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Why Do Airlines Offer Flights With 35 Min X-fers?  
User currently offlineJAAlbert From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1491 posts, RR: 1
Posted (1 year 5 months 20 hours ago) and read 10191 times:

So I was perusing some of my favorite websites (Kayak for one) for a flight from SAN to NYC and up pops up an itinerary with a layover in ORD of - 35 minutes (Flights 1096-2240). At first I thought perhaps this is a problem of the travel websites such as Orbitz, Kayak, etc. searching out the absolute lowest fare combinations regardless of feasibility, but I checked out the AA website and it offers the same itinerary! Last year I had the same experience using the UA/CO website searching for a red-eye flight between SAN-EWR. (CO offered a great redeye nonstop now operated by UAL- I love that flight). I recall the site prominently offered an itinerary that transferred through Cleveland at 4:00 a.m. giving only 22 minutes.

I realize I have a bit of responsibility to book flights with sensible transfer times - but really, if an airline offers the itinerary, it must be a representation that it believes it can get you and your checked baggage off one plane and onto the next faster than most folks can run a mile.

Why would an airline set itself up for all the drama that attends passengers missing connections - or arriving at their destination minus their bags? Doesn't the airline