvious but several people don’t do it, to judge by the numbers who reached the head of the line only to be sent to the back of the room to write some more details. I’ve filled these out dozens of times, so my papers were in order. Within half an hour or so I was through to the next stage – collecting my bags so they could be scanned.
Now, here’s another place you can save time. If you only travel with carry on bags, then you can walk straight through. A friend of mine says she doesn’t need checked luggage for any trip of less than ten days. I’m impressed as my packing isn’t quite so efficient. However, by the time I had finished with the entry processes, my bag was waiting, and the AA people had signs directing me to where I could hand over the luggage for scanning. This was a simple drop off operation and then I could head for the departure gate.
If Miami had been my final destination, I would have been out in an hour. Then all I would have had to do is collect my car from the Miami airport parking lot (another time saver) and be on my way.
Have you got good stories about traveling through Miami airport, or any tips to share on reducing travel time? I’d love to hear them.