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Old 03-26-2013, 01:53 PM   #1
dvcdisney
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Connecting Through IAD or ORD?

Hi. We will be going to the West Coast this summer. I have a choice between two flights. I have been researching and researching...I have read so many reviews. But not many that I've found pertains to my situation.

We are flying from YHZ (Halifax, Canada) to SAN. Please let me know which flight I should choose:
1. United - connection is a little over 3 hrs in ORD
2. United - connection is a little over 1hr in IAD

My main concern is the connection time and location. We have never been to either ORD or IAD. I'm reading bad reviews for both. Sometimes, it's quite overwhelming.

So, basically, which flight would provide me with a better connection experience (ie. making the connection, are the gates too far apart to make a the connection etc).

Any suggestions would be VERY much appreciated.

Thanks.

Last edited by dvcdisney; 03-26-2013 at 02:09 PM. Reason: made a mistake in airline
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:04 PM   #2
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I'd go with the 1 hour connection at IAD. Most likely you won't have to change terminals in either airport, if the airline is the same. However, Dulles is a much smaller airport than O'Hare, and you should have no problem with over an hour making the connection, but you also won't have to sit for 3 hours, like you would at O'Hare.

Most of the complaints I've seen about Dulles (and one I agree with) is that it's so far away from DC. But if it's only a connection for you, you should be okay.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:25 PM   #3
dvcdisney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grimley1968 View Post
I'd go with the 1 hour connection at IAD. Most likely you won't have to change terminals in either airport, if the airline is the same. However, Dulles is a much smaller airport than O'Hare, and you should have no problem with over an hour making the connection, but you also won't have to sit for 3 hours, like you would at O'Hare.

Most of the complaints I've seen about Dulles (and one I agree with) is that it's so far away from DC. But if it's only a connection for you, you should be okay.
Thanks. So, can I assume that the United flight from YHZ will arrive in the same terminal as the United flight to SAN at IAD so I don't need to worry about travelling to another terminal? Or is there a possibility that I need to transfer terminals?

Is there a way to find out if my flight arrival flight is in the same terminal as my departure flight? Sorry, I've never flown with United and I've heard they could be in different terminals in airports.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dvcdisney View Post
Thanks. So, can I assume that the United flight from YHZ will arrive in the same terminal as the United flight to SAN at IAD so I don't need to worry about travelling to another terminal? Or is there a possibility that I need to transfer terminals?

Is there a way to find out if my flight arrival flight is in the same terminal as my departure flight? Sorry, I've never flown with United and I've heard they could be in different terminals in airports.
Please don't assume they'd be in the same terminal. I'd check with the United website, and maybe the airports' websites as well, to make that determination. Normal procedure is to have an airline's flights all come to one terminal (at least at small and medium-sized airports), but some airports are just too busy to make that happen. I would think IAD would be far less busy than ORD, but again, please don't assume that there wouldn't be a terminal change without researching it.

But if both airports have both legs of your flights in the same terminal, I'd go with the flight that connects at IAD, just because it involves less waiting.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:15 PM   #5
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I would chose IAD over ORD any day.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by grimley1968 View Post
Please don't assume they'd be in the same terminal. I'd check with the United website, and maybe the airports' websites as well, to make that determination. Normal procedure is to have an airline's flights all come to one terminal (at least at small and medium-sized airports), but some airports are just too busy to make that happen. I would think IAD would be far less busy than ORD, but again, please don't assume that there wouldn't be a terminal change without researching it.

But if both airports have both legs of your flights in the same terminal, I'd go with the flight that connects at IAD, just because it involves less waiting.
I guess that's why I asked the question. I don't want to assume, but in having done some research, I'm still unable to figure out if the flights will be in the same terminals. For instance, my flight is coming from Canada, but we would have cleared customs/immigration in YHZ, so technically, we should be arriving as a domestic flight. I've read that United can be in terminals A, C and D in IAD. I don't want to have to travel between terminals since that is one of the issues I've read about.

Is there any way to narrow this down? Is there a website I can check in order to find out which gate that specific flight is scheduled to arrive and which gate the other one will be departing?

I've checked the IAD website and United. Perhaps I missed it since I've been going through numerous websites.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvcdisney View Post
I guess that's why I asked the question. I don't want to assume, but in having done some research, I'm still unable to figure out if the flights will be in the same terminals. For instance, my flight is coming from Canada, but we would have cleared customs/immigration in YHZ, so technically, we should be arriving as a domestic flight. I've read that United can be in terminals A, C and D in IAD. I don't want to have to travel between terminals since that is one of the issues I've read about.

Is there any way to narrow this down? Is there a website I can check in order to find out which gate that specific flight is scheduled to arrive and which gate the other one will be departing?

I've checked the IAD website and United. Perhaps I missed it since I've been going through numerous websites.
You can try http://flightaware.com. I tried, for instance searching for flights on United from IAD to SAN, and unless I missed something it showed schedules only for something like 48 hours in the future, as well as recently completed flights for several days. It did show the scheduled gates of departure and arrival.

Keep in mind, though, that flights can have their arrival gates changed, depending on what ground control has to do to keep the taxiways cleared.

But this could be useful if you find your flight number and look it up for the next couple of days. If the gate information is the same on each day, there is at least a higher likelihood that they'd try to use the same gates on the actual day of your flight.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:02 PM   #8
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You can try http://flightaware.com. I tried, for instance searching for flights on United from IAD to SAN, and unless I missed something it showed schedules only for something like 48 hours in the future, as well as recently completed flights for several days. It did show the scheduled gates of departure and arrival.

Keep in mind, though, that flights can have their arrival gates changed, depending on what ground control has to do to keep the taxiways cleared.

But this could be useful if you find your flight number and look it up for the next couple of days. If the gate information is the same on each day, there is at least a higher likelihood that they'd try to use the same gates on the actual day of your flight.
Thanks for the link and your help. I check something similar to this website, it is also limited in terms of how far ahead I can check. But it does give me an idea of which gates.

And yes, I've had enough gate changes in my limited experience in flying that I'm always assuming that the gates will change. But I have never had an issue where the terminals have changed and that's what I'm concerned about. But I guess that's part of flying. I'm just one who try to alleviate possible issues as much as I can.

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Old 03-26-2013, 04:07 PM   #9
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I would chose IAD over ORD any day.
Would you mind letting me know why?

I have read so many reviews and instead of helping, it has essentially confused me even more. It looks there is just as many who prefer IAD as those who prefer ORD. But, the complaints are not similar to my issues, so it's difficult to know which opinion would be helpful for me.

Since I'm worried about having to connect and having enough time to connect in either of these airports, I try to focus my inquiry on that.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dvcdisney View Post
Would you mind letting me know why?

I have read so many reviews and instead of helping, it has essentially confused me even more. It looks there is just as many who prefer IAD as those who prefer ORD. But, the complaints are not similar to my issues, so it's difficult to know which opinion would be helpful for me.

Since I'm worried about having to connect and having enough time to connect in either of these airports, I try to focus my inquiry on that.
IAD is a MUCH smaller airport and less busy than ORD. Even if you had to change terminals, it's likely an hour plus is plenty of time to do it, and you'll run into far fewer people in the airport at the same time. Dulles (IAD) is considered to be the "out of the way" airport for people in DC, compared to National (Reagan) Airport, while O'Hare (ORD) is considered to be the primary airport in Chicago (Midway in Chicago is much smaller and less busy, though it serves Southwest).
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:16 PM   #11
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The last time I flew out of Canada, I went through customs before I left, is that the case for you as well? If not, then you would almost have to do Chicago vs Dulles.

I have been to either airport often and both have their "issues". I'd go with the longer layover just to be safe if I was traveling w/ my family. If I was solo, I'd do the shorter layover. Too many times a minor "hiccup" can eat an entire 1 hour layover.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:33 PM   #12
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Oh, see, I love O'Hare. Always have since the first time I connected there as an 18 year old on a redeye flight from Seattle to Miami. I love the people-watching, the window-shopping. I think the United terminal(s) are lovely especially in the daytime especially if it's sunny. I love getting a caprese panini from Brioche Doree if I'm in the right place, or a Starbucks and a bagel sandwich if I'm in the wrong area for BD. There was a recreation of a dinosaur skeleton in the area where we were last trip!

A nice long layover also means you have the time to relax. Or if your first flight ran late it gives a nice buffer. Sure it can be boring to wait the whole time, but in a nice busy airport it's also exciting and fun. We include travel days in the food&souvenir budget, so we're never nickel-and-diming ourselves at airports.

But I love airports. So take that into account with my opinion.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:39 PM   #13
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I like Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) better than Washington Dulles (IAD) because the food is better at ORD.

ORD is a bigger airport than IAD because it has American's huge Midwest hub in addition to United's huge Midwest hub -- but if your flight is entirely on United and United Express, you can safely ignore that aspect of ORD.

United has a huge footprint with multiple concourses at both airports:

Chicago-O'Hare (ORD): http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont.../maps/ord.aspx

Washington Dulles (IAD): http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont.../maps/iad.aspx

The good news is that you'll go through U.S. Customs & Border Protection pre-clearance at YHZ before you depart, so you'll arrive at ORD or IAD as if you were on an all-domestic U.S. itinerary:

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/c..._locations.xml

The United Express regional jets (such as to/from YHZ) typically use Concourse A at IAD and Concourses C and F at ORD. The United mainline jets (such as to/from SAN) can use any of the United gates at any of the United concourses, except for gates that are only designed for regional jets.

At either IAD or ORD, it's likely that you'll have go from one concourse to another. At ORD, it's possible to walk between all United and United Express Gates. At IAD, getting between some concourse requires waiting for transit. Both airports can require a lot of walking depending on your gates. ORD makes extensive use of moving walkways, but, even so, there can a lot of walking.

At either IAD or ORD, all United and United Express gates are within the same secure side, so you won't have to exit and re-clear security at either airport.

Shorter connections increase the chance of missing the second late if the first leg is behind schedule. If it's critical to get to your final destination on time, such as when you're taking a cruise, a longer connection increases the likelihood that you'll successfully board the second leg.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:01 PM   #14
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IAD is a MUCH smaller airport and less busy than ORD. Even if you had to change terminals, it's likely an hour plus is plenty of time to do it, and you'll run into far fewer people in the airport at the same time. Dulles (IAD) is considered to be the "out of the way" airport for people in DC, compared to National (Reagan) Airport, while O'Hare (ORD) is considered to be the primary airport in Chicago (Midway in Chicago is much smaller and less busy, though it serves Southwest).
Honestly, I would prefer a smaller airport to connect in since all I need to do is go from one gate to the other. I don't need all the "bells and whistles" of larger airports to occupy my time. But once I started reading the reviews, I was concerned about both airports.

I really appreciate your suggests. I think I just need some type of perspective.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:04 PM   #15
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The last time I flew out of Canada, I went through customs before I left, is that the case for you as well? If not, then you would almost have to do Chicago vs Dulles.

I have been to either airport often and both have their "issues". I'd go with the longer layover just to be safe if I was traveling w/ my family. If I was solo, I'd do the shorter layover. Too many times a minor "hiccup" can eat an entire 1 hour layover.
Yes, I will be going through customs before leaving YHZ, which I much prefer. So I would only need to go from one gate to the other.

Thank you for your suggestion.
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