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Old 05-28-2009, 06:13 PM   #1
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Flight layovers - what is too short?

I have to book an upcoming flight. With all the 1-stop flight these days, what is "too short" of a layover? I see a lot of +/- 50 minute layovers, with a plane switch. Is this cutting it too close to make the 2nd flight?

My husband really doesn't want the 50 minute layover, but I don't want the 2+ hour layover!

What's better? Thanks, everyone!
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:41 PM   #2
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Depends upon the airline and airport. But if the airline schedules it, they are pretty darn sure you can make. They don't want you to miss your flight any more than you do.

50 minutes is almost always enough time - even for "tough" transfers like Delta in Atlanta. Unless you have to take a bus between terminals, I wouldn't worry about it. Better (in my book at least) than 2 hours, that's for sure.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:23 PM   #3
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I just booked a 33 minute connection in Atlanta with Airtran for October. If our flight is on time, we should make it but it will be close. I actually called Airtran and asked them if it was a "legal" connection and they said it was. The minimum in Atlanta is 28 or 26 minutes (I forget which she said). I agree with the previous poster - the airline doesn't want you to miss your connection either. A couple times, Airtran has held a flight for us or for another connecting flight.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:40 PM   #4
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Good point about them not wanting me to miss either. Its a 50 minute layover in Detroit, on Delta. I think I'm going to go with it. We also had the choice of a 50 minute layover in Washington with American, so that may still be an option, too.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:49 PM   #5
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We have done a 45 minute layover in Detroit. Our first flight left 20minutes late and our plane was still waiting for us in Detroit.
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:12 PM   #6
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A lot of it depends on the airline and airport where you have to change planes. As a general rule I will not book a ticket with less than 45 minutes. I try to avoid changing planes during the winter in Chicago and avoid Atlanta at all costs. That airport is a vortex of despair every time I go through there. This last April was the first time I had things go smoothly there. 45 minutes in Atlanta is pushing it since it can be a long trip between gates.

I was recently talking to a travel agent that does some work for me and she said that many airlines had lowered the minimum amount of time required between flights since it allowed them to book more tickets. The problem is that once you miss a connection there is no guaranty there will be space on the next flight, and since delays are always blamed on air traffic or weather, not on the airline your left footing the bill for food/lodging if you're stuck overnight.

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Old 05-28-2009, 08:28 PM   #7
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50 minutes should be ample time as long as there isn't a delay somewhere (either leaving your home or arriving at DTW). I've made it from K18 to G14 in ORD in 20 minutes before, but much prefer a minimum of 1 hr just in case.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:36 PM   #8
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My worry is never if I will make it to the flight, its if my luggage will make it. We have done 50 minutes in Atlanta and it worked out fine....the subway is fast.
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:39 AM   #9
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Anything under 30 min.
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:42 AM   #10
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We have a flight tomorrow from IND to MCO, with about a 40 minute layover/plane change in MSP on NWA. I trust NWA about as far as I can throw a plane. We started out with a non-stop that left about 8am and arrived about 10am. This one leaves at 9am or so, and get to MCO about 3pm or so. I have a generally skeptical attitude about the whole situation. This was the least bad of several horrible alternatives, including one totally hare-brained scheme of changing planes in NYC--one plane at LaGuardia, and the other at Kennedy airport.

Using my most recent airline experience in March with AA, I am certainly packing enough in my carryon to keep us going at least 1-2 days--PJ's, toothbrush, hair care appliances, deodorant, 2 changes of day clothes. That time, we had at least a 60 minute layover in DFW going to SNA. Because of delays in IND taking off, we just barely got to the gate while the plane to SNA was boarding. Our bags didn't make it. At SNA, they wouldn't even take our information until the next plane arrived from DFW, because according to their records, our bags were on that plane! They were, but, I sure as heck am not going to wait at MCO for the next plane from MSP to arrive to get our bags. The good folks at baggage claim are going to get an earful from this perimenopausal, hormonally deranged lady, which the last time I complained, got me an extra 7000 frequent flyer miles just to get me off their case. (Which would be essentially worthless, since, I don't intend to use NWA again in the foreseeable future).
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:44 AM   #11
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How fast can you run? LOL! Seriously, anything less than 45-50 minutes is too close for me personally. If your first flight is late, typically the airline isn't going to hold the 2nd flight unless a large amount of pax from the first flight are meant to be on the 2nd one. Then you may have to wait around for the next flight out. In smaller airports a short connection time may not be as bad as in a large airport like Atlanta or O'Hare.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:34 AM   #12
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Don't the airlines require you to be at the gate 10 minutes before boarding? So a one hour layover means you must be at the gate in 50 minutes.
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:42 PM   #13
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We booked on American and had a 53 minute layover. Three months later, they changed us to a later second flight saying the time between was too close. I went on the website and they were still selling that combination of flight. I pointed this out but they refused to move me back. We had booked early and got good seats with our family of 5 together and now had less desirable seats and not together. They have done it several times to family and friends, so I would not book under an hour with them.
I don't know if other airlines do this, but when I pick flights from their choices, that is what I want and do not appreciate their changing me.
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Old 05-30-2009, 01:01 AM   #14
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We had a 52 min layover in Atlanta with AirTran and they switched gates on us and we had to back track a bit to get to the right gate. We still waited at the gate to get on the plane.

This time we only have a 35 min layover in Denver with Southwest.
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:29 AM   #15
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If it's a 50 minute layover in Washington, that's not bad. I've done 35 minutes barely had to walk to get to my next gate. But washington always seems to have a lot of delays everytime I fly through there. I think 50 minutes at Detroit or Washington is plenty of time. Atlanta or Chicago? No
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