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  1. #1

    Default Return Flight Customs Question

    On previous trips we have been fortunate to have direct flights home. This coming trip we aren't so lucky. We will be flying from MBJ to Orlando and then catching another plane to Baltimore.

    Could someone help me understand the airport procedure in this situation? When we arrive in Orlando I know we will have to go through customs. Does this mean that we have to first collect our checked luggage from the carousel before going through customs? Would we then have to go to the ticket counter to get a boarding pass and check luggage again for the flight to Baltimore? And pay another checked luggage fee? And go through security again? We have 2 hours and 17 minutes between flights (all AirTran flights). Thanks for any help!

  2. #2


    In Charlotte, you go through immigrations then pick up your bags and go through customs, which is some guy taking your ticket and saying welcome home, never seen anyone get pulled aside. Just pass customs they then have an area where you give them your bags back, and no there is no fee since your bags should have been checked through to your final destination when you checked into your flight at MBJ. What this does allow is for you to buy liquor at the duty free shop after you have checked your bag, and then pack it into your checked baggage between flights, of course you have to have room for it. Once you have re-checked your bag, you will then go through security again to get to your gate. Hope that makes sense.

  3. #3


    Haven't had a connection in Orlando but in Atlanta and Charlotte. First passport control / immigration, then yes, you collect your bags to go through customs, but there should be a drop off right after to customs to send your bags on to the final destination. You don't have an additional fee - in MoBay they "check" your bags to the final destination - meaning the claim ticket will reflect your final destination - they just unload all of them off the flight at your entry point for customs. You will also already have the boarding pass for the second flight as well from your check in at MoBay.

    But you do have to go back through security. This can be a real pain. You have to put any duty free liquor or other liquids in your luggage before you recheck it - you cannot take it through security. Seen too many bottles left behind!

    The 2+hr connection time is a good amount, should be enough.

  4. #4


    Last time I flew into the US with a connecting flight, 2006, I had to pick up my luggage and then go through customs. From that point, I put my luggage back onto a conveyor belt and went back through security screening and on to the terminal. You will already have your boarding pass, so no need to go back to the ticket counters. No need to repay any baggage fees.

    CSS April 29-May 10, 2013

  5. #5


    2-4 Jamaica - We just returned to Seattle via Charlotte on US Airlines. We had to retrieve our bags off the carousel in customs, then put it back on a conveyour belt after we made it through the check point. After that, we went through airport security again. No additional bag fees though. We had about a 2 hour layover and still had time to get a bite to eat before getting on the plane.

  6. #6


    Yes, you are correct. You will pick up your luggage first then go through customs. After customs you drop your bags off (re-check), and then you have to go through security. There is no fee to recheck your bags, but since you have to go through security it is important that you put any liquids in your bags that get rechecked.

  7. #7


    When you arrive in Orlando, you will first go through Immigration. This is where you show your passport and show your customs form. After Immigration, you collect your baggage, then you go through Customs, which basically involves turning in your Customs form. Then you recheck your baggage (you are not charged an additional fee for this). Then you will have to go through security again prior to boarding your connecting flight. If you have over two hours, you should have plenty of time to do all of this.

  8. #8


    I never knew any of this! Now I'm concerned that the layover we have in Charlotte coming home from MB (1 hour and 25 minutes) is too short? Our travel agent booked it for us, should I be worried? We're heading from Charlotte to St Louis at 4:30 on a Monday, hopefully that's a quieter time at the airport??

  9. #9


    Tara, you won't have a problem, especially on a Mon.

  10. #10


    Tara Y - 1 hour and 25 minutes is cutting it close, but you should be OK since you arrive at 4:30 on a Monday. If it was a weekend, it would be a different story. The problem is when several planes land at once. If that happens, it can take an hour just to get through immigration.

    Here's a tip for Charlotte - after you recheck your luggage, you will take an escalator to the upstairs level. You will come out at the security line for Concourse "D." Many times this security checkpoint backs up because all the people coming up from customs think they have to go through "D." You do not have to go through security at D. If you walk just about 50 yards down the concourse, you will see the checkpoint for "C." And if that's backed up, walk further down and you will come to the checkpoint for "B." More than likely, your flight to St. Louis will leave out of either C or B anyway.

  11. #11


    I'm a little confused about buying liquor. Is it the cheapest at the airport or at resorts? If buying at airport you check your bags and then buy the liquor and put in your luggage when you get to connecting airport before going through customs? They allow you to carry it on during the flight leaving Jamaica? Plan on bringing some back and this will be our first time traveling out of the US, just want to make sure I understand correctly would hate to have to leave it behind. We have our connecting flight in Phili then to Indy. Thanks for you help CTI in 43 days.

