Well, now I understand.
The wife and I had to travel through Miami while returning to the states from our St. Lucia vacation, and it was basically a nightmare.
The crew of our flight from St. Lucia didn't say anything about what to do and where to go when we got to the airport. There were no agents meeting us after debarking. The signage was either confusing or nonexistent.
So large clumps of passengers began wandering after getting off the plane and eventually found our way to the first of several lines we had to endure.
First, we all had to wait in line to obtain an electronic receipt after a machine scanned our passports and took a photo of us. But to get to that machine, we had to wait in a line that was easily 10,000 people and stretched as far as the eye could see. No one really knew why they were standing in line. You know how peeople are.
While we were more or less in line, there were multiple announcements of the public address system of the airport, and these were totally unintelligible. It sounded like English, sort of. A heavy Cuban-accented English. I could not understand one single announcement.
When we finally got to the front of the line and were herded to one of about 20 machines, there were no instructions on the machine. Ours appeared stuck on a previous screen. We touched here, there, nothing. After a minute or so, it finally started working.
After obtaining this precious receipt, we were herded to a new line where we would have to pass by two humans stamping passports. Fortunately, our receipts did not have an X on them, so we went to the shorter lines (only about 1,000 people). The lines of people with an X and without an X were hard to distinguish.
Once finally past these two guys, we were told to go claim our bags to get them re-checked for the connecting flight to Houston. All around us people were missing their connecting flights. Some of them were just outright cancelled, because no one was going to get into Boston, where a blizzard was underway.
We wandered to a luggage carousel and there was a sea of bags already pulled off the belt and just stacked in piles. Almost all of them looked the same. Miraculously, we found our two bags (finally!!) and took them onward to another line where we gave them to baggage handlers to put back on planes.
Now we had to go through security again, as if we could have built a bomb at some point after we got off the plane and were making our way through the airport. Two lines for hundreds of people; two machines shut down. Uh, hello!!
One agent tells us we don't have to take off our shoes. When we get to the front of the line, of course another agent tells us we have to take off our shoes. Scramble, rush, rush, scramble. I hate going through security with a ton of angry passengers breathing down my neck.
After all those lines, we finally made it to our gate just a few minutes before they began boarding our flight, and we had a 3 hr 30 minute layover!!
No doubt thousands of people missed their connecting flights this evening.
So, avoid Miami if at all possible, especially if you are going through customs and immigration. Horrible signage; inadequate airport personnel; a labyrinthine maze to navigate. Just absurd. And this is how they treat their own citizens!!
So, avoid American Airlines and Miami airport. I think we're going to Hawaii next. No customs or immirgation, non-stop flights, don't need American. Next?!