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chrismattmom Aug 8th, 2006 03:56 PM

connection time in Charlotte?
Hi! Newbie here. My Family and I are planning a Jan '07 trip to Grand Cayman. I've been watching the airfares(and gas prices!).We are traveling from Albany,NY.
I found a US Air flight for $439pp(532total),It has a 45 minute stop in Charlotte. My question is for you experienced travelers...Is that enough time? I don't want to miss our flight !
Any advice? Is that a good price? Delta has a nice itinery,with a little more leeway(1 hr 22min) but are charging $926(total)pp!!
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!Thanks.

travbabe Aug 8th, 2006 06:02 PM

I would not risk a 45 minute connection, especially if there is a concourse change. My husband and I have booked one hour connections two years in a row and both times we had to jog at top speed between flights only making the connection by five minutes and feeling like we needed oxygen after the sprint. We have vowed never again. The problem is counting on the inbound arriving on schedule -- you don't need more than a half hour, but can't count on it if there is a delay. Regardless book the farthest forward seats on the inbound, so you don't waste any time getting off the plane. You might see if you can book the same inbound US Air Flight with a later connecting flight, even if you extend the layover, if the cost is right.

chrismattmom Aug 8th, 2006 07:10 PM

Thanks for your help. I will keep looking and remember the foward seat "tip". If I do decide to go with this, I better start running!

Mama Aug 9th, 2006 12:58 AM

chrismattmom, a 45 minute is not enough time. I would worry about 1hr 22 minutes since you are coming from ALB. You have only a small chance that your flight from ALB in January will depart as scheduled and arrive on time. We took many flights from ALB and not many of them departed on time in a winter. Maybe you can arrive in CLT night before and stay in one of very inexpensive hotels near the airport. Good luck. $532 is is a very good price from ALB not so $922. You can do much better than 926 and have more comfortable connection. Good luck.

blamona Aug 9th, 2006 05:25 AM

Is that the last flight Charlotte-Caymans for the day? If it's not, you're fine, if late, they have to put you on the next one.
If it's on time, I've had a tighter connection. After the gate, you can tell one of the "golf carts" to take you over. Charlotte is relatively small, and the golf cart drivers are super nice if your connection is tight! I've made it with 20 minutes-between the golf cart and had the gate to gate call to let them know. (I was the last one on the plane!)
I've also missed flights too.
So only you know what stress is worth it or not.

SAnParis Aug 9th, 2006 05:52 AM

If your flights are on time, you'll not have a problem. I fly out of CLT all the time & you can get from one end to the other in no time. However, I always check the 'ontime flight %' of flights when I have tight connections. January may also be a problem, as previously mentioned.

Mama Aug 9th, 2006 06:54 AM

This is not about enough time for connecting in CLT. OP needs to consider departure from Albany, NY in January. This is what I would worry about. Been there, done that many times.

If your first flight is delayed the airlines have an obligation to put you on the next flight with available seats. If there are no seats available they don't have to.

SAnParis, we too are flying to Grand Cayman from CLT in December. What time do you think we should show up in the airport? Is it easy to park a car in or near the airport? Thanks

SAnParis Aug 9th, 2006 08:16 AM

I always park in LONG Term #2. It is right off of Wilkinson Blvd. which goes straight into Uptown. The shuttles are quick & I typically print my boarding pass at home & go straight to security. I always carry on. If you need to print boarding passes (& not check luggage) there are two (maybe more) stand alone kiosks right across from the US Air counter right by the doors. Never a line. If security is stacked up, go down to the far left (International) that line is always shortest. For me, If I have a Noon flight I would leave the house about 10:30 & have plenty of time. Allow extra time for Monday morning or Friday afternoon flights. Where are you coming from ?

SAnParis Aug 9th, 2006 08:18 AM

CLT airport info - All the concourses/gates dump into a common area so ther are no shuttles, trains, etc. Concourses A & B are to your right, C,D & E to your left. E is for puddle jumpers, D is for most International flights.

GoTravel Aug 9th, 2006 10:09 AM

Charlotte Airport is an extremely well laid out airport and any other time of the year 45 minutes would be plenty of time to connect for an international flight.

Albany, New York in January is a different story. Based on the fact that the odds on chance that bad weather will delay your flights, either get an earlier flight out of Albany or a later one out of Charlotte.

Charlotte is my hands down favorite airport in the US and the main reason I only fly US Airways. It is always a pleasant experience.

SAnParis Aug 9th, 2006 10:26 AM

GoT - I'm guess I'm just spoiled as I fly out of CLT two or three times a month. Denver is right up there as well for me, although I don't care for the 'cattle-herding' security check that they have in place.

chrismattmom Aug 9th, 2006 10:38 AM

Mama, Thanks for responding. It's good to hear from someone who's"been there,done that". I don't see a later flight out of CLT that day on US Air... There is an earlier flight out of ALB-but that stops in PHL(another Winter worry!)before the CLT connection. I could wait for another airline for their prices to go down(some research says try 90 days out?). It's just such a good fare. You said you also worry that the Delta 1hr 22m isn't enough(for ATL) either? what is a good "Buffer" connection time for flying from ALB in the winter?

chrismattmom Aug 9th, 2006 10:41 AM

Blamona, Thanks for the "Golf Cart" idea. That sounds like a solution if we are running late.

chrismattmom Aug 9th, 2006 10:43 AM

SAn Paris, I checked the % on time flight # and it is(says) 90%. Are these pretty accurate?. Thanks for the CLT Concourse info too.

chrismattmom Aug 9th, 2006 10:45 AM

GO travel, Good to hear Charlotte is a pleasant experience. Thanks for the insight.

chrismattmom Aug 9th, 2006 10:58 AM

To Everyone-Thanks to all for their advice and shared experiences. It's a tough call. I've always been a "Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" kind of person. I think I'll wait a few more days and search other itineries. It's also a price issue with 4 of us. I can't see paying more for the airfare than the Vacation for a week!

chasechow Aug 9th, 2006 11:13 AM

Christmattmom - What a timely question. I have been confronted with this same situation for our trip to T&C in Feb. We are leaving from Norfolk, VA to Miami and we have exactly 1 hour to catch our flight to TC. To do a different itinerary, the cost was a great deal higher. We booked it, but honestly, I'm nervous about it.

SAnParis Aug 9th, 2006 11:15 AM

Generally , but weather is another problem altogether. We fly back & forth to Philly a lot & if we take the Friday afternoon flight I thing the 'on time %' is like 40-50%. Which is (unfortunately) highly accurate. So we choose not to take that particular flight any longer.

provogirl Aug 9th, 2006 12:10 PM

I travel to Provo about 4 times a year. I take the flight from Norfolk to Charlotte and then on to Provo. The last 2 trips I've nearly missed the connecting flight because of late flights out of Norfolk. Not weather issues, just late.My layover time should have been 50 minutes.

The next trip I'm taking the earlier flight out, I'd rather have a longer layover than a heartattack trying to get there. There is only one flight to Provo a day out of Charlotte.
Chasechow-I wish you luck in Miami, I looked at that flight, but decided it was just too close for comfort. One thing in your favor, there is a later flight to Provo if you miss the first. Long layover, though.

Hols Aug 9th, 2006 01:02 PM

I lived in CLT flying for 7 years each week out of this airport. I agree that this is one of the best airports in the US. Your departure from Albany, I cannot speak to. However, check the arrival and departure gates for your flight. If you arrive / depart from B, C or D concourse - no problem. Concourse A and E should be fine also as long as you aren't going from the end of E to the end of B. If you are on USAirways, you should not be flying in /out of A. E is for the smaller commuter planes.

A few other good tips. There is great food options in this airport - many w/ grab/go options. The BBQ spot is the main center is my personal fav. Also, Bank of America has convenient ATMs if needed located in the center of food/shopping. Free internet is also available if you were to need this, albeit not for a 45 layover.

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