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Quick flight connection question: AA thru DFW

Quick flight connection question: AA thru DFW

Old Sep 7th, 2009, 07:01 AM
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Quick flight connection question: AA thru DFW

We need to go to Cozumel for Thanksgiving for a family event. We are flying from MSP and flights have been crazy expensive...there is an Ironman Triathalon on the island and combined with the holiday, it is just nuts. We looked into flying into Cancun and then transferring on the ferry but it didn't really save us anything and we are traveling with our three sons (6,6 and 7) and didn't want to make it more hassle than we absolutely had to. Plus, we have had only nightmare experiences with customs/immigration in Cancun. We searched and searched for flights we felt were reasonable and finally booked an AA vacation package through Orbitz that got us down there connecting through DFW and included the resort where everyone in the family is staying. All good. We got seats altogether (important as my guys share videogames and movies during flight) and all is well with the world.

I have been checking our reservation frequently to assure that all is well and just noticed that the flights have shifted a bit allowing us only a 35 minute connection in DFW. Even though we are sitting in the front of the plane, I worry that is not enough time. What should I do? I checked and every other flight the rest of the day and most of the following day is sold out (they are literally NOT selling any more seats on those flights). So, I worry that if we miss our connection, we could be stuck in DFW for two days. We are on the first flight of the morning so no chance of going earlier. I suppose we could try to fly out the night before but that would require taking the kids out of school an additional day and they are already missing several. I kind of feel I should wait and see if things get switched again before making a change but I worry about more flights to Cozumel filling up and being in more desperate straights.

Thoughts?

Thanks
taitai
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 07:54 AM
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If your first flight is ontime, you should be fine. Study the map at DFW beforehand. The SkyLink runs every 2 minutes and zips from one terminal to the next quickly. http://www.dfwairport.com/connect/skylink.php

On your first flight, it's worth tearing out the SkyLink map of DFW from your inflight magazine to take with you. Each terminal has 2 stops, so you should get off at the stop closest to your departing gate.

If your first flight is running late, I would NOT hesitate to alert the purser or flight attendant of your connecting flight & tight connecting time. The FA may be able to contact your next flight, and if you're just a tad late, they may hold that flight for you... Good luck.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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Since you are asking this question you already know you are "in trouble" and want someone here to tell everything will be OK. Anectdotally, people like "yk" will tell you "if your inbound flight is on-time" you should be OK but the problem is if the least thing goes wrong and you miss your connecting flight telling the airline that contributors on Fodors said "all would be well" isn't going to get you to Cozemel.

Quite frankly a 35 minute connecting time is asking for trouble and I'm surprised Orbitz and/or the airline let you book the flight (minimum connecting time for domestic flights is usuall an hour and for international flights it's usually 90 minutes). At 35 minutes you are cutting it very, very close. I would do this only if you are doing only "carry-on" luggage" and only if you are very adept at sprinting through airports. I doubt any checked luggage would make that connection.

If you are flying AA you should know that airlines uses any one of 3 different terminals (B, C and D) and while there is the Sky Link tram that runs between them you could spend most of your time getting between gates even under the best of circumstances.

Another thing you have to take into consideration is your connecting flight will begin boarding 30 minutes prior to schedule departure which means the boarding process will begin 5 minutes after your in-bound plane lands - that's doesn't bode well for you.

Remember, Murphy's Law of Airports will come into play here. The shorter your connecting time the greater the chances are your inbound flight will be delayed and the further apart your arrival and departure gates will be.

Even if your flight arrves "on-time" it will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes for the plane to taxi to the gate and the deplaning process to begin. Add to that another 5 minutes for you to actually get off the plane. That means about 1/3 to 1/2 of your connecting time will be used up before you even set foot inside the terminal. If your conecting flight leave from the same terminal you could have anywhere from a 1 minute to 10 minute walk between gates. If you have to change terminals, at best you've will need 15 minutes. At best that leaves you wil 5 minute to spare - certainly not alot. Keep in mind also, that sometimes the gate agent stops and closes the boarding process 5 or 10 minutes prior to schedule departure. All this means you don't have any "cushion".

My advice is to make some changes now while you still have time otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 08:58 AM
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I know I am in trouble. I used to fly through DFW a couple times a week with an "illegal" connection and sprinting from one concourse to the other was insane. I guess I didn't phrase my question well. So sorry. What I want to know is based on everyone's experience with flight time changes, does it make sense to try to change things now and take the flight out the night before. When originally booked, these flights had over an hour between them. I don't want to change everything now only to find that they switched the times again and had I kept my original flights I would have been okay. Based on all the experience of everyone here, how late do you think I can wait until I make the switch. I assume, as the flight is still over two months away, the times will be juggled a bit more before they lock on to whatever time it will be.

Thanks
taitai
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 08:58 AM
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This is nothing specific to DFW, but I would not take a 35 mins. connection at any international airport. And especially since you know that the "next flight" available might not be until days latger! There's just too much that can go wrong.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 09:00 AM
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Oops sorry we were posting at the same time, the last two posts. You obviously know more about DFW that I do -lol! Good luck figuring this out.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 09:06 AM
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Suze
I used to live in the DFW airport. However, that was a different life ago and not so relevant anymore. My biggest concern is taking the kids out of school an additional day. I really do NOT want to do that unless there is no other option so I am trying to gauge how often flight schedules change and whether I should just hang tight for another couple of weeks before changing.

I recognize that a 35 minute connection is simply not doable when we are traveling with our kids. Alone or together my DH and I would chance it but we are much more nimble. The guys just complicate everything (but in a really good way!)

Thanks
taitai
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 10:58 AM
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I'll correct one thing RoamsAround says: The scheduled arrival time is not touch down, but the time the plane gets to the gate. Still, I would never chance this.

Your flight to Cozumel will depart from Terminal D. Your flight from Minneapolis could arrive at D, but it could also be A or C. Terminal B is American Eagle, and so you won't be using that one.

If they changed your schedule, you should have the option to make a change to something more satisfactory without paying a penalty. Before you call, do some research and have options in mind. The other option is to be issued a full refund and start over, probably tough to do at this point.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 01:36 PM
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I would call AA and see if you can get an earlier flight to DFW. As you know, it's not really doable at DFW in 35 minutes!

The fun part is... it's a package on AA via Orbitz. Try AA first, but I expect they will make you deal with Orbitz. Have the flights you want in mind and be patient but firm!

Good luck!
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 05:33 AM
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I think you're "assumption" that there could well be more changes is valid. But I wouldn't count on your connection time getting better. I agree that 35 min likely won't work - and you could certainly have weather issues in MSP in late Nov.

Since I understand your current flight from MSP is the first one in the morning, the only earlier possibility, which I'd seriously consider, is to fly out the night before and stay at a hotel at DFW. You could get an evening flight that wouldn't necessarily require you to take the kids out of school. The additional expense of the hotel stinks, but it seems it's worth thinking about under the circumstances.

The only other option is to cancel, get your refund and look at other possibilites such as CO through IAH. Not sure if this works for you or not, but might be worth looking into.
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 06:02 AM
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all I can say that most of RoamsAround's, post is misinformation.

That said, 35 minutes is tight and you should be prepared for heart pumping experience, but it's doable.

Also, AA may very well put you on a Mexicana flight or some other airline if it becomes necessary. It costs them a great deal less than paying for a 2 night stay in a DFW area hotel, so I really would not worry about that part.

I would still call Orbitz and try to get a different flight but since the connection is "legal" they may not work with you.

Whatever the case may be, good luck!

And don't worry so much. These thinks happen all the time, yet people get to their destinations, one way or another. It's part of travel.
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 06:12 AM
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Correction. It's not "legal" connection:

DFW DD- .40( 6) DI- .40,

it's 40 minutes, so I would be calling Orbitz and have them change the flights,

Good luck!
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 02:47 AM
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I had the same problem, only it was an AA flight from Boston. I had 45 minutes. We even got to Dallas early and I was relieved. Then we found out our gate already had a plane there, and we waited for about 45 minutes on the runway, before they found us a different gate. I didn`t make it, needless to say.
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Old Sep 30th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I contacted American and was given two options. 1) A full refund of all 5 tickets or 2) the option to fly out the night before and stay overnight at an airport hotel and then continue on our scheduled flight to Mexico in the morning. We chose Option 2.

Thanks again.
Taitai
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Old Oct 1st, 2009, 09:05 AM
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I think you made the right choice with Option 2 - after all you are traveling on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year, with small children, and on your way to a family event in another country. Think of it as flying in the day before the cruise ship departs - you will sleep better not only before your flight to Cozumel, but probably every night now until then.
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