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Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

California
Level Contributor
168 posts
111 reviews
Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

First, let me preface this post by saying we're very infrequent air travelers (we usually road trip everywhere and have only taken direct flights in the past). I think we made a major mistake in booking our 1 stop flight to MZT in a few weeks.

We are booked on one airline (American Air) from MZT-PHX-SJC. Our party of 5 all have Global Entry but my mother-in-law always checks luggage. I assumed that checked baggage would just go straight through to SJC but I just saw a thread that someone flying from Europe into ORD was told they will have to pick up their checked luggage, go through customs, and then check the luggage back in for their final destination. Does that same policy apply for flights from Mexico? If so, we'll never make it as American has us on a VERY short connection time (about an hour).

Yes, I saw the warning that it was a short connection time but I wrongly assumed that since we have front of the plane seats, speed walking and using Global Entry would get us through in time. Plus, I figured American would know what's realistic or they wouldn't suggest that itinerary to us. Rookie mistake, I'm sure....

It's too late (and likely very expensive) to change flights as we're now just weeks away. Should I just resign us to the fact that we're likely to miss our connection and desperately hope American can get us on the last flight that same day (4 hours later)? Since we're booked on the second to last flight of the day, there's a chance there won't be space for 5 passengers on the last flight of the day. I can see on American's site that 7 seats are left at the Basic Economy price and 7 seats at the Main Cabin price (but does that mean only 7 seats total or 14 seats?). What happens if we miss our connecting flight? Will American pay for us to get a hotel room in Phoenix? I know my mother-in-law purchased trip insurance for all of us but I don't know their policy re: missed connections...I

Thanks for your insight.

19 replies to this topic
Hoboken, New Jersey
Level Contributor
2,070 posts
8 reviews
1. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

1) Yes, your mother in law will need to claim her bag in PHX before exiting Customs, and then hand it back over to the baggage handlers for the onward flight. It should already have a SJC tag but you still need to shlep it yourself.

2) Assuming you booked on a single ticket, sounds like you did, it's a short connection but it must meet the minimum connection time for PHX. Which means, it's not likely they'll offer you a hotel room unless your inbound was late due to something under their control like a mechanical issue.

Don't forget, you will all need to go back through TSA security after exiting Customs.

UK
Level Contributor
9,302 posts
26 reviews
2. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

Unless you are flying in from somewhere that has US pre-clearance (I don't know if any Mexican airports do?) your mother-in-law will indeed have to pick up her checked bag, walk it through customs and then drop it off the other side of customs - when I've done it's simply been a case of putting it on a belt.

I think your options are...

- hope for the best

- persuade mother-in-law not to check baggage this time

- assuming she is not old and frail, leave her to pick up her bag while the rest of you go to the gate, and hope she'll catch up with you.

Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
22,963 posts
36 reviews
3. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

Does that same policy apply for flights from Mexico? - Yes it does

What happens if we miss our connecting flight? Will American pay for us to get a hotel room in Phoenix? - That all depends on the reason for the missed connection, if it was something outside the airline's control such as weather then they are unlikely to pay for a hotel.

With a party of 5 and only one later flight I personally would have wanted a longer connection time for a stress free connection - there is nothing to lose by talking to AA and asking them is it possible to change to an earlier flight from MZT and if so what the cost would be.

California
Level Contributor
168 posts
111 reviews
4. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

Thank you all. I'm going to see what I can do, both to convince MIL not to check any luggage and see if we can get on an earlier flight leaving Mazatlan.

California
Level Contributor
168 posts
111 reviews
5. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

Follow-up question: if we miss our flight due to not making it to the gate on time (but not mechanical issues--so weather delay, customs delay, luggage delay, etc.), what happens in terms of the unused flight? Do we get to apply the credit to another flight and pay the difference? Do we lose the entire value of the original flight purchase? We did not purchase the "basic economy" ticket which sounds like you lose the value.

On the AA.com website, I only see info about same-day standby for domestic flights/Canada/Caribbean or transatlantic from LHR but we're flying from Mexico into PHX.

Thanks!

Edited: 16 January 2018, 07:09
California
Level Contributor
168 posts
111 reviews
6. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

Update to my own question: I called AA and the agent said I lose the entire value of the ticket if we miss the connection. It will cost $200 to change the flight but a new one-way ticket from PHX-SJC is only $120 (on AA). MIL pointed out SWA has an $89 fare leaving at 7 pm (2.5 hours later). That's a lot better than the next AA flight 5 hours after our arrival. That's why I chose the 1 hour flight to begin with--I didn't want to sit around in PHX for 5 hours when I thought we could risk getting through customs faster with Global Entry and speed walking to the next gate.

SWA may sell out of the flight that day, but I think the plan now is to distribute MIL's items among the 4 of us so we only have carry-ons and risk making the tight connection. MIL also pointed out that our travel insurance covers missed connections at $250/person so assuming there isn't any fine print re: why we missed the connection, we should be able to get reimbursed for a new flight or overnight hotel stay.

Thanks all!

Oregon
Level Contributor
4,059 posts
26 reviews
7. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

<<<Update to my own question: I called AA and the agent said I lose the entire value of the ticket if we miss the connection. >>>

That's not correct. If it's on one through ticket then AA will put you on the next flight with available seats. This just happened to us, coming home from Puerto Vallarta on Alaska. Our flight from PV was delayed, and we missed out connection in Portland. Alaska had already rebooked us on another flight (unfortunately the next day, as we arrived in the evening), and booked us into a hotel and had meal vouchers waiting for us.

California
Level Contributor
168 posts
111 reviews
8. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

terriks: I'm so sorry that happened on your vacation. How Alaska treated you is what I assumed would happen if we missed our PHX-SJC connection, but American told me no. I wonder if it's because I made the mistake of buying the tickets on Expedia?

Chicago
Level Contributor
8,276 posts
1 review
9. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

Apples and oranges. If you miss the connecting flight because your incoming flight is late,of course the airline is responsible and will rebook you.

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
16,185 posts
16 reviews
10. Re: Checked baggage & missed connection question for MZT-PHX-SJC

"How Alaska treated you is what I assumed would happen if we missed our PHX-SJC connection, but American told me no. I wonder if it's because I made the mistake of buying the tickets on Expedia?"

It has nothing to do with where you booked your ticket. I suspect the agent you talked to was either ill-informed or misunderstood your question (e.g. perhaps they thought you were asking what would happen if you just decided not to show up for your connecting flight). If you miss a connection due to no fault of your own you can expect the airline to rebook you free of charge (although they might not cover overnight accommodation should this be necessary).

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