In today’s airline travel world, there are fewer and fewer non-stop flights with the non-stop flights costing more money. As a result, we are all changing planes more often when crossing the country. Obviously, this can make for more and more ‘unpleasant’ situations. If this is a new reality, how can we best prevent these situations?
First, of course is to ante up and purchase the non-stop flights when they are available. But if we have no choice, then what? Allow lots of time. Most of the airlines plan for very tight connections as it saves them time and money. Airplanes do not make money sitting at the gate! Since most of the planes are very full, if you miss your connecting flight you can be stuck for awhile. Allow for lots of time. When I look at connections in major airports like Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas I quickly check for the next connecting flight. I know you (we) all want to get to our destination as quickly as possible but missing a flight halfway and then the next flight is already sold out makes for one for those situations! So when I suggest planning on taking the next flight that allows for two hours instead of one for connections, please take it! If you are carrying on your luggage and you get to the close connection gate, ask to go standby. But knowing you have a seat and will make the next flight is a very comforting feeling when flying on its own can be so uncomfortable.
Second, what to do when your flight is late and you expect to miss your connection? Call or email me straight away! My client Doug was coming home from Europe when he knew his Chicago connection was going to be very tight. He emailed and asked me to confirm him on the next flight from Chicago to Madison. I did and United Airlines did not cancel the original. Now that was a nice service. Here is what Doug wrote after he arrived home……
“Thanks Harriet. I made the earlier flight and set a new personal record today in O’Hare. It was nuts. The incoming flight arrived at the last gate in terminal 5 at ORD at 2:44 pm and the departing flight was gate C27 in terminal 1 departing at 3:16 pm.
I made it gate to gate in 14 mins.
All the way down terminal 5, through customs, up to the train, train from terminal 5 to 1, across bridges, through security, halfway down terminal B, the entire underground connecting terminals B and C, then halfway down terminal 6. With luggage…
I have done lots of running but today was special!
Those of you that know, the Chicago airport can really appreciate this story and obviously the airport was not very busy! I do not run through airports… so I allow the time! On international flights, especially on the flight out I usually allow 3 – 4 hours to connect in huge airports like London, Paris or Frankfurt. So call me and listen … my clients tell me the stories.. it may not happen to you, but let us make sure you never get stuck!