Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Sea-Tac connection -- need help factoring time

Sea-Tac connection -- need help factoring time

Old Jan 21st, 2009, 03:50 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 30
Sea-Tac connection -- need help factoring time

Hi there. I'm looking to book tickets to London and will be flying through Sea-Tac on a Friday evening between 5 and 7 p.m. We're not checking luggage.

Here's my question: one flight option (the most efficient and least expensive) gives us an hour and fifty-five minutes to make our connection from an Alaska flight (operated by Horizon) to our British Airways flight. Alaska flies into concourses C and D, and Horizon flies into concourses B and C and the South Satellite. So I have no idea where we'll come in. BA flies out of the South Satellite. Assuming the worst, how long would it take to get from concourse C or D to the South Satellite? I know there's a train/shuttle, but if we used that would we have to go through security again?

Ordinarily I would NEVER book an int'l connection with less than two hours between, but since we're not checking baggage and we'd otherwise have to leave a day later, I'm hoping this might work. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
Chelsey is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2009, 04:06 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,832
You won't have to go through security at Seatac if you have to use the shuttle, and the shuttle ride is really short -- just a couple of minutes, and the trains run every few minutes. Shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes or so to get from any gate to any other gate at Seatac.
azzure is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2009, 08:20 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 30
Thank you.
Chelsey is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2009, 07:22 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,727
Where's your Horizon flight coming from? In general the only Horizon flights that use the South Satellite are those that require pax to go to US immigration - meaning typically flights from some Canadian cities where there's no US pre-clearance (which there is in Vancouver, for example, but not Victoria.)

Most likely you'll arrive at a C gate and will want to follow the signs to the train (lower level) for the "S" gates for the BA flight.

You'll have plenty of time provided your Horizon flight is on schedule, hence my asking. Not wanting to be alarmist, but they're not exactly the on-time champions of the world. On busy Fridays things can be a little dicey.

Also note that on Fridays during the winter (until April I believe) BA has a later flight (9 PM) from SEA as well as the early one. After April I think there's only one flight on Fridays, with other days having 2 flights, so depending on your dates you might have a look at taking the later flight, just for belt-and-suspenders planning.
Gardyloo is online now  
Old Jan 22nd, 2009, 07:22 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,333
A couple possibilities...

first I disagree with the above time estimate. If you have to change terminals & take the subway out to international departures, no way can you deplane your first flight, get up into that part of the airport, our to the next gates, in 15 mins (imho) unless you know the airport already and are ready to run!

Second problem is Alaska/Horizon flights are notoriously late. I'd be nothing unusual for your first flight to be 1 hour late arriving.

Lastly are these two separate tickets? Or on the same ticket? IF you purchased the flights separately, and you miss the 2nd flight, the airline has no obligation to put you on another.
suze is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2009, 05:43 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 30
Gardloo: we're flying in from Walla Walla on a smaller puddle-jumper. I know the flight always takes off on time (I live under its flight pattern), but of course that's no guarantee that it would land on time. And yeah, you're right about Friday afternoon flights being dicey. We're going in May, so bummer about not taking a later BA flight to London. We'd have to wait 'til the next day if we miss our connection.

Suze: You make a good point -- I always subtract an hour in connections for deplaning/boarding. I think azzure was just talking about gate-to-gate time. As you mentioned, we are looking at the possibility of having to book these flights separately owing to the inadequate connection time. But I'm not eager to do that, for the reasons you mentioned. Thanks for your advice!

We do have an extra day built into our schedule, but I'd rather not spend it at SEA. Hmm. Still pondering this one....
Chelsey is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 09:11 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,333
Oh, especially since it is two separate tickets, I would definitely build in more time...

To miss your British Air flight because of a snafu with Horizon would be pretty bad (because of them being two tickets you'd be just plain out of luck and a lot of money!).
suze is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2009, 09:59 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,727
And yeah, you're right about Friday afternoon flights being dicey. We're going in May, so bummer about not taking a later BA flight to London. We'd have to wait 'til the next day if we miss our connection.

I'm assuming taking an earlier flight from ALW or Pasco (PSC) is out of the question?

I didn't see where it's on two separate tickets; if it's on one (e.g. frequent flyer redemptions, or purchased through Alaska) you'd supposedly be "protected" in the event of a mis-connect. That might help with the expense risk, but not with the prospect of losing a day.

One other option (which I don't recommend but should mention) is that BA have a nonstop flight from Vancouver BC to London that leaves 2 hours later than the Seattle flight. From ALW or PSC that would involve a connection (Horizon - Horizon) at SEA but might add a little leeway.

The reason I don't especially recommend it is that you run the risk of compounding Horizon-induced delays, and having personally had to run (literally - not a pretty sight) through Vancouver airport recently to make the BA flight after a late Horizon arrival, I would strongly urge taking an earlier plane, or going a day later and using the second BA flight.
Gardyloo is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2009, 04:34 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 30
Thanks, Gardyloo. For whatever reason, I can't find flights that connect me to that BA flight out of Vancouver. Anyway, it's not big a deal. I was talking to my DH about our options and the feedback I got here and, being the careful type, he said he'll just take an extra half-day off work and we'll fly out earlier on Friday. We'd kind of been hoping to avoid that since his vacation schedule is overbooked this year, but I really don't want to miss our time in London.

Next on my list of things to discover: ways to kill six hours of time at SEA. Woo. Thanks for all your help!
Chelsey is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2009, 08:05 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,333
There's alot worse airports to be stuck in. SeaTac's had a real nice make-over in the past few years. It's about as pleasant as an airport can get (in my humble local opinion!).

suze is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
1965
Air Travel
7
Aug 10th, 2018 09:29 PM
Buffy9297
Air Travel
19
Jun 11th, 2013 04:34 AM
taitai
Air Travel
14
Oct 1st, 2009 09:05 AM
wandal2
Europe
16
Jul 4th, 2007 02:08 PM
kurish
Mexico & Central America
4
May 17th, 2007 11:59 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO