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John Dec 23rd, 2002 05:30 AM

NWA changes at last minute, now we have a flight time connection crunch - what would you do?
Ok, here's the deal... our flight leaves Minneapolis at 6:00 am (morning flight, excellent shot at being on time, weather permitting). We connect through Memphis, final destination Montego Bay, Jamaica. The time between connections is only 35 minutes. (The last several flights have come in ten minutes early and connection has departed within same concourse.) When I called this morning, I was given the option of having an hour between flights if we connect through Detroit. I stayed with Memphis as the connecting city, my thoughts being that Detroit weather may not be as cooperative as Memphis. I mean the time between flights may be longer, but if the weather is bad, which it often is from what I have heard for Detroit, then it's not worth it anyway. What would you do? I can still change my mind.

Spider Dec 23rd, 2002 05:49 AM

I think you'll be ok. Your early flight out of msp is a good thing, because the earlier the flight the more likely it is to be on time. Also, the airline should be aware of delayed connecting passangers, and they won't let the next flight out if many of the passengers haven't made it yet. <BR><BR>IMO, I despise the Detroit airport, and would avoid it like the plague.<BR><BR>

Jim Rosenberg Dec 23rd, 2002 05:55 AM

I think you can make the connection. Although 35 minutes is short, your early flight out of Minneapolis bodes well for you, since it is later in the day that things tend to get backed up. (For the record, NWA lists 25 minutes as their minimum connect time in Memphis). Would I go for the extra assurance of an hour in Detroit? Probably not. I'm not sure that weather is a greater issue at DTW than MEM statistically, but perhaps someone has more insight on that. Your most likely place for a weather delay would seem to be MSP and that is one place that you obviously can't avoid. I think I would stay the course, as you have. <BR><BR>Happy contrails!

xxx Dec 23rd, 2002 05:57 AM

Spider,<BR>Are you speaking of the brand-new, nice Detroit airport or the awful old one?<BR><BR>You have the early flight time working in your favor, but I wouldn't count on NW holding a flight if you were late unless there are lots of people in your party. The weather in Memphis can also be iffy this time of year. <BR><BR>Another consideration is your backup plan if you miss the flight in Memphis. Are there other flights? Are they full?

Jim Rosenberg Dec 23rd, 2002 06:05 AM

I see I was typing while spider was posting. Spider, I think you are probably thinking of DTW as the OLD DTW. The new World Gateway midfield terminal is extremely easy to use.

Spider Dec 23rd, 2002 07:06 AM

I haven't been throught DTW in a few years, so I guess I haven't seen the new terminal. Did it completely replace the old terminals?<BR><BR>

Jim Rosenberg Dec 23rd, 2002 07:53 AM

Yes, it was a full replacement. The new DTW main terminal is a mile-long, single concourse with 97 gates. It has a tram and people movers to easily go from one end to the other quickly. I would say it is just about as fool-proof as an airport could possibly be. It opened this past February and DTW has gone from being one of the most hated hub airports to one of the easiest to deal with anywhere.

Cindy Dec 23rd, 2002 08:44 AM

You might want to mention to the flight attendants that you have a tight connection. Sometimes they can help you get off the plane faster and any little bit will help.

J Dec 23rd, 2002 09:00 AM

What's the next flight if you miss your connection out of each city? I would choose the city with the earliest next flight in case I miss the connection. And don't check a bag---it may not arrive with you on a 30 minute connection.<BR><BR>Good luck!

Lynn Dec 23rd, 2002 09:46 AM

Best of luck, John. I've never had much luck with flights departing right on time. With such a small window even 10 min. delay could cause trouble. On a return flight we were late to depart and of course late to arrive, even though we ran thru the airport (Charlotte), and our connecting flight was still sitting there with the steps down, they (USAir) would not let us board because we weren't at the gate 10 min. before flight time even though it was the fault of USAir.

