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Phoenix layover - 31 minutes

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Oct 14th, 2015, 08:03 PM
  #1
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Phoenix layover - 31 minutes

I'm flying on AA from San Jose to Tucson with a 31 minute layover in Phoenix. Connecting on "Skywest Airline as American Eagle".

As I recall, that's a pretty big airport - does this seem reasonable?
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Oct 14th, 2015, 09:03 PM
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OP here again - I called AA and was about an hour on the phone with first a representative and then her supervisor. There was no budging from the airline's position that the 31 minute layover is considered "valid," as it is within the 30 to 60 minute time span they deem do-able.

So - unless I am willing to pay a $200 change fee, along with a fare increase, they will not switch me to an earlier flight from San Jose that would afford me a longer layover. The earlier flight has seats available and the fare is the same on their website for both. It's amazing to me that they would be so unyielding on this - the customer representative actually asked me, "Why did you even book this?" Um, because the flights were paired on the AA website and I didn't look carefully at the connecting time? Yes, my fault - I agree, but the connecting time appears unreasonable.

Both flights will be going out of Terminal 4, but I know that terminal has four concourses, so all I can do is hope they're both in the same concourse. And that my flight to Phoenix is on time. Or that the next flight isn't full if I'm late.

I know I will think twice about booking a flight on AA in the future.

The sad part is that I'm meeting my sister in Tucson for short getaway (she's flying in from Seattle) and I have our rental car arranged. If I don't make my flight, I guess she will be waiting for me ...
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Oct 15th, 2015, 04:38 AM
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That does seem quite unreasonable of AA. If they say ’30 to 60’ minutes as a connection time It means they are fully aware that it could take more time than you have been given. Were you assured that they will take responsibility for putting you on the next averrable flight if you don’t make it?
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Oct 15th, 2015, 06:04 AM
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When you get off your flight have the gate agent call your gate and tell them you're running to catch the flight . No guarantee but it might help.
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Oct 15th, 2015, 07:21 AM
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Yes, I am sure if I miss my connection they will put me on the next "available" flight, but with planes flying full and even overbooked these days, I wonder when that will be.

A friend of mine said I should show up at the San Jose airport in time for the earlier flight (which is FOUR hours earlier!) and see if I can get on stand-by. Has anyone ever had luck with this strategy?

MrsBill - I plan to do just that - also see if they will try to get me off the plane fast - I'm in row 10, so not too far back.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 06:21 AM
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Not AA's problem/fault. You booked the reservation but didn't look at the layover time. 30 minutes is a legal layover for domestic, otherwise it wouldn't have been an option on their website.

Of course they are going to charge you the same fees that anyone would to change your flight, because you are voluntarily changing your flight.

The only way American would change your flights for free is if you had booked Flight A and B with a legal connection time, but Flight A's departure time got bumped and now the connection was no longer legal.

I would think about watching connection times before booking your next flight.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 11:18 AM
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needmore - I agree, you're correct in saying I should have looked more carefully at the connection time when I booked the flight. Usually I do, but I guess I trusted the airline to not put together a pairing that doesn't seem at all reliable.

My bad.

But I do think that in this case, they could have gone a long way in customer satisfaction and just plain good will by allowing the change, since it is only one leg of the entire reservation, and there are plenty of seats available at the same cost as the flight I am on (which, by the way, has fewer seats available for that day).

I know they don't have to do that. I also know it could easily have been done.
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Oct 16th, 2015, 10:06 PM
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They won't do it not because it cannot be done easily. They won't do it because it would break down their whole current pricing model which relies on lots of fees (including change fees) to come up with that fare.
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Oct 17th, 2015, 11:17 AM
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Well, I'm going to do my best to make my connecting flight. Having flown through PHX many times, I think the odds are about 50/50 that it is possible - especially since I will be switching to a smaller regional airline, so unlikely the gates will be in the same concourse.

