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Flying from Princess Juliana International Airport, Saint Maarten though Miami International Airport, USA to Costa Rica.

Can I not check my bags all the way through on American Airlines (both legs)?

If no, will I need time to clear Customs and will I have to check my bag in at the counter in Miami?

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If it's on one ticket, your baggage will be checked through. However, in the US, you still need to collect it after passport control and take it through customs.

The difference is, if it's already tagged to Costa Rica, you can drop it off at the special drop-off before the exit into the public area, rather than having to take it to the ordinary bag drop desk

  • This page from the airport seems to indicate that baggage on some international-to-international connections will be transferred directly without needing customs processing. – Henning Makholm Feb 1 '17 at 18:58
  • @HenningMakholm There is one exception I'm aware of: stopovers on the same aircraft, such as London-Los Angeles-Auckland on Air New Zealand and Paris-Los Angeles-Tahiti on Air France and Air Tahiti Nui – Crazydre Feb 1 '17 at 19:00
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If you are on one ticket, you bags can be checked through on international to international connections, meaning the airport supports/permits this.

However, you will need to confirm at check-in if this will happen.

If you do have to collect them, you just drop them off again right after exiting Customs. You do not need to go to the upper level counter.

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