Miami International Airport/Airplane, Miami
For our cruise from Ft. Lauderdale I ended up booking a flight into Miami instead because I could use my frequent flier miles to MIA but not to FLL. I can't say that I like Miami's airport very much, our luggage took ages to get out and ours was the 1st bags out because we were in business class (yea frequent flier miles!) Then we had to walk from the terminal to the people mover that took us to the car rental agencies, that also seemed like it took a long time although I suppose less of a hassle than some airport that make you take a specific shuttle to an off airport site.
Over the years I have become very fond of MIA. especially with these new changes.. Yesterday I was at the Continental Couner saying hello to friends, they asked me, obviously you are going for your cuban coffee.. Yes, then another chirped in there is a Starbucks in terminal J.. I pretended to be furious.. and said jovially.. it is a crime to drink Starbucks here in Cuban Country when we have such good coffee.. sure enough I went to the Versailles counter and had a nice cortadito made by a woman who left Havana at age 7.. we chatted for a while in spanish, so for half the price you get coffee made with love and by people who know how to make coffee as they themselves drink it, rather than unemployed youth given a little training to sell mediocre coffee at twice the price..
to this day, I get a kick out of coming in and out of MIA.. and I enjoy the experience..
with the new terminal J it is even beginning to look modern... The corrupt government in Miami, sorry my own Cuban brothers, give the concessions to their friends and there is always a kick back I am sure, this is what i read in investigative journals about Miami Govt.. Yesterday as I was entering the security, a matron said to me that i must put my computer back into the bag, since that would make three carry ons.. how stupid can you get, since i had taken the computer out so that it would be easy for me at security.. I told her in spanish, this is worse than Cuba, and you are all worse than Fidel...
In Miami, one can always count on some experience.. i could say hello to my jamaican friends at Continental, chat with a ex habanera, shout at a ex venezuelan that Fidel is better...
If you are a frequent visitor to the USA or traveler from USA leaving the country often enough, it is worth considering the Global Entry programme of the United States Immgiration. Once you are approved your passport or Visa is stamped with an additional electronic signature and you swipe it at the machines a the entry.
Yesterday arriving into the USA.. I calculated that within 5 minutes of entering the Immigration Hall, I had cleared Immigration, which takes only about one minute and walked down and cleared customs, since there is a separate line for Global Entry holders. It is an excellent service. No paper to fill, no immigration officers to content and they know that you have been checked out already. no strict customs check. I use it even when I travel from Cuba to Miami directly and no questions.. the same procedure, since they already know on which flight you had arrived. When I put in my card, my flight automatically came up!
I agree with Nomad. Going through Immigration and Customs is usually a breeze but sometimes can take away the time, especially waiting for your luggage to come out and if you have checked it to your final destination it is easy to recheck it just outside the customs and immigration. otherwise it would be another long line to stand especially if you are flying economy and in american airlines.
the traffic in miami around the airport can get dicey and there is no way you can plan a quick trip to the lincoln road mall in the time frame you have. the biltmore hotel is within a short taxi ride but beware, none of the taxi drivers are going to be very pleased that you are going just to biltmore hotel.. a short ride for them. you can take the supershuttle there and back but you have to book them well in advance for the return trip.
Miami international Airport has good coffee shops, not the starbucks variety but good strong cuban coffee: branches of versailles and la carreta form the little havana. you can go up the airport hotel and have a good view from the top where there is swimming pool.
But honestly five hours between flights especially if one is an international one, is too short to do anything much in Miami, which has NOTORIOUSLY bad public transport..
Come back another time!
what a great pleasure it is, to leave CDG and just after nine hours of a comfortable flight you are in MIAMI. today i left CDG at 11 in the monring and 9 hours later to the minute, landed in Miami and more welcoming than that was the fact that, within half of an hour of the flight landing, we had coasted to the gate, gonet hrough immigration and customs and the nout of the doors to the Rental CAr counter...
The food as usual was good.
I like to be loyal to an airline or a team of airlines, or rental car company..
the airline lounge in PARIS was good, nice to gulp a glass of champagene before leaving only to be continued on board..
If you are going to the southern east coast of Florida (Miami, the Palm Beaches, Fort Lauderdale, et al.), especially if you plan to rent a car and/or visit more than one of the cities, towns, or beaches in the area, check air fares from your starting point to Miami (MIA), Palm Beach (PBI), and Fort Lauderdale (FLL), as well as the car rental rates at each of these airports before booking your seats and cars. Air fares and car rental rates and surcharges vary from day to day and air fares are not necessarily directly related to the distance flown. Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Miami Beach are a very short drive from each other yet the fares from your home airport to each of these airports may vary drastically.
I cannot say enough about my experience with Virgin from LHR to MIA.
