Transferring between flights in Miami International airport

Passengers of flights making a stopover in Miami International airport of Florida in the United States of America normally change planes at one of its terminal buildings before they continue towards either a US destination or a city in South America. Provided that they have purchased all legs of their journey with the same airline and as one plane ticket, they will have no more than few hours to navigate their way around the airport, refresh themselves, maybe grab a bite to eat and transfer to their connecting flight in MIA. If you are having a layover in this major air hub and it will be the first time you will pass through it, we are about to give you some tips to become familiar with its different areas prior to landing.

Terminals of Miami International airport in USA

Miami airport (MIA) has three terminal buildings (North, Central and South) that are, in turn, divided into concourses. Thus, the North terminal houses concourse D, the Central terminal accommodates the E, F and G zones and finally, the J and H concourses are found in the South terminal. All these areas are connected and so getting around Miami International is relatively easy: you can use moving walkways and get from one building to another in ten or fifteen minutes; walking from one concourse to the next one will take you far less than that. However, in case you need to make a connection in concourse D and you are running late, you can ride the Skytrain stopping at all main areas of the North terminal in Miami airport. On the contrary, should you have extra time to spare before boarding, do not hesitate to visit the many shops and diverse array of restaurants in Miami airport of Florida.

Do I need to clear Customs again when I land in MIA?

Upon your arrival in Miami airport in the United States, the first thing you will have to do is find the way to either baggage claim or the US Customs and Border Protection filter, or perhaps both. Pay attention to the wayfinding system and you will get there in a breeze, although you can also use the 24-hours assistance phones across the terminals or go to the travel information counter at concourse E in the Central terminal.

Generally, the wisest thing to do is confirm with your airline whether you need to claim your baggage during your layover to drop it off again, or if it is necessary to allow some extra time to go through Customs (we recommend that you complete this step before anything else as there might be queues). Nevertheless, oftentimes the carrier itself cannot give you an answer at the origin airport, so here you go some tips:

-When arriving aboard an international flight to catch a connecting flight out of Miami towards a destination within the US, passengers are required to pick up their bags at baggage claim, go to the drop-off counter of their airline or its codesharing partner and then proceed to Customs. Once all steps have been taken, you can relax and wait for your connection in Miami airport as close to the designated gate as you can.

-In case an international leg of your journey ends in Miami to continue towards another international destination, and as long as you have purchased a single plane ticket instead of two independent ones with different airlines, your checked baggage will travel straight through to the final point of your trip, and so you will only need to comply with the border regulations in MIA.

-If you have flown from another US airport to transfer to an overseas flight departing Miami International, it will depend upon the specific policies of the airline you are travelling with. Thus, we advise you to contact your carrier of choice in advance or else to head over to their office inside the facilities of Miami airport once you are there.

Catching a connecting flight in Miami: arriving at the airport aboard an international flight

Although it may sometimes be subject to operational modifications taking place at the airport, international flights arriving in Miami International land in the areas detailed below.

The North Terminal (concourse D) receives overseas flights operated by Aeroflot, American Airlines, Aruba Airlines, Avior, Miami Air, Sunwing, Swift Air and TUI; the Central Terminal (concourses E, F and G) sees the landing of Air Europa, Air Italy, British Airways, Eurowings, Finnair, GOL, Iberia, Qatar Airways and TAP Air Portugal aircrafts; and lastly, the South Terminal of Miami airport –housing concourses J and H- is the one where flights run by Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Caribbean, COPA, El Al, KLM, Latam, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss, United, Virgin Atlantic and Turkish Airlines land.

Transferring between flights in Miami International airport: which terminal do I have to go to?

When catching your departing flight in MIA, bear in mind that the distribution of airline operations across the terminals is as follows:

-Most American Airlines flights depart from the North Terminal of Miami airport.

-Aeroflot, Aer Lingus, Air Europa, Air Italy, American Air, Aruba Air, Avior, British Airways, Eurowings, Finnair, Frontier, Iberia, Miami Air, United, Qatar Airways, Sungwing, Swift Air, TAP Air Portugal and TUI operate from the Central Terminal of MIA.

-Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia, KLM, Austrian Airlines, Latam, Avianca, Lufthansa, Caribbean, COPA, Scandinavian (SAS), Delta, Swiss, El Al, GOL, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic flights take off from the South Terminal.

The best cities for a stopover

Why visit only one place when you can have the opportunity to experience and discover a couple or more during your long awaited vacation? Expert travellers are well aware of the fact that a trip must be carefully planned in advance in order to make the most of it, and the majority of them agree that the ideal adventure must include one stopover at the least; if you are taking two weeks off to travel, you could even make two.

