I was scheduled to leave Maracaibo at 7:00am and arrive in Miami at 10:25am. I then had almost 2 1/2 hours before leaving Miami to go to Ohio. This is a good amount of time because of everything you need to do upon arriving in Miami from a foreign country.
Just in case you have never come through Miami from a foreign country, let me tell you what you need to do.
- Go through passport countrol- get passport checked (I have had problems here before with the many stamps from Venezuela I have in my passport)
- Pick up your luggage
- Go through customs where they can choose you to go through luggage inspection (of which you will be standing in a long line for a long time) or they can let you pass without inspection
- Recheck your luggage at the airline luggage checking location
- Find your concourse for your flight
- Go through security screening
- Find your gate and board the plane.
Each of these processes can be very long. You need to plan to have at least 2 hours of a layover in Miami to make sure you can get through this in time.
My 2 1/2 hours would have been fine, except that my flight out of Maracaibo was delayed 1 1/2 hours, giving me now less than an hour in Miami from the time my plane landed til the time my next plane took off. The worker at the ticket counter in Maracaibo tried to get me on a later flight because he said there was no way I would make my next flight to Ohio, which was leaving Miami at 12:50pm and my flight out of Maracaibo was now scheduled to land at 11:55am. My first thought- impossible. My next thought- with God, nothing is impossible. So I prayed. I prayed for a delayed flight to Ohio (and I don't usually pray for flight delays). I asked God to somehow make it so that I can arrive in Ohio relatively on time (since I had no way of contacting my family to let them know I would not be arriving when they were expecting me.) So, I decided to trust God and see what happened.
My flight landed at 11:50am. By the time we got off the plane, it was 12:00pm (50 minutes til take off for my next flight). I ran to get to passport control only to find I had to take a train and had to wait a few minutes for the train. Of course, I wanted it to hurry, but there was nothing I could do but wait for it. The train came 2 minutes later (but it felt like at least 15 minutes). I got to passport control and went to the side for U.S. citizens. THERE WAS NOBODY IN LINE! The immigration officer was just sitting there, waiting for me to come. He checked my passport, asked me a few questions, welcomed me home, and sent me on my way. Time check- 12:04pm.
I ran down to get my luggage and beat my luggage to baggage claim. I had to wait a minute or two for it to come. My luggage was within the first 15 bags to come out. I got my luggage and went to Customs. THERE WERE ONLY 2 PEOPLE IN FRONT OF ME IN LINE! Both people were chosen to have the bags inspected in customs. When it was my turn in line, the customs officer asked me a few questions and then allowed me to pass customs without going through inspection. I left customs and headed out to recheck my bags. Time check- 12:07pm.
I rechecked my bags and had to find my concourse. Of course, it was not close. I was actually by concourse C or D and I needed concourse H. I ran (literally) through the airport to concourse H, where I then had to go through security. When I got to security, THERE WAS ONLY 1 FAMILY IN FRONT OF ME IN LINE! I passed through security with no problems. Time check- 12:18pm.
Now I needed to find my gate. To my surprise, my gate was the 3rd or 4th gate from security. I found it with ease. Time check- 12:19pm.
Boarding time for my flight- 12:20pm.
That's right, I arrived at my gate BEFORE THEY BOARDED! God performed a miracle that day. He opened every door and got rid of every line in that airport, allowing me to make it through all that in less than 20 minutes!
I boarded the plane and arrived in Cleveland on time, with my family anxiously waiting for me.
All the glory goes to God. Without God, that would have been an impossible situation, but with God, all things are possible!!!