Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trip Planning Mistake - Allowing Too Little Time Between Flights

Airlines have what they call "legal" connection time between flights at various airports. So when you book a flight with a connection, itinerary options you are given follow those rules, leaving you 20 to 30 minutes for changing planes in airports like Atlanta and Chicago.

Sometimes it can work out OK. Flight times are padded to allow airlines some leeway, ensuring that they arrive "on-time," keeping their on-time performance numbers up, so they arrive early. But one way they do that is by shutting the gate early. I've been on several flights that have pushed away from the gate five minutes early. So even if you arrive early, your connecting flight may be departing early.

Allow at least an hour between connecting domestic flights and two hours between connecting international flights. Allow even more time if you have to change terminals, such as from one receiving international flights to one handling domestic flights.

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