Airport layover times

Old Oct 1st, 2003, 05:21 AM
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Airport layover times

I've been using Sidestep to look for cheap fares. While a lot of the fares are pretty decent, the layover times between some flights concern me. I don't know all airports but some of the scheduling seem to have "Recipe for Disaster" written on it.

Some of the international flights have as little as 45-55 minutes between flights. Some of the airports listed are Charles de Galle, Newark and Milan. Is it reasonable to expect people to change planes and sometimes airlines in this amount of time? I'd expected long waits between planes and this took me by surprise.
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Old Oct 1st, 2003, 07:05 AM
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You are right to be cautious. Some airports have inherent problems in making what the airlines call "legal connections". There is a designated minimum amount of time between flights determined the following ways:

Connections between the same airline or different airlines.

Connections between airlines from a domestic flight to an international flight and vice versa. Also from domestic to domestic and international to international.

Connections can also be determined by what terminals are used.

If an airline lists a connecting flight, they are responsible for getting you on a later flight should you not make a connection. However, if you are part of a large number missing a flight, on a day when travel is high; you might be looking at long delays and even worse, spending a forced overnight somewhere. If the opportunity arises that you could request a longer connection, it might be safer to do just that. Especially if your connecting flight is the last one of the day. Better safe than sorry. But that is just my opinion. One other thing too is that not all airlines have a baggage agreement (one airline will not transfer your luggage to another airline) and if you have to claim your luggage then recheck it, that much more time has to be factored in. Hope this helps!
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Old Oct 1st, 2003, 07:28 AM
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It is a gamble. Any little delay (weather, mechanical, traffic) in your incoming flight can make it difficult to make the connection. We almost missed a connecting flight to Germany last year. We literally ran through the airport and got to the departure gate just as they were starting to close the door. Our luggage didn't make it until a day after we arrived.
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Old Oct 1st, 2003, 08:14 AM
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Last February we had an 80 minute connection time at lhr to cdg and it was nowhere near enough. We purchased thru Orbitz and didn't realize the problem until after the purchase was made. Orbitz would do nothing about it. We missed connecting flights in both directions. It was a huge mess. We did get credit equivalent to our tickets from Orbitz after a long "negotiation" period with them.
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Old Oct 1st, 2003, 08:23 AM
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You will probably make the connecting flights, but your luggage won't. It catches up with you in about 24 hours. I normally pack a change of clothes and some toiletries in my carry-on.

But, it is still a pain when you get to your final destination, wait for all the luggage to come out, and then go stand in line with the others whose luggage missed the flight to report it missing.
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Old Oct 1st, 2003, 03:08 PM
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And then sometimes since the luggage doesn't always have to negotiate long hallways, people in your way, people not moving out of the plane fast enough, etc.,etc., your luggage will arrive without you. Just kick back and get ready for an adventure and chalk it up to the beloved "local culture" that exists at the airport you may be delayed in.
 
Old Oct 1st, 2003, 05:26 PM
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I just find it hard to believe that the ticketing people haven't built minimum and reasonable layover times into the software that puts together flights. It could really screw you up if you're not paying attention when booking.

How do we find out which airlines have baggage transfer agreements? That might be nice to know when putting a trip together.

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Old Oct 1st, 2003, 06:47 PM
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I would not schedule any change of flights at Charles De Gaulle airport that had less than 2 hours of interconnect time.

If you have to change between T1 and T2, I am not sure that 2 hours on paper is enough. Even within T2 itself, if you have to change buildings, it is just about like changing terminals.
T2 now has 6 Halls, A through F.
If, for example, you had to get from Hall F to Hall A, it is quite a trek.

I cannot comment on Milan.
Newark can be messy as well. With so many flights being late, particularly international ones, I would not run the risk of a 45 minutes connect time.
If you are arriving from overseas, remember that you have to get through passport control and possibly even go through security AGAIN, which I find rediculous. And, you almost always have to go from the international arrival hall to another concourse.

You are wise to be concerned. I got burned this summer both going and coming even though I had an hour or more of connect time. Of course all the connect time in the world does no good if the flight is cancelled.

One thing that frequent fliers are slowly catching onto is the practice of many airlines of simpling cancelling flights that are less than 75% full.
That of course leaves passengers scrambling. But it is a fact of life even if the airlines deny it.

Another problem is that airlines have fewer servicable aircraft in their inventory. If a big airliner gets shut down for maintenance, like what happened to me recently on a flight to Ireland, we were lucky to leave 4 hours late.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 08:33 AM
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As I mentioned previously, there is a system in place which determines "legal" connections between airlines, terminals, etc. However, they are not always accurate and unfortionately it takes experience, either yours or others such as here, to tell you if something is doable or not. Paris CDG is notorious for misconnections and Air France doesn't have the best customer service for assisting you either. DFW is also a difficult connecting point. These are only a couple. To be safe, determine if your last connecting flight is the last flight of the day to your destination. If it is, request an earlier flight to make it so you have an added buffer. I am having to make a connection btwx, AirTran and Aer Lingus in Baltimore. I already know they will not transfer my luggage so rather than accept the offered 2 hour layover, I have elected for 4 hours. Yes, it is inconvenient, but as opposed to missing the only flight offered on Aer Lingus; I will gladly sacrifice. If you are booking a flight btwx. multiple airlines, wouldn't hurt to call one or even both to determine if they have baggage agreement. Best to call both; with so many new agents working for the airlines; very simple for one to say yes without verifying it. Then you are really stuck. Good luck.
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