Q. I need to book airfare from Miami to Madrid, then a connecting flight from Madrid to Jerez. My sister did some digging for me and it appears that we will need to clear passport control in Madrid before continuing on to Jerez. Based on this information, how much time would you recommend we allow between connecting flights?
A. You never know what may come up with international travel, especially if the airline that flies you to Madrid doesn't have an interlining agreement with the airline that flies you to Jerez - in which case, you'll have to collect your luggage and re-check it, once you're done waiting in line at customs. The Madrid airport is pretty big, and you might want to to read the Skytrax user reviews to get an idea of what other travelers have dealt with when passing through Madrid.
Booking a flight straight through to Jerez would certainly more expensive, but much less of a hassle. Another benefit is that if it's one itinerary under the auspices of one airline entity, they are responsible for any delays or missed connections. Still, if you're intent on spending as little as possible, definitely go with booking onward with the local budget airlines or even trains. Just be sure to leave plenty of time - PLENTY! The last time we made a similar trip, we decided to play it extra safe and just stay overnight in our connecting city before traveling on.