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International-domestic connection at LAX -- what's best?

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I'm thinking about booking a ticket that requires an international-domestic connection at LAX. The connection time is about 2.5 hours. According to flightstats, 10% of that international flight were more than 45 minutes late over the last 2 months, and the longest delay was about 2 hours.

So there's a pretty good chance that I'll miss the connection.

What would be best?

(1) Book the ticket on Expedia anyway and take a chance.

My understanding, though, is that if there's a delay, then I'm not really covered, as I've booked with Expedia and not the airline directly. This is no different from booking two tickets.

(2) If indeed I have no protection by booking on Expedia, then I can book the international legs on the airline directly and a one-way from LAX for about $100 cheaper than Expedia.

If I miss the connection, then I'm out of luck.

(3) Book the international segment. Use AA miles for the domestic flight.

What would happen if I miss the connection? My understanding is that AA will rebook me on the next flight if I use miles. Is this understanding correct?

(4) I could go with (1) or (2) and use miles if I miss my connection. Unless the flight I want is completely sold out, I can always use miles if I'm willing to spend the highest level of miles.

It looks like the miles option (3) is the safest, while (1) or (2) is fine if I want to save my miles and there's still a backup plan. Does this sound correct? Any suggestions on what I should do?


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