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If planning a trip to Mexico, be very wary of making connections on Continental at their Houston hub.

If planning a trip to Mexico, be very wary of making connections on Continental at their Houston hub.

Nov 17th, 2003, 05:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,449
If planning a trip to Mexico, be very wary of making connections on Continental at their Houston hub.

Not sure who devised their recent schedule on connecting flights that originate in Mexico, but they are either a sadist or have spent the last two years under a rock. We had an 1:15 minute connection last night on a flight that originated in Acapulco. In this short amount of time, we needed to go through immigration (2 minutes), claim our luggage (40 minutes, despite the Elite tags on all 4 bags), wait at customs (5 minutes), clear security/passport check-point 1 (1 minute), go through security screening (10 minutes) sprint to gate across 2 concourses 4 minutes. We managed to avoid the long baggage recheck only because we paid a skycap to help with our bags. Without that, add another 10 minutes.

To be fair, flight operations were completely screwed up because of a thunderstorm. However, we landed at 6:15. Our flight was scheduled to arrive at 5:45 with a 7:00 p.m. departure to Newark. Fortunately, our Newark flight was delayed until 7:30. Essentially, though we had the same 75 minutes, just pushed back a bit.

The young lady sitting next to me on the plane had a scheduled 52 minute connection for her flight to Baltimore.

To make matters even more fun, Continental apparently sticks to the "give your seat away if you aren't at the gate 20 minutes beforehand" rule, even if you're given very little time to clear immigration. As we were traveling with 2 young children, they were obligated to have the two standby passenger's who were given our seats leave the plane. Otherwise, we would have spent last night at a Houston airport hotel.

The blame of course lies with me for not thinking through the asinine logistics before confirming my reservation. I won't make the same mistake with Continental twice. Even with pristine weather, the connection doesn't leave much time for a bathroom stop, given the increased level of security.
Ryan is offline  
Nov 18th, 2003, 04:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 909
Unfortunateley, as the number of flights dwindle connentions get worse . Every time I go to Mexico on Continetal or any other airline, I have to run like crazy to get through everything in under an hour, or converseley, wait 5-6 hours as has been the norm in Mexico City for me of late. I agree its a pain, but I don't think it will change ay time soon.
Dude is offline  
Nov 18th, 2003, 12:19 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
Don't single out Continental. This type of thing has happened with every airline I have ever taken. The problem is the reservations clerk, not the airline. Reservations staff often do not realize the true amount of time needed for connections. They think they are being helpful by minimizing the amount of time the customer has to spend waiting around in the airport.

Before making the reservation, it is up to the customer to review all departure times, and insist the clerk book a later flight, even if it means spending several hours at the airport (and it often does mean this), using a different airline, or changing the travel itinerary.
JoyceL is offline  
Nov 18th, 2003, 01:14 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,449
The problem is the airline. IF they are aware that their reservations clerks are incapable of following the minimum connection rules, why do they even give them the ability to overide them?

Second, the airline scheduling department has for whatever reason, made the departure times on these flights to close to the departure times on a multitude of other cities.

In my case, I was heading from 1 hub to another. You would think, given it is the most populous region in our country, I wouldn't have been the first one to connect in Houston on a flight to New York, after originating in Mexico.

Ryan is offline  
Nov 18th, 2003, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 96
Whether you like it or not, the reality of air travel nowadays is that delays are common. It is also reality that no airline can control weather-related delays, or how long the lines are at Customs, or how long the lines are at the security gates, or how great the distances are between terminals and concourses.

You have three choices in dealing with these realities. You can choose not fly at all (this is the folding-the-cards option). You can arrange (or allow a travel agent or reservation clerk to arrange for you)connecting times that are cutting it very close, in hopes that you won't have to wait in the airport a long time (this is the placing a long bet option). Or you can insist on adequate connecting times when making reservations, which results in longer waits at the airport but ensures that you will make your connection with time to spare (this is the playing it safe option).

You made your choice (the long bet), and you almost lost your shirt (managed to make the flight but apparently shortened your life by several years from the stress and resentment). But honestly, what were you expecting? - accepting a 1 hour and 15 minute connecting time on an international flight, where you had to go through customs, go back through security, AND had to deal with small children as well?
Really, with the odds that you chose to play, instead of complaining you should be happy that you made the flight at all.
resipsaloquitur is offline  
Nov 19th, 2003, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
My point was that this problem is industry-wide. It affects all airlines, not just Continental.

Reservation clerks always try to book me on connecting flights that leave too little time for making the transfer. I always insist on being booked on a later flight instead, even though this means spending more time in the airport. This has happened with every airline I have ever used.
JoyceL is offline  

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