Baggage & Missed Plane Connection Questions

Old Aug 20th, 2014, 02:19 PM
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Baggage & Missed Plane Connection Questions

I don't fly often so I am hoping the more experienced flyers who post here can help. I am planning a 15-day trip and hoping to avoid checking any bags because I am concerned about it catching up with us if we miss connections. We'll do laundry a couple times.

On the way out, we're with Delta, changing planes in Minneapolis/St. Paul (tight connection), landing in Spokane, staying one night 50 minutes east in Couer d'Alene, one night 4.5 hours east of that on the west side of Glacier National Park and three nights two hours from that, on the east side of Glacier before moving on to Missoula for a night, Yellowstone, etc.

The return trip, with Southwest, begins in Boise and we change planes in Denver, but I'm less concerned about delayed luggage then because we'll easily be found at home.

We will each have a carryon, wear coats and use the pockets, and I'll have a larger purse (not huge) to fill as well.

Could my husband use a small backpack (not stuffed) as a personal item besides his carryon bag? it would easily fit under the seat.

If we miss our connecting flights, do we arrange other flights at the gate or in the terminal? I don't use a Smartphone so that is not an option.

I will post a detailed trip report when we return.

Thank you for your advice.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 02:31 PM
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<Could my husband use a small backpack (not stuffed) as a personal item besides his carryon bag? it would easily fit under the seat.>
Yes. You are permitted one carry on and one personal bag.

On occasion, a plane will be so full that they will offer to gate check your bag for free; you don't have to accept, enough other people usually will. But if they don't, or if your bag won't fit in the overhead, the airline can force you to gate check your suitcase. It will be placed on the same flight with you.

<If we miss our connecting flights, do we arrange other flights at the gate or in the terminal? I don't use a Smartphone so that is not an option.
At the gate. You do not want to exit the gate area to go out into the terminal, because you will have to go back through security to return to the gates.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 02:45 PM
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IF you miss a connection the gate should direct you where to go. In some airports there are no customer service counters airside and in that case you would HOPE they would re-ticket you at the gate rather than forcing you to actually go to the main ticket counter.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 03:45 PM
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As NewbE said, if you are flying in a small plane or on a full plane, you may be offered the opportunity to (or required to) gate-check your bag. This means that they will tag your bag at the gate and you drop it off in the jetway just before you board the plane. A baggage handler will pick it up right there and put it in the plane you are flying. When you land, you stand and wait in the jetway for the baggage handler to bring you your bag (just a matter of minutes.) Then you continue through the jetway to the airport.

I actually like gate-checking my bag because I don't have to try to wrestle it into an overhead compartment and I know that it will be there as soon as I get off the plane, or within a couple minutes.

If your bag is gate-checked, just make sure to pull out anything you'll want on the flight like snacks, books, magazines, etc. before you give it to the baggage handler.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 04:16 PM
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"If your bag is gate-checked, just make sure to pull out anything you'll want on the flight like snacks, books, magazines, etc. before you give it to the baggage handler."

More important to pull out valuables etc.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 04:43 PM
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If you miss a connection, some airlines will book you on the next departure automatically, some don't. But if you are faced with a really long line, you don't need a smartphone to call the airlines toll free number to rebook. Just FYI: Southwest NEVER puts you on another airline's flight. You have to wait for the next available Southwest seat regardless of how long. Other airlines may put you on another airline's flight. Delta has done that for me once. But only once.

And if you are on a small plane, you may have to gate check your bag whether you want to or not. The deciding factor is usually wheels. But you will usually reclaim in on disembarkation. Still, if you are in a later boarding group, the airline might make you check your bag to your final destination. That's why a change of clothes and toiletries in your personal item is helpful.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 05:36 PM
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With so many changes I would hae my own list of the next outgoing flights so you can tell the gate agent thatyou want to be puton the XX flight - not whatever they choose.

I was gong to Cincy for a short congress on a Thur night and the flight was cancelled due to storms. They rebooked me - without asking on a flight going on Sunday - so I would arrive when the congress was over. Meanwhile I called our coporate travel person and they got me on aother flight that noght - but a different airline. Luckily LGA so the gates were all close together.

Sometimes the people rebooking seem to have NO brains - since my flight from Cincy back to NY was only 2 hours after the arrival of the "new flight" into Cincy THEY had chosen.

Do not let them intimidate you. If you don;t get satisfaction at the desk or the line is long - call the airline while standing in the line.

Oh - and I never book tight connections. And have never had lost or delayed luggage despite many hundreds of flights.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 05:44 PM
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If you miss your connection, call the airline asap. You will be dealing with an agent sitting somewhere in a calm space, unharried by angry passengers shouting at them face to face.

But as said above, many airlines will automatically rebook you on the next available flight.

You may also be able to sign up for text message alerts online before your flight and if there are changes you'd get a text message with the new info.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 08:31 PM
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J62, she said she doesn't have a phone, so calling or receiving texts won't work.

longhorn, sometimes gate checked bags are sent to baggage claim along with all the other luggage; actually, the last 4-5 times we've flown, that's what happened. (We nearly always take them up on the free bag check on the way home.) Not a huge deal, but not as nice as when they used to give them to you at the gate.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 09:02 PM
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Mea culpa.

I saw the part where she said no smartphone but
missed the part about no phone period. Thank you for pointing out my mistake.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 10:14 PM
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No worries! I would never suggest getting a smartphone for just one trip, but your advice is a reminder that they sure do come in handy for travel.
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 04:25 AM
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J62~a smartphone isn't necessary to receive text messages. The Fred Flintstone phones can receive texts!!
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 05:05 AM
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I knew the Fodors community would come through! Thank you all so much for the information. I do have a phone, by the way, but it's only a phone so I couldn't access any apps someone might have suggested. Thanks again.
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 09:19 AM
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Oh, good, well, if you have a phone, make note somewhere of your airline's 800 number, because it really can help to call if rebooking at the gate isn't going well. Good luck! I'm sure it will all go smoothly
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