What I guess I don't understand is why it wouldn't cost them just as much to have to put me on a later flight out of PHX as it would cost them to just rewrite the ticket to allow me to fly in on an earlier flight?

I'm sure it has to do with the bottom line, as we are all aware that the airlines are just barely making it these days - with hardly any profit margin at all. What with fuel prices so high and those large comfy seats they provide making for fewer seats on each plane. And don't forget the free bag check.

( The dripping you may be hearing is from sarcasm.)
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Oct 17th, 2015, 08:22 PM
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Several points:

• First rule - never argue with a customer service agent. Just politely hang up and call again and see if you get someone more accommodating. Now there will be tons of notes in your file and no one will risk changing for you.

• Many airlines would take the same hard line so saying you'll never book w/ AA again is pretty unreasonable.

• If you were willing to go on the earlier flight why don't you try to go standby? Usually same day standby charges are less than change fees.
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Oct 17th, 2015, 10:15 PM
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I never argued with anyone. I think the customer service agent was sympathetic, but her supervisor was a company gal - she said "the airline needs our compensation." Yes ... she said "our." Even so, our conversation was cordial.

I didn't say to them I would never book with AA again. But I probably won't.

I may try standby - it means getting to the airport four hours before the initially booked flight, so not sure if I'm willing to take that chance, as I am assuming another extended wait for a flight if/when I don't make the connection.
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Oct 18th, 2015, 12:19 AM
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>>• Many airlines would take the same hard line so saying you'll never book w/ AA again is pretty unreasonable. <<

>>I didn't say to them I would never book with AA again. But I probably won't.<<

Well you essentially did say that here which is what I think newtome meant . . .

>>I know I will think twice about booking a flight on AA in the future. <<

The problem is just about every airline - except Southwest - would have treated your situation exactly the same way. Southwest wouldn't charge a change fee, and you'd get full credit towards a new ticket -- though the new fare is likely to be higher. So if you are going to think twice about booking on AA -- you probably need to memorize WN's (Southwest) schedules because w/ all the other airlines you'd hit the same wall.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 10:31 AM
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Okay - I am back to share my experience with this itinerary:

SJC - PHX
PHX -TUS

TUS - PHX
PHX - SJC

Every one of these four flights was either delayed or cancelled.

First leg of the flights - San Jose to Phoenix with the very tight connection - outgoing flight was delayed by three hours. They had to rebook my entire itinerary. That also meant I had to cancel the deal I had on a rental car in Tucson, as I was meeting another person, and since I was almost five hours late by the time all was said and done, she just booked a car (at a last-minute much higher rate).

On the way back, the flight out of TUS was delayed, but I still had just enough time to run and catch my connecting flight to San Jose. After sitting on the plane to San Jose at the gate for an hour and fifteen minutes, the pilot told us there was a problem with the jetway having hit the door and the plane could not fly. We deplaned and two hours later they brought another plane for us. Arrived at my destination about three and a half hours late.

As we were all re-boarding for San Jose, there was a man who said this was the fourth plane he had been booked on to San Jose that day - the other three had all had problems and been cancelled.

So - I am not a fan of American Airlines. And I know there will be apologists who will say this was not all that bad - and in the grand scope of things - of course it wasn't. But problems with four out of four of my flights? Not going to get my future business if there is another airline with similar itinerary and fares.

** The other thing that kind of amazed me was how unhelpful the customer service staff was. When I had to rebook the initial flight pairing at the airport, I asked if I would get the upgraded seat I had paid for. They said the flight was completely full and I couldn't have that seat, but that I would be reimbursed (which has happened to me on other airlines, so not a big deal). Then when I got on the flight a couple hours later, it was less than a third full, and I was able to move to the exact same seat I had upgraded to - for free.

The second flight - they assured me I was confirmed when I had to rebook, and then when it was time to board, I had no seat assignment and the flight was overbooked. Luckily for me, someone agreed to be bumped in exchange for compensation. Otherwise, I would have been out of luck.
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