Left right on time, within fifteen minutes we were on the air and arrived in Miami about forty minutes early. good service and friendly staff, a head and shoulder massage during flight, enough entertainment.. all in all a good experience.
they were highlighting english cuisine, so the possibilties were certainly limited. Food on Air France is much better, also on Continental Airlines. For Asian tucker: malaysian and Singapore airlines..
my next flight on virgin upperclass would be in january on my journey from Yangon to Cuba:
yangon to singapore on jetstar; singapore to cochin on tiger; cochin to mumbai on kingfisher and then mumbai to london on virgin, london to miami on virgin and miami to havana on abc charters.. of course this journey would be done over a period of days.. not straight thruogh..
It is always better to take nonstopflights. From Miami, there are nonstop flights to so many destinations: all the islands in the caribbean, all the central and south american capitals, and many more.. to europe, the picking is less. two direct flights a day to Paris for example, London slightly more frequency, three and at times four.
I like taking the Air France flight, leave around 5 30 pm and you are in Paris 8 am in the morning. the service is classy and they always offer you champagne regardless of which part of the plane you are sitting.
in October 2007, I will be flying Miami to Paris twice, first time in Economy Class and the second time in L Espace Affaires
Here is a picture of a meal on the economy class. The aircraft is a 747 400 and upstairs section is quiet and helps you relax during the flight.
The traffic to get to the airport is terrible. Last time, there was a traffic accident on the other side of the highway which had us in a long creeping backup of rubberneckers, but we got to the airport by 3:45, which is 25 minutes longer than it would take if the traffic was running smoothly.
If you do curbside check-in it costs $2.00 a bag. Last time, my daughter dropped me at the airport to curb check my luggage, she asked the skycap to get me a wheelchair, which he did. Be sure you have change to tip if you want to do this - I gave him $5.00 and he was going to keep it all. He took me to a kind of corral for wheelchair people and eventually a lady came to push me to security. Then they had a hard time finding a golf cart to take us to the gate (D45).
The airport is often a zoo which is why my husband won't fly anymore. In March 2008, we ended up in a six snake line (after asking several of the airline herders). By a six snake line, I meant that the line snaked back and forth six times the depth of the airport at that point. There was another bigger snake on the other side that was wrapped around ours.
In the line with us were MANY people of course, but also people with MANY MANY bags. The sign in line said "One bag under 50 lbs free" and that the maximum per person was two checked items and that bags over 50 lbs would be $50. Since then there has been an additional charge added for checking more than one bag. So all those people with multiple big heavy bags were holding up the line writing checks. There is also a severe restriction on what you can carry on with you.
The baggage carts are free in Europe, but here you pay for them. Be prepared to either pay or move your own luggage. We were in line for over an hour. From before 3:45 until almost 5 o'clock. Someone tried to jump the line saying that he had 7 minutes to make his flight, but his flight only left 20 minutes before ours, so that wasn't true. Eventually we got to the counter and our bags weighed 44 lbs and 34 lbs.
Then we had to take the bags to the processing line, where they scan the bags before they load them. The security line was out of the airport as well.
Coming back, we went through immigration fairly rapidly, and handed in the customs form, and claimed the bags. We were one of the first ones down to the baggage carousel and I was sitting and he was standing next to it. People kept trying to get their bags off of it, and not being able to lift them and being carried around towards us and crashing into him as they tried to get their bags.
Miami International is a very nice airport thats actually made alot of improvements over the past few years. This airport is a rounded one (not stacked in parallell concourses like Atlanta or others) and has some new, excellent shops and restaurants- some of my favs are on Concourse "E" where there is a sushi bar, Sam Adams and a Chilis to go. Years ago I would advise against taking a long wait inbetween flights in MIA, but now I think theres enough to do and to eat you'd be just fine! My favorite wing is the American Airlines wing.
Was a bit funny to be forced to enter my own country through immigration, and just for transit, but well. This whole airport is now completely to be renovated, and the parts that yet are finished do in deed look great, other parts really are run down, and there are long distances to walk.
Passing through migration is no fun at all either, though I didnt have any troubles.
Miami International Airport is six miles west of the city, with Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport about 30 miles to the north. Both airports have 24-hour shuttle bus services, taxis, limousine hire and a choice of national and local rental car agencies.
The best way to get around the Miami area is by car and a number of the rental firms offer hourly as well as daily and weekly rates. To avoid getting trapped in traffic congestion in the downtown area there is the 'Metromover'. Part bus, monorail and train, it comprises a couple of computer-controlled carriages that run on an elevated track and offers great views of central Miami.
From one section of the terminal to another, there is a Skytrain. It runs all along the D concourse from D1 to D60 and you can also access some of the E gates from the Skytrain. It is quicker than walking and quicker than the Skyride. The wheelchair pushers always take me on the Skytrain rather than the moving walkways. It is on level 3 so you may have to go up the elevator to get to it.
The 3rd level Skyride (moving walkways) connects all three MIA terminals - South, Central and North located on the 3rd level of each terminal. Allow 15 minutes to move between South / North Terminals. Use Skyride to connect to parking garages and MIA Mover Station.
Be sure that you got enough times for your transit!! Miami Airport is huge, and sometimes they change the boarding gate at last minutes...:(