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Question about layover on UA Flight 966 LAX-FCO

Question about layover on UA Flight 966 LAX-FCO

May 28th, 2009, 11:21 AM
  #1  
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Question about layover on UA Flight 966 LAX-FCO

United has a flight from LAX to Rome which stops at IAD. It is a single flight number #966.
The layover is only 42 minutes.

The United website says "For at least one of your flights, you must change planes en route, even though your ticket may show only one flight number."

How can they allow that short of a time for a plane change? How is it possible that luggage will be transferred?

Is it possible there is no plane change?
Kristina is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 01:21 PM
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I think it's very likely there will be a plane change; a lot of United's continuing flight numbers actually involve connections. Today's 966, for example, is an Airbus from LAX-IAD and a 777 for IAD-FCO.

United doesn't publish minimum connection times in its timetable anymore, but the last time it did (06), the MCT for domestic to international at Dulles was 35 minutes. I'd call reservations and ask what the minimum connection time is, just to check. I don't connect at Dulles very often, so I'm not a good judge of what's realistic, but that would make me a little nervous.
ms_go is online now  
May 28th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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IAD is an easy airport for transferring. For UA u generally are in the same concourse (terminal) or the one right next door -- concourse C&D for example. U could easily transfer once off the plane and in the terminal in 10 minutes or so. U don't need to go thru security again. That said, if your incoming plane is late, you could be in trouble. There are several am flts from LAX to IAD, can't they put u on an earlier flt?
yestravel is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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ms_go- I forgot to look a the plane type! Doh! Makes sense.

No, personally, I won't go for a change that short. I've transferred through IAD a lot and sometimes it can be a long walk between gates, even from one UA flight to another.It's too risky if flight #1 is at all late. I'll try for an earlier flight.
Kristina is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 03:23 PM
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If it is a single flight number like this there is a really good chance that the IAD-FCO flight would get held for anything other than a major delay on the LAX-IAD segment.
MrNuke is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 10:41 PM
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I wouldn't be concerned about a 42 minute connection on a direct flight to Europe since you aren't going through immigration and customs (which could be quick or be an hour at IAD).

Today's (May 28) UA 966 was an A320 for LAX-IAD and a 777 to FCO.

Airport: Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Scheduled departure: 9:10 AM
Actual: 9:06 AM

Airport: Washington Dulles (IAD)
Scheduled arrival: 5:11 PM
Actual: 5:48 PM

The flight departed 4 minutes early but was 37 minutes late.

The continuation of that direct flight was 31 minutes late:

Airport: Washington Dulles (IAD)
Scheduled departure: 6:09 PM
Actual: 6:40 PM
mrwunrfl is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 10:54 PM
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Ok, so today's flight had a 58 minute scheduled connection, more than 42. But UA has been flying thru IAD for decades so I think they have figured out how long they need. Won't be any weather delays leaving LAX.
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May 29th, 2009, 07:40 AM
  #8  
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Your flight is a direct flight from LAX to FCO - I would be ok with the connection time.
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May 29th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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That flight is pretty much late. But its a easy walk from one plane to the other and you don't have to re go through security like you do say at Frankfurt etc.
JoanneH is offline  
May 31st, 2009, 09:01 PM
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I used to work for UA and I can tell you that they monitor inbound connections for their outbound flights. When airlines use "through" flight numbers, it tends to increase the airlines' share of passenger traffic in that market. In this case, the LAX to FCO passengers. The higher number of "through" passengers and the "through" flight number would weigh heavily in my decision to hold an outbound flight for connecting passengers. However, there were times when the inbound flight was delayed to the point that the outbound flight departed ontime without the "through" passengers, but the passengers were able to be re-routed via other flights. ie. IAD-FRA on UA then FRA-FCO on LH.

Another consideration to not book on "through" flight numbers is frequent flier mileage. If you are ticketed LAX-FCO then you accrue miles as if you flew LAX-FCO. If you are ticketed LAX-IAD-FCO you get credit with a few more miles. If you are trying to gain status, I believe the former (LAX-FCO) would count as 1 segment and the latter as two.
misterfuss is offline  
May 31st, 2009, 09:04 PM
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Also, even if the aircraft were the same type (and it isn't) there would definitely be an aircraft change in IAD since it takes longer than 42 minutes to service, cater, and load an international flight.
misterfuss is offline  
Jun 1st, 2009, 05:28 AM
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misterfuss-Thanks for the info. I really didn't want to risk a 42 minute change, but that just confirms it.
I'm really shocked that UA even schedules it that way. Plus, if we get re-routed, especially on a code-share with LH, we don't get our seats in Premium Economy. And if I wanted a 2 stop flight, I'd book it, you know?
I'm going to keep watching the earlier flight. Unfortunately, all the flights on my dates in Oct are substantially more expensive than other carriers but we prefer UA because of FF status.
Kristina is offline  
Jun 1st, 2009, 01:30 PM
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Also, regarding the luggage, the through luggage should be loaded in such a way to be transferred off your inbound flight first (along with any other tight connections.)

I checked this flight for the last two days and it operated in and out of the IAD C concourse, so it should have been a fairly easy connection.

You can standby for an earlier flight on UA at no additional charge (currently, but could change in the future.) Of course this isn't the case if you check luggage.

If there are seats available on the earlier flight on the day of your departure, you may be able confirm them for a $75 fee. The details are here:
http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,51160,00.html If interested in this option, I would suggest you call reservations on the day of departure to see what seats are available. Then you could do this if acceptable seats were available ie. seats together, e+ legroom, etc.
misterfuss is offline  
Jun 1st, 2009, 01:33 PM
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Just curious, have you purchased your tickets yet?
misterfuss is offline  
Jun 1st, 2009, 02:03 PM
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No. Our dates are in October and tickets are running almost $1100+. Other airlines are as low as $680 for similar schedules, but then we don't get miles, Economy Plus and aren't able to use the one segment upgrade certificates we have (which expire Oct 12th).

We could go with another carrier, but we're both spoiled by Econ Plus and/or Business and the thought of a long-haul seat with a 30" pitch gives me hives.

We usually go carry-on, at least on the way there.

I'm really tempted to wait and see if there is a fall fare sale on UA. What I can't understand is why their flights are so much more expensive than their competitors right now.
Kristina is offline  
Jun 1st, 2009, 07:01 PM
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What sort of upgrades certificates do you have and how did you get them? Are they "systemwide upgrades" (aka SWUs or Region 2 upgrades)? Or "region 1" upgrades? Or are they 500-mile upgrades? Would you be upgrading LAX-IAD or IAD-FCO, or both?

Or are they some other sort of upgrade with minimum booking code (fare) requirement?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 1st, 2009, 08:15 PM
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The certificate is for "one regional upgrade". We both got them on a flight back from Paris last year when we were in Business and the video screen was broken.
So I think it would only be good for LAX-IAD. Still, I'd like to use it if possible because it expires Oct 12th.
Kristina is offline  
Jun 1st, 2009, 10:47 PM
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Ok, then that is a regional upgrade in region 1 (N. America, Hawaii, Caribbean, Central America) and is not restricted by booking code. You can use it on any published fare. It would be good for LAX-IAD only on that itin.

The systemwide upgrade, which can be used on international travel, is restricted. If you had one of those then it might explain the higher fare if you had gone to ua dot com and specified that type of upgrade.

You can wait for a sale. My guess is that one is likely. I'd wait but also would not buy the ticket if the price didn't drop.

What dates?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2009, 08:57 AM
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Hi Kristina,

My guess is that there will be some sort of sale closer to the departure date especially if the competition is already showing lower fares. But of course, I don't know for sure. Did you wish to upgrade on the international flight too? My understanding is that only certain international fares are upgradeable. I believe the booking codes for these are H and M class (which probably won't go down in price.) This info may have changed as UA is starting to charge a co-pay for certain upgrades starting in July.

http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,52895,00.html



Regarding your upgrade cert, does it allow for the upgrade right at time of ticketing? If so, then maybe the "through" flight number (LAX-FCO) is not an option since it won't show as two separate flight segments.
misterfuss is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Our tentative dates are Oct 10-18.

I don't think we'll be able to upgrade for the international flight.

Interesting point about the upgrade on the through flight. We'll have to investigate that...
Kristina is offline  

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