The quickest way from A to B, is surely via A, B, C

Im pursuit of the winter sunshine, which I can see appearing through the window of the internet cafe, I fly fairly regularly to Miami. Living in the north-west, my local airportis Manchester, and the only direct flight, American Airlines 157, was dropped a couple of years ago.

This means that I must change planes. The obvious solution is to take a shuttle to Heathrow, and then fly transatlantic to Miami. This has a few disadvantages, though. Quite apart from the fact that Heathrow is a terrible airport to transfer flights at, on the return journey, suffering from the worst effects of jet lag, you have to change terminals at 8am for the shuttle back to Manchester.

The solution I have found, is to connect flights in the USA. That way you go through immigration at the same time as changing flights, and you arrive in Miami as a domesic passenger…. just grab your cases and go. Immigration at Miami often has queues of up to 3 hours, so that is well avoided, too.

The best connection is Manchester – Boston – Miami. 8 hours to Boston, 3 more to Miami. However,  American Airlines usually charge less for Manchester – Chicago – Miami. It’s a longer flight though… 9 hours to Chicago and 3 1/2 to Miami. And it was only 9 hours total on the old direct flight.

This time, we flew with Delta, Manchester – Atlanta – Miami; 9 1/2 hours to Atlanta, 1 1/2 to Miami. So, arriving at Atlanta, we proceed through immigration (1 1/4 hours), reclaim our bags, go through customs and re-check our bags (1/4 hour), go through security (1/2 hour) and, two hours later, we are at gate E18, ready to board our plane for Miami. Next to us, at gate E17, is the plane we took from Manchester. So in 2 hours, we have actually gone 20 feet!

I may have said it before….. I just don’t belieeeeeve it!


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