We’ve all done it: sprinted through the airport, sweating as we slalom through the Auntie Anne’s and Hudson News lines while lugging a roller bag, cursing ourselves for booking such a tight connection (or whatever delay put us in that scenario). While some responsibility rests on the individual, experts point to the fact that many airlines let you book flights with such quick layovers as a possible contributing factor.
Quick door-to-door times may sound appealing, but experts warn against booking them because they leave little room for error.
Here’s how airlines, not government agencies, decide how much time you need to pass between flights. And the advice of experts on things to think about while purchasing airline tickets.
When do you have to be “connected” legally?
No uniform requirement exists for minimum connection times in the United States. Connecting flight itineraries may be offered by airlines with any amount of time allotted between flights that the airline deems appropriate.
What factors into deciding how long a link needs to be?
Airlines for America, the trade group that represents the vast majority of U.S. airlines, claims that while determining their own minimum connection requirements, airlines take into account criteria such as airport layout, typical boarding time, and flight duration.
The organisation said in a statement to USA TODAY, “Carriers have internal rules that are specific to each airport depending on terminal layout, concourses for inbound and connecting flights, and whether itinerary is domestic to international, international to domestic, international to international, or domestic to domestic.” The average time it takes to board a connecting flight and the average time it takes to deplane from an arriving flight are also taken into account. The reservation systems of the airlines will not construct a route that does not adhere to their required minimum connection times.
However, many travel agents claim that the itineraries their clients are given as a result of following such rules aren’t always optimal.
“On average, 35 minutes is what they consider a legal connection,” said Loulu Lima, founder of the Texas-based travel service Book Here Give Here. She clarified that “legal” in this context implies “in line with the airline’s policies,” but added that this is often not enough time, particularly if your first flight is delayed or even if it ends up taking longer to taxi to the gate than expected.
Because “the chances of you missing your connection are so high,” Lima added, “I literally have a waiver that clients have to sign if they want that.” To paraphrase, “I don’t want to be responsible for that.”
When should I try to make a connection?
There are many factors to consider when arranging connecting flights, but travel agents recommend at least two to three hours for international routes and 60 to 90 minutes for local ones.
Let’s think about it from your perspective: how fast can you walk, and how much are you ready to push yourself? How long was the initial flight planned for? … Is a wheelchair required? … But what if you’re a family taking a trip where you’ll need your pram for your infant? What Lima said. “There are a lot of factors to consider when analysing relationships.”
If you miss your connection, here’s what to do
Lima advised that passengers prepare thoroughly for their flights and consider all possible outcomes in advance.
It is recommended that you research alternative flight options before contacting customer care or attempting to rebook your travel via the airline’s website or app.
According to Lima, you can still find out what flights are accessible by using applications like Flightradar24 and FlightAware, even if they don’t appear on your airline’s website.
If this ever occurs to you, here’s what I recommend you do,” I tell my clients. You want to have a dialogue with the airline’s customer service and a gate agent, and you want to know, how can you help me? “Don’t get agitated,” she pleaded. “I have to instruct in tolerance. Therapy entails the barest of connections.