The main reason why you should consider a short stay in between flights is that there are so many cities in the world that have a lot to offer, and frequently they come in handy for a stop halfway between two destinations, helping you to reduce jetlag and providing a unique chance to take a short trip that otherwise would not fit in your itinerary.

In this post you will find advice on how to include stopovers in your trip, which airlines sell flights with already scheduled stops and the best cities in the world for this purpose. Our selection is based on those cities where you can do and see more in a short period of time as well as on the ones boasting the best transport connections to ensure you won’t miss your outbound flight.

How to schedule a stopover as part of your trip

When planning an international trip that will last more than one week, it is always interesting to try to schedule at least one stop in order to make the most of it. You can either arrange everything yourself or purchase airline tickets that will allow you to sleep in different cities along the way. While the latter is a safer option that guarantees that you won’t miss any flight and your journey won’t be disrupted, by booking separate trips to visit different places during your getaway you can tailor your adventure to suit your travel needs and preferences as nobody else would. Bear in mind, though, that every stopover must be at least 24 hours long in order to enjoy some sightseeing and get some good night’s sleep before the next leg of the journey.

Airlines that sell flights with stopovers

Especially when you want to book long-haul flights to go from one end of the world to the other, many airlines will offer you free stops to make your journey a more pleasant one. For instance, Emirates is popular for its short stay packages that include hotel nights, guided tours and activities. Other airline companies who sell flights with stopovers are Iberia, Air Canada, Finnair, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Tap Air Portugal, Icelandair and Singapore Airlines.

Choosing the best cities for your stopover

Provided that you have flexibility to decide which city you will make a stop at, or else your airline of choice gives you several options to choose from, take into account these upward trending cities for stopovers around the globe.

Toronto, Canada

Stopover in Toronto, Canada: take this opportunity to see the CN Tower –one of the seven wonders of the modern world- and visit St Laurence Market, the historical Casa Loma Castle, Nathan Pillips Square and Kensington Market. This tour is feasible in a few hours by getting around the downtown area.

Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia

Stopovers in Kuala Lumpur are ideally spent shopping, and the malls that travellers love the most are Fahrenheit88, Plaza Low Yat, the Starhill Gallery, Berjaya Times Square and Lot10. Right outside the Lot10 shopping mall there is a hop-on and hop-off bus stop; hop on it to commute to the Chinatown neighbourhood, Little India, the Central Market, the Menara KL Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers.

Helsinki in Finland

As is the case with other cities, Helsinki also has a tourist bus that can help you achieve your goal of seeing the main landmarks of the city in one day or less; hop on it and see the Lutheran Cathedral, the University, the National Library, the Orthodox Cathedral, the Old Market Hall and the Cathedral of Helsinki. For an entirely different experience, join a husky ride tour, especially if you visit during the winter season.

Reykjavik in Iceland

Travellers who fly into Reykjavik for a stopover in Iceland normally seek to take a trip to the Blue Lagoon as the highlight of this part of their journey; in order to arrive, hire a car and drive for about 45 minutes. If you haven’t had the time to purchase your tickets in advance, stay in the centre and visit the Einar Jonsson Sculpture Garden, the National Gallery of Iceland, the Museum of Photography, the City Hall or the Art Museum of Reykjavik.

Lisbon in Portugal

A stopover in Lisbon calls for gastronomy tours and living the local nightlife. You won’t need to get too far from the downtown (Chiado and Bairro Alto) or from Alfama to enjoy all the best the city has to offer. You will also be within a short bus commute of Belem, an area you should not miss out on.

Singapore city stopover

The main goal for many tourists and travellers in Singapore is to get a picture at the Marina Bay Sands and the incredibly beautiful Gardens by the Bay. If you are not an avid instagramer and would rather explore the different neighbourhoods in the city, join a Heritage tour or a City Sights tour and get to know the authentic Singapore.

Los Angeles in the United States

A stopover in the City of Angels can be perfect if you stay in the West Hollywood area and rent a vehicle to get around. Where you will choose to go will largely depend on your preferences and available time: if you are a sea lover, head to the beach (Santa Monica, Venice); if you are a film nerd, go to Universal Studios and take a stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame; but if you simply want to soak in some of the best views in California, visit Griffith Park or The Getty at sunset.

Perks of staying in an airport hotel

The average business traveller catches more than twenty flights per year, but today, even when travelling for work is not a requirement, our millennial lifestyle alongside a global culture and the fact that we stay permanently online no matter where we go result in an increasing tendency to travel to new places whenever we get the chance. In view of this, it is safe to say that the higher number of hotels being built near airports in recent times responds to an actual demand, and it aims to satisfy the needs of a new customer profile. More and more travellers are discovering the advantages of booking a hotel close to the passenger terminals, regardless of their specific scenario: for a late night arrival preceding a long commute, during an overnight layover or before a very early morning departure. Have you ever considered sleeping inside or near the airport on your trips? Read below to find out more about the perks of staying in a transit hotel.

You might not need to apply for a travel visa

Every time you embark on a transcontinental journey, it is quite likely that you will be having a layover in a city somewhere between your origin and your final destination. Perhaps you only have a few hours to spend before your next flight, yet you need to get some sleep because you have been travelling across time zones: this is the perfect opportunity to relax in a transit hotel in the passenger-only area of the airport terminal and, in most cases, you won’t be required to have a travel visa for that country as long as you do not step into the public zone.

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You will never miss your flight

One of the most obvious perks of staying in an airport hotel is that, since they are located at a distance ranging from few metres to a couple of kilometres from the terminals, it is highly unlikely that you are late for boarding. What is more, these establishments are clearly focused on enhancing the airport experience, so many incorporate flight information screens on site displaying the latest status updates and even your gate number. The staff will set a wake-up call upon request and arrange shuttle services at a convenient time for a hassle-free departure.

You will skip unnecessary commutes

When travellers started to book rooms at airport hotels, the main reason for doing so was to avoid taking a taxi cab or using public transport after midnight, or the absence of good transportation options in the early morning when the flight departed at dawn. Therefore, and looking at the fact that many international airports have excellent connections to the city in the form of express trains and direct bus services, it is also a good idea to stay in a transit hotel during your trip and commute to the centre every day for sightseeing or business purposes.

They are an ideal place for plane spotters and aviation lovers

If you enjoy plane spotting, sleeping at the airport or close to it will not only make it easier for you to visit the spotters zone but also let you immerse in the aviation atmosphere and live it to the fullest. Some transit hotels are situated on the edge of the runways, providing guests with privileged views of airplanes taking off and landing while they are in their rooms.

It may help you during your family trip

On holiday with the whole family? Believe it or not, some of the advantages of booking a hotel close to the airport include a more organised family trip. If you stay in a hotel near the terminals at least on the night before departure, kids will be more relaxed and you will have more time to make sure you pack everything and leave on time.

Airport hotels specialise in business facilities

The owners of transit hotels are aware of the fact that you, as a business traveller, want to make the most of your stay in each city. Thus, these establishments tend to be more business oriented regardless of the hotel chain or brand they are part of, and offer a variety of conference spaces, meeting rooms and technological equipment for you to meet up with your potential clients and compliment the highest number of deals possible in record time.

Sometimes they are cheaper

It depends on a diversity of factors, but airport hotels can help you save money during your trip and reduce travel expenses. Major hotel chains close to air terminals will probably have similar nightly rates to their branches in the city, but 3-star and 4-star business hotels or “Inns” might be a nice surprise. Look out for special promotions, breakfast-included rates and “park&fly” packages.

Have you read our airport hotel reviews? Take a look at our opinion about this hotel near Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport in Spain.

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Accessing passenger airport lounges worldwide as a member of Priority Pass

The Priority Pass membership grants access to over 1300 passenger lounges in airports across the world, providing travellers with exclusive spaces within the terminals where they can rest, eat, have a drink, work, stay connected with clients or loved ones or even get a spa treatment before boarding their next flight.

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When signing up, frequent flyers are given the choice of three different programmes from basic to higher privileges, and the minimum standard annual fee is 99 euros. After a simple process, members gain admission to airport lounges in more than 500 cities with international airports where they can have a layover or depart towards a new destination.

The Priority Pass network keeps on expanding every day, their latest opening being the new lounge at Santos Dumont airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil; however, to name just a few, you will find Priority Pass lounges in cities like Hangzhou, Minsk, Amsterdam, Orlando, Abu Dhabi, Alicante, Paris, Katowice, Osaka, Palermo, Sofia, Tokyo, Zürich and Washington.

The lounge database is constantly being updated, and you will be able to do a search in both their website and their App, and thus make sure that there is a lounge you can access in your terminal of departure, as well as consult its exact location. By downloading the app, members will be holders of a digital card that will speed up the check-in process.

Aside from the expected relaxing atmosphere, the refreshments, the complimentary WiFi and the power outlets for you to charge your mobile devices, many lounges include other extra features such as conference rooms or spa centres for the exclusive use of travellers who have previously become a member of the Priority Pass program.

Imagine such a smooth travel experience: there is no need for bookings or prior reservations, just get to the airport, find your lounge and show your digital or physical Priority Pass membership card to the staff in order to spend your waiting time in the best manner.

Furthermore, no matter whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, you can bring family or friends along as guests into the lounge. Find out more here.