Reconfirm your flight
Yes, I know you don’t really have to do this any more, but I always do it anyway for my peace of mind. It also gives me the opportunity to give the carrier my local contact information in case there are any major delays or problems. It’s doesn’t do any harm to let them know where you can be contacted. Do this at least 72 hours (3 days) prior to departure.

Prior to Getting to the Airport
If you are departing from Miami International Airport (MIA), please phone ahead to your airline to confirm your flight and departure time, concourse and gate. This is very important at MIA due to the fact that it has more scheduled airlines than any airport in the Western Hemisphere. Occasionally airline ticket counters and gate locations have to re-located, and some airlines use more than one Concourse. You can also check your confirmed flight departure time online at MIA. Click on the word “DEPARTURE”. Failing this, you can phone (305) 876-7770 for 24/7 automated flight arrival and departure information.

Security
Since 9/11, security at U.S. airports has been increased. This means that it takes much longer to complete the full check-in process than you may normally be accustomed to. Many airlines require that you arrive at the airport three hours prior to departure for international flights, and two hours for domestic flights. It’s your call, but carriers are unforgiving with latecomers. Flights will often close 30 minutes prior to take-off, and if anyone is bumped due to overselling, it’s generally the last people to check-in that will find themselves removed from the flight list. Check here for all you wanted to know about the financial rewards of getting bumped.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) oversees security matters at all U.S. airports. Click here to see their list of permitted and prohibited items. The may be different from what you are used to at home.

Duty Free
Duty free shopping is available at shops prior to check-in and also after passing through security. If you buy duty free items prior to checking in for your flight, your purchases will be delivered to you upon entering the aircraft. If you buy after check-in, you carry your purchases on board. Because taxes are considerably less in the USA (no VAT) than in other countries, you may find little difference between prices at the duty free shop and local supermarkets. In fact sometimes prices at the supermarket and at liquor stores are actually less than those found at the duty free outlets at MIA. There also tend to be fewer products on sale than in European duty free shops.

Goodbye
You are ensconced as comfortably as can be expected in your seat. Your carry-on is safely stowed overhead. They are showing your favourite film and serving copious drinks. The weather forecast back home isn’t as bad as you anticipated. All that’s left is to wish “bon voyage” and hope to see you back in Miami some time real soon.

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