John Dec 23rd, 2002 11:25 AM

Thanks all for your suggestions and advice. Outlook is a titch ominous, but what can you do. The luggage issue should be interesting. Suppose I can't talk my wife into not checking any, ha, we'll be in there for 9 days. I did check what the next flight was, and it leaves the following morning, had alot of empty seats. We'll hope for the best, if we end up in Memphis overnight, oh well. It's what you make of it, right? We do have trip insurance, not sure if that will help. <BR><BR>To Lynn---I can't believe USAir wouldn't let you on the flight and the plane was still there.<BR><BR>Jim---thanks for the 25 minute info on the minimum connect time. <BR><BR>Cindy---good suggestion about giving a heads up to the flight attendant. <BR><BR>J---I wish we could just do the carry on thing, might not fly with my wife, no pun intended.<BR><BR>Thanks all, I'll let you know the outcome. Hope your holidays are safe and happy!

xxx Dec 23rd, 2002 01:41 PM

My previous experience is that if you are connecting with the same carrier and your first outbound flight is delayed, that the carrier will hold the second flight for you for a reasonable amount of time.

clc Dec 23rd, 2002 01:52 PM

John:<BR>I came through the Memphis airport today and you should have no problem making a connection if you have at least 15 minutes-all of the NWA flights were in the same terminal and can be reached quickly. We were amazed how quiet and peaceful things were in Memphis after leaving OHare.

Jamaica John Dec 23rd, 2002 02:37 PM

Man, no problem you will be fine chill

John Dec 23rd, 2002 02:57 PM

laughing out loud...<BR>Ok Jamaica John, I'll chill. Thanks for the Memphis airport layout clc. Also I figured this morning when I checked that Memphis is a NWA hub (as well as Mpls.) so that may be helpful. I'll chill now, thanks all for your tips, and for the laughter. It's nice to bounce this off other people. Safe journey everyone.

Marie Dec 23rd, 2002 03:12 PM

I travel from Minneapolis to Florida at least twice a year - connecting through Memphis. First, I want to correct what the previous poster said - all Northwest flights do NOT leave from the same terminal. From what I have observed, it depends on the size of the planes and whether you are connecting to a Northwest &quot;partner&quot; airline (like Northwest Airlink). I have NEVER flown in and out of the same terminal/concourse at Memphis. My usual experience is to be dropped off at the end of one terminal and have to hoof it to the end of another terminal. But it sounds like you have already checked this out and are flying in and out of the same terminal. If this were not the case, I would seriously consider going through Detroit. <BR><BR>Do your darndest to get a seat close to the front of the plane to minimize the time it will take to get off the plane. Northwest flys some of its biggest jets between Mpls and Memphis - and the flights that I have been on recently were VERY full.

Marie Dec 23rd, 2002 03:24 PM

John,<BR><BR>Just re-read my response. I don't mean to alarm you. You should be just fine because your flights are in the same concourse in Memphis and because you are checking out the Memphis airport map in advance so that you know where you are going. All that will help ensure you make your connection.<BR>

Jim Rosenberg Dec 23rd, 2002 03:56 PM

Okay, John, this is your Christmas present so listen up. Get out your Worldperks number and go to:<BR><BR><BR><BR>The registration number is 5075. You'll get 1,000 bonus miles, but you must register by Dec. 31 and complete travel by Feb. 13. Merry Christmas and Happy Contrails. :o)

a Dec 23rd, 2002 05:05 PM

35 minutes in Memphis is more than enough (for connecting - not living). There is always the chance for an ice storm or snow which would close the airport but the risk is small. The airport is quite convenient and not so large that you should have to run. As for baggage I would go ahead and check the bags and carry on only one day of sun and beach clothes. There is no point in becoming a pack-mule on your holiday.<BR><BR>You should note that there is only one flight from Memphis to Montego Bay. If you miss the connection NW may hold you overnight in Memphis. So, I would do a bit of research about other possible connections on which you could be re-routed just in case. For example, you could connect MEM-MIA-MBJ. The more you know the better you can advocate for your position. You should also watch the Weather Channel the day before leaving. If bad weather is forecast for Memphis then you may want to ask NW for a re-route via DTW. Snow or Ice in Memphis will be esaily anticipated 12 hours before you depart MSP.<BR><BR>The new DTW is beautiful. For those who remember only the old DTW you have a pleasant surprise in store.

Marie Dec 23rd, 2002 08:54 PM

John,<BR><BR>One last word of advice - for you and/or anyone else who ever might nned to overnight in Memphis due to airline problems - Don't stay at any of the hotels close to the airport!<BR><BR>I have flown through Memphis probably about 30 times, but only missed my connection once (due to bad weather in Mpls) last March and figured any hotel would be OK, so chose the one that is adjacent to the airport. But I studiply forgot (yes, I knew this somewhere in the back of my mind) that Memphis is the national Federal Express hub. From about 3AM to 5AM, FedEx jets took off every 10-15 minutes. They were so close the windows of the hotel room literally shook. Live and learn, I guess.

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