Baggage retrieval/transfer in Mexico City from San Fran to Cubana flight
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Aug 27, 2012 6:59 PM Last Post By: sayeh
Aug 22, 2012 10:42 PM
Baggage retrieval/transfer in Mexico City from San Fran to Cubana flightWe are flying United Airlines from San Francisco to Mexico City then a few hours later Cubana Air to Havana. I assume United will not check our bags all the way through (correct me if I am wrong). If that is the case, will we have to get our bags, go through customs and exit the airport only to check in and go back through immigration to leave for Cuba? Or is there an easier way? Thanks in advance.
Aug 23, 2012 12:30 AM
1Don't really see how United could check your bags for Cubana. Yes, you may well have to find your bags and go through the process again - as you have to do if you arrive in LAX for example, from Australia and need to take a connecting flight to México. No bags are checked through in LAX, even for the same airline or airline partner.
It's not such a big deal really, especially if you have heaps of time, and you say you have a few hours. Just turn around and wheel your bags to the Cubana check-in.Why would you need to exit the airport? Oh yes, if you have to go to the other terminal. Cubana flies from Terminal 1 in DF.
MEX is a great airport. enjoy your time there and enjoy your trip to Cuba.
Aug 23, 2012 4:21 AM
Aug 23, 2012 6:49 AM
3Such reality may make you think about how many hours you have in between. If you want to be on the total safe side think about having 3 hours from landing to check-in Cubana air to my City.
Safe travels from Havana, Cuba!
Aug 23, 2012 6:53 AM
4Historically, one has been able to make an international connection at the MEX airport without clearing immigration; however, they've been trying to change this, so it's likely that you wouldn't be able to do so, even if there was a way to transfer your bags to the Cubana flight (which there isn't).
Both airlines apparently operate from Terminal 1, so it's not hard to make the transfer. The lines at the airport are typically much shorter for international flights than domestic flights, so there shouldn't be much hassle.
Aug 23, 2012 12:54 PM
5I echo others sentiments. A three hour layover is quite sufficient time going TO Cuba but it might not be enough on your return. The reason is that Cubana is notorious for being late on their flights, both departures and arrivals. That could mean you have to hang out at MEX for a bit longer than you thought on the way down, but it could potentially cause you to miss your connecting MEX-SFO flight on the return.
I also think ack is correct that you don't need to completely through immigration if you are not leaving the airport. Most international airports now have a sealed section which, if you don't leave it you don't need to deal with all the security insanity.
Aug 23, 2012 2:17 PM
6cuidate: I think you misunderstood my comment. The MEX airport used to have such a "sealed section", but they got rid of it (or are in the process of doing so).
Plus, the OP would have had to leave the international area anyway to check the suitcase at the Cubana desk (and acquire a tourist card!)
Aug 23, 2012 2:53 PM
Aug 23, 2012 3:01 PM
Aug 24, 2012 6:28 PM
Aug 25, 2012 7:35 PM
10I have often been surprised by how easy it is to make that kind of a transit, chef, when you just "ricochet" through an intermediate transit point. If you elect to leave that "sealed" area that exists in so many international airports, you will not be allowed re-entry until the proper time and you will have to endure the entire long-line, major-cavity-check, kind of shoe-removing security. If you stay cloistered inside whatever that "zone" is, it's a trouble-free transit.
Mexico sucks in so many ways. Everything is a frickin' negotiation, Cuba aside, and their ties with the US muddy even further any Cuban connection issues, I suspect.
Aug 25, 2012 9:40 PM
11#10 you're talking about LAX, right? No sealed section, but lots of long line, major cavity-check, shoe-removing security. No trouble-free transit there. MEX is a breeze in comparison, and I always get a smile and a bienvenido, which is more than I can say for LAX.
Have to admit, though, that my last transit, on a wheelchair through necessity, was a tad easier. Thanks heaps, Alaskan!
Aug 26, 2012 4:42 PM
12#11: I think he's talking about PTY.
Regarding MEX, MEX used to allow transit passengers to switch planes without passing through immigration. However, the Mexican government announced a new policy that this would no longer be permitted. Despite this, some travelers sporadically reported that they still were able to do a full airside international transfer (as with Cuba, in Mexico, the way things are supposed to happen and they way they actually work are two very different things). I think by now, the possibility to do this kind of transfer has been completely eliminated. (There were some problems caused by the fact that some domestic flights left from the "sealed" international area, due to lack of gate space at MEX. This gave passengers opportunities to pass contraband across the border).
sayah: By now, the airport transfer experience at LAX and MEX should be exactly the same, with the same number and kind of immigration and security checkpoints. (Actually, when flying between the US and Mexico, MEX will have one more security check than LAX.) MEX has much shorter lines when going international, but LAX actually has departure gate monitors that work, so no aimless wandering around the terminal looking for your flight as in MEX.
Aug 26, 2012 5:01 PM
13I was speaking of PTY. But this also applies to SJO and SAL. GUA requires you to go through immigrations as does Colombia.
My friends, two of them now, bought LAX-PTY-PTY-HAV tickets online with Copa and then did online check-in. So with only carry on they just walked from one gate to the other in PTY. The Copa gate agents don't care.
Aug 26, 2012 6:49 PM
14Ack - believe me the airport transfer experiences in LAX and MEX are very, very different. So different that if I am ever able to fly to México again I will do anything necessary to avoid LAX. Never had to wander aimlessly in MEX to find my flights, and the security checks are way different - if not in essence then certainly in attitude. But then I prefer friendliness.
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