  12. #12


    Tara - I have gone through Charlotte the last 4 years with the 1:25 layover. I have never been late to the next gate. We don't drink much on the flight, hit the bathroom as late as we can before landing, then proceed at a quick pace to immigrations. While the line can be long, it moves pretty quickly considering. They have 16 stations, and I have never seen more then 8 opened, and this is on a busy Sunday evening when everyone is returning home. You should be ok.

  13. #13


    Wow, I had a mini freak-out when I read this also. I hadn't considered the extra time when coming back to the States due to Immigration and Customs. So, I'm like Tara, also cutting it close with 1:18 layover in Houston, also on a Monday arriving at around 4:30 with United. Anyone ever get a layover in Houston? Should 1:18 be enough time?

  14. #14


    The only options that the couples air booking page gives me for the charlotte layover is 1.5 hrs so I guess we will have to make this work also - We are flying to Pittsburgh on a Tuesday. This should still be okay, correct?

  15. #15


    Thanks so much for the info everyone! I spoke with my travel agent and she said that the timing is a "legal connection" so while it may be close, we should be ok. I am a little leary about the whole thing because our original non-stop charter flight was cancelled last month (after booking our honeymoon in July!!) so our agent had to find us a new airline. I was bummed about having to deal with layovers, but now am just wanting to get info on everything so there aren't any huge surprises...
    thanks again for the tips, I've gotten so much great information from this message board!!!

  16. #16


    The process in Charlotte is very quick and easy since it is a smaller airport and has fewer people going through customs. That would make me nervous in Atlanta, but for Charlotte I wouldn't be concerned, that's about the typical layover we get when coming back through Charlotte.

  17. #17


    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie & Mark View Post
    I'm a little confused about buying liquor. Is it the cheapest at the airport or at resorts? If buying at airport you check your bags and then buy the liquor and put in your luggage when you get to connecting airport before going through customs? They allow you to carry it on during the flight leaving Jamaica? Plan on bringing some back and this will be our first time traveling out of the US, just want to make sure I understand correctly would hate to have to leave it behind. We have our connecting flight in Phili then to Indy. Thanks for you help CTI in 43 days.
    If you buy alcohol prior to security check point, it goes in your checked bag. If you buy after security, you can carry on the plane BUT it must checked if you do not have a direct flight to your US destination. When you arrive at the first stop in the states, after you collect your luggage and clear customs, you repack in your checked luggage and send it on your way. The nice thing about purchasing at the shops at the airport is that they will pack it in a box for you. We still wrap clothes around it when we repack. As for price, Rum is hit or miss on shopping trips for price, but the rest is usually cheaper at the airport.

  18. #18


    we made our connection with a 53 min layover in chicago on a sat....our luggage did not tho....the green bay airport had our luggage to our door by 8am the next day!

  19. #19


    we always buy the liquor at the airport and they do allow you to bring it on the flight out of mo bay as a carry on, but after immigration when you get back in the states you will need to put it in your checked baggage, so leave a little room in there for them...the duty free shops package the liqour very well so no need to worry about it breaking in you luggage

  20. #20


    We have connected through CLT several times, and while we usually had no problems there can be if you are delayed leaving MBJ. We have had to miss our connection in Charlotte twice over several years but most were fine. Once when we were delayed leaving MBJ and once when immigration and customs was particularly slow at CLT. We fly on to Washington from there and so had no problem getting on another flight later in the evening, but it is an annoying hassle when it happens.
    We find it well worth the extra cost to pay a little extra for non-stop flights. When we do have to connect we book a little extra time between the connections so we won't have to feel rushed.
    The biggest thing we have done to help with our connecting flights home is that if we are staying somewhere with a nude beach we just take carry-on luggage home. This way we get to CLT and go straight from Imigration to Customs without stopping to claim luggage and without having to recheck that luggage.
    No everyone can travel with just carry-on, but we just don't need very much for a beach vacation.
    Best of luck, and it will probably be fine!

  21. #21


    Thanks all for clearing up the procudure for bringing liquor back home to the states. Now to just decide what to bring home once we get there and samlpe all the wonderful choices.

  22. #22


    Rather than start new thread I figured I'd resurrect this old one.

    MBJ to MCO Question:

    At MCO after clearing customs and dropping off checked luggage on conveyor for the continuing domestic flight, do we have to get on the AGT (people mover train) back to the Main Terminal to go through security there or is there a security check point for international arrivals at the air-side terminal?

    Flying JetBlue.


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