I learned that even if my flight arrived on time, I might miss my connection because of my luggage.
Our destination, a Caribbean island, was off the beaten path, so the return journey was like this. From St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I boarded a small propeller plane on American Airlines in Barbados, via Miami, and back to Los Angeles.
When we arrived in Miami, about 8 hours into the journey, we were already sweaty and exhausted, but had to collect our checked bags for customs, but for our final flight back to Los Angeles. Just double-checked immediately.
This is standard procedure when traveling on multi-segment international flights, and not only was it a logistical inconvenience, but I almost missed my return layover.
My flight from Barbados to Miami was almost on time, but it took over an hour for my luggage to move to the carousel.
I knew that my flight was delayed and I might miss my connection, but I never thought I could do it with just my luggage.
The transit time in Miami was about 2.5 hours, which was plenty of time to clear this hurdle. However, if you are returning to the US from an international destination, we will never allow anything shorter than that.
From now on, I remember a longer transfer buffer would be helpful when checking and rechecking luggage.