Preparing for travel plans requires organizing skills on what to bring, where to go and how much money is needed in order to enjoy your stay to a certain place.
On the other hand, some travelers may have forgotten to know the nitty gritty on how to get there. This is another dilemma a traveler needs to get the hang of -- travel flight arrangements.
Ideally, it would be a big ease of travel if all flights would be non-stop. However, if you live in Australia, London and other countries with significantly huge airports, that is barely pragmatic.
If a connecting flight is the only option, or the only reasonably priced option, how do you make it as smooth-flowing as possible? How do you make sure you don't miss that connection?
It sounds like a simple enough process but we are sure we aren't the only ones who have found themselves sprinting through an airport to check in their luggage and the like.
Here are some of the things you may need to consider and be aware of to get rid of the connecting flight struggles:
Check airport's minimum connection times online.
Each airport has its own minimum connection times. If you book connecting flights on the same airline, the reservation system is supposed to use this minimum connection time information to determine how much time you will have to change planes.
Airlines are supposed to allow a specific amount of time between connecting flights.
The minimum connection time varies by airport and type of connection (domestic to domestic, or domestic to international, for example).
To determine how much time you'll need to change planes in a particular airport, first look up minimum connection times online.
Consider the factors that can affect connect times before booking:
The general average connect times for domestic flight connections is 30 minutes (possibly too tight) to two hours. However, for international flights, it's one to three hours.
However, we need to be fully aware of the factors that can affect these connect times so that we can consider the same prior booking flights:
- Distance between gates
- Flight delays
- Transfers between different airlines (this means collecting your checked luggage!)
- Travel with babies or toddlers
- Need for a wheelchair or a cart
- Passing through TSA and/or Customs
As much as possible, book travel with the same airlines
If you have booked travel on two different airlines, you will be responsible for deciding how much time to allow between flights.
The airlines don't have to help you resolve flight connection problems if you have not allowed the minimum connection time for your flights and airport.
Do some research about the airport and its terminals
Another factor in determining your ideal layover time involves doing some research into the airports.
Many big cities and hubs have multiple terminals and even airports that require some travel between them. Don't assume that you just have to change gates.
Sometimes there are airport shuttles for cases like this, but often you will need to rely on a taxi or public transportation.
Avoid U.S. hub airports with separate terminals that lack inside-security or "airside" people movers. According to USA Today, the worst airports for this are Boston, Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles and New York JFK.
Give yourself a buffer above what your research tells you. Take into account the time of day you will be switching since rush hour will most likely add to your time.
Avoid the last connection
Avoid booking the last flight of the day out of your connecting airport. The reason is obvious.
Book a connection as early in the day as practical. Clearly, the more "next available" flights, the better your chance of arriving on the day you planned.
Others suggest considering where you sit on the plane matters when you have a tight connection.
Some are suggesting coming up with a baggage plan or even suggesting that direct flights are still the best option.
There are lots of simple, yet sensible, ways of getting a hassle-free connecting flights; what is important is travelers maintain proper planning and organizing of schedules.
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