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FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Section - [2-10] Missed Connections

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If you ever miss a connection because your plane was late and the
lines at the service desk are very long (e.g., everybody else on that
flight needs rebooking), call the airline's 800 number. Sometimes
they'll let you rebook because of a missed connection over the phone.
You may still have to pick up the flight coupon at the service desk
(though sometimes you'll be able to get it at the gate), but at least
you'll make the next flight. If you wait on the line, you may not make
the next flight if everybody in front of you is also waiting for the
next flight, or the next flight leaves in a few minutes.

Depending on the airline and the airport, you may be able to be
rebooked on a flight by going directly to the gate. Some airlines will
force you to go to the service desk. (For example, TWA in JFK requires
that all changes go through the service desk.)

If the flight you want to be rebooked on is "full", it may pay to
ask the agents whether upgrading to first class will make a
difference. It'll cost you, but it may save you from being stuck in
the airport for a few hours.

When buying a ticket with a connection, allow enough time to get from
one gate to the next at the connecting airport. The airline computers
have an estimate of the minimum time required to make a connection,
but this isn't always accurate, especially if the gates are at
opposite ends of the airport, or you're seated at the tail of the
plane. The connection times are based on the arriving and departing
airline, whether the flight is international or domestic, and other
factors such as the flight number. The most common connection time for
domestic flights is 45 minutes, which is the default minimum. Flights
on the same airline at adjacent gates, however, may have shorter
connection times. International flights will, of course, have greater
connection times.

With the new on-time rules, airlines are reluctant to hold
flights for passengers coming from connecting flights that are late.
The connection times, of course, do not allow for late flights
(except insofar as there is a small built-in allowance for slight
variations in arrival).

If you're carrying your own baggage, have kids, walk slowly, or want
to take a pit stop at the bathroom, allow yourself extra time the
first time you fly a particular route. Ask your travel agent whether
there will be enough time for you to make the connection, and if they
think it's close, what other flights are available that leave the
connecting city a little later.

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Top Document: FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Previous Document: [2-9] Avoiding Travel Scams
Next Document: [2-11] Getting There Faster

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM