5

I've recently flown LHR-MIA-MVD with AA. It's not the first time I do this, but to my surprise, it was the first time I didn't have to pick up my suitcase in Miami and go through customs with it - I checked it in at Heathrow, and picked it up in the final destination.

Is this a recent policy? I'm particularly interested in knowing what will happen with my return flight (MVD-MIA-LHR). Any list of destinations or combinations where they do this?

  • You definitely don't pick up the luggage when continuing on the same aircraft after a stopover in the US. Examples being London-Los Angeles on Air New Zealand and Paris-Los Angeles-Papeete on Air Tahiti Nui – Crazydre Dec 29 '16 at 19:53
  • Interesting. Makes sense. However in this case it was definitely NOT the same aircraft, so there must be something else going on. – ggambett Dec 29 '16 at 19:54
  • sense? You are talking of what makes sense when the DHS is involved? Razing that department and salting the ground, that would make sense. – chx Dec 29 '16 at 20:28
3

MIA and DFW are special airports, both American Airlines hubs which somehow pulled this trick off.

http://www.miami-airport.com/baggage_international.asp

International flights connecting to international destinations (ITI) - confirm with your airline if your luggage was checked directly to your final destination or if you have to collect it before clearing U.S. Customs.

Can't find the relevant source for DFW. But ITI through check happens there as well.

Edit: apparently, DTW as well and very surprisingly to me, IAH as well -- it's the only non-AA hub I am aware of doing this.

  • It was first introduced at IAH several years ago. Not an American Airlines specific thing. There it's mostly United and their alliance partners. – Michael Hampton Dec 29 '16 at 20:08
  • Are you sure? I can't find sources but I am nearly 100% it was either DFW or MIA first. It'll be hard to find the history because americanlaw.com/twov.html it's surely been long ago. Perhaps reintroduction date after this? – chx Dec 29 '16 at 20:12
  • is.gd/eMc3Zd it existed in 2008 at MIA and DFW both: "I first became aware of it when travelling MEX-DFW-LHR in November 2008. The red ITI tags were put on the luggage in MEX and I never saw the bags again until arrival at LHR. I also did EZE-DFW-MEX both ways in 2009 without collecting bags" "I did not have to collect my bags in MIA to clear customs. I did however have to clear immigration and walk through customs (without bags). This was in 2008" – chx Dec 29 '16 at 20:17
  • I learn something new every day... – Michael Hampton Dec 29 '16 at 21:32
  • It may be similar to what they do at US preclearance in Toronto terminal 1. The luggage is apparently held by the baggage handling system until you clear immigration. If customs wants to see a bag they can request it to be delivered to them, otherwise they release it to the plane once they've seen you. I can confirm it doesn't work that way at IAH, I collected and rechecked my bag there last night. – Dennis Dec 29 '16 at 21:58
2

Is this a recent policy?

I can’t quote on Miami, but in 2002 I travelled to Australia from Germany via Canada. Our final flight was Vancouver–Sydney on Air Canada which had a stop in Honolulu with everybody exiting the plane, passing through immigration, going back to the departure lounge and getting back onto the same plane. Unless my memory is strongly fooling me, we did not have to collect our bags.

Thus, it’s not a recent thing, it’s not a thing restricted to US-based airlines and it’s not restricted to Miami.

  • As I linked above, the old ITI program was suspended in 2003, back then you didn't even need to clear immigration and customs. americanlaw.com/twov.html – chx Dec 30 '16 at 4:54

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