Reasonable connections in Boston and O'Hare?

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Mar 5th, 2009, 02:44 PM
  #1
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Reasonable connections in Boston and O'Hare?

I'm working with a travel agent to book tickets for a group going from the US to the UK. The last itinerary she sent me had a one-hour layover in Boston on the outbound flight (to LHR), and a one hour, 15 minutes layover at Chicago O'Hare on the return flight. Is that enough, especially on the return? I'm pretty type A and really prefer longer layovers, especially when you have to go through customs/immigration on the way back. But the TA has not been all that friendly or communicative and I don't want to ask for something else if it's not necessary. (I'm kind of stuck with this setup for now, so any advice to change TAs will fall on deaf ears, I'm afraid.) Thanks for any input!
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Mar 5th, 2009, 03:04 PM
  #2
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No, neither connection is sufficient - minimum 2 hrs is needed. Surprised your agent doesn't know that. Find another TA.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 03:17 PM
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That's what I thought - thanks for confirming that I'm not just way overcautious! I actually just spoke with the TA and asked about it, and she took it in stride, so that's good. I almost feel bad for her, dealing with our group's complications... but that is why she is a TA and I am not.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 03:18 PM
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1:15 at O'Hare would be a little too tight for my comfort level. It is doable if your flight from LHR is on time and everything goes fairly smoothly in immigration and baggage claim, but a lot will depend on how many other flights arrive at the same time. I've gone from the plane to the curb in less than 15 minutes before (no checked bags), and I've had it take over an hour from deplaning to the time I exited customs (with checked bags). After immigration/baggage claim/customs, you'll have to go outside and take the train to a domestic terminal and re-clear security. Does your airline have later flights to your final destination?
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Mar 5th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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Which airline to which airlines in Boston? Which city are they flying into Boston from? If both flights are operated by the same airline, then 1 hr is enough at Boston Logan.

Is this American Airlines? The AA terminal at Logan is tiny, so they won't have trouble making the 1 hr connection, assuming the incoming flight is on time.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 03:28 PM
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I would avoid tight connections especially when a group is involved. Depending on arrival time and how many international passengers are being processed in Chicago, you may spend more time waiting in line and not make your connection.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 03:39 PM
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These are all on American, and we're leaving from Nashville. She's also looking into flights with USAir (we haven't actually booked anything for certain; she's still getting quotes, and we're being difficult in other ways). I haven't looked at American's flight schedule yet, so I'm not sure if there are later flights from O'Hare to Nashville that night. It's the 9:55pm flight from Boston to LHR, so I assume that if we miss that one, we're stuck at Logan for another day.

esm - that was my thought. Coming back we have several people not going with the group, but still, that layover seems very short.

Assuming everything goes smoothly is not an assumption I feel comfortable making - we've taken a group on this sort of trip three times before, and every time I've been, something big went wrong!

I don't want to be unfair to the TA; she is definitely earning her keep with this group, since we have people leaving early and coming back late and flying to and from different cities in a couple cases. Not to mention we were doing group rates until four people had to drop out unexpectedly this week.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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There is NO NONSTOP flight from Nashville (BNA) to Boston. You need a better travel agent. to fly out of Boston, you'd have another stop somewhere between BNA & BOS.

Your one-stop choices on AA are:
BNA-DFW-LHR
or
BNA-ORD-LHR
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Mar 5th, 2009, 03:51 PM
  #9
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I meant to say, NO NONSTOP from BNA to BOS on American Airlines.

On the way back LHR-ORD-BNA, there are 4 daily flights LHR-ORD. If she books you on the first flight out of LHR, you'll get into ORD at 12:50pm. There are 4 additional flights ORD-BNA after 12:50pm, with the following departure times:

2:05pm
3:20pm
5:25pm
8:15pm

I assume right now she has your group booked with the 12:50pm arrival from LHR, and the 2:05pm departure to BNA. Just have her change it to the 3:20pm.

I'll say it again, you need a better travel agent.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 04:59 PM
  #10
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jent103, I'm not familiar with Nashville airport and don't know how many flights/day you have to ORD. My hometown airport is small and I try to avoid the last flight of the day. I've been stuck in Chicago a number of times due to cancellation of the last flight.

I assume Boston & Chicago prices are the best for your dates and that's the reason the TA is routing you that way. I don't use TAs much these days but when I do, I always look to see what options are available in case the TA has missed something. Good luck.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 06:59 PM
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Don't do it - the group is the deal killer - how long do you think it is going to take to find alternate flights for all members of the group if you miss the connection. And if the missed connection is not the fault of the airline, they will not pay for lodging. Since you are the point person here, how unpopular do you think you will be with this group if they end up sleeping on the floor at Logan?
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Mar 5th, 2009, 09:32 PM
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yk, you're totally right - the itinerary she sent me says it's a one-stop flight. The formatting on those things is so crazy that I didn't pick up on it till now. That is indeed ridiculous. I'm sending her an email now and I'll note that as well - and make sure to pay better attention from now on!

gail, we have a good and very understanding group, so hopefully they wouldn't hate me too much. But you bring up a really good point about finding extra flights for everyone. That would be a huge pain (and is good "ammo" for talking to the TA). And esm, I have looked and will look again for sure. I'm not sure why it's so complicated. I think we're getting Boston & Chicago because it's what AA will negotiate with the TA for us. Personally, I'd much rather do something else and might suggest something specific to see what happens.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 09:42 PM
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Outbound - very doable

Inbound - while doable, it borders on a disaster... especially if you have a group. I have done deplaning at terminal 5, long walk, immigration and customs, getting the train to terminal 3, going through security and having enough time to get a drink at the Flagship Club under 45 minutes, but I was by myself and I do travel in business class and I do know shortcuts, either because of my status or just because I know O'Hare like my back pocket.

For a group, I would not recommend it.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 10:01 PM
  #14
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OK. I just emailed the TA and asked about an itinerary I found with AA, going through DFW. It gives us a two-hour layover on the way there, and a 3.5-hour layover on the way back. And neither second flight is the last one of the day, which is quite exciting. AA's web site lists the same price as they were quoting the TA for a single ticket, so hopefully that or something similar is doable. We'll see how the saga ends! Thanks, everyone, for all your input. I really wish I could just book the flights myself... but alas, it is currently not an option.
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Mar 6th, 2009, 05:22 AM
  #15
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Perhaps your TA should share his/her commission with you. Hope it works out.
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Mar 6th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Travel agents earn nothing from selling most plane tickets alone. If that's all you're asking them to do, no wonder they're not helpful. Instead of having the TA share commission, you will be asking them to lower their fees for booking your ticket.
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Mar 6th, 2009, 11:05 AM
  #17
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rkkwan - I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for the explanation.That does explain why we're not exactly her top priority (although we had the same circumstances a year and a half ago and had a very helpful TA).

I wasn't actually planning on asking for a cut, just to clear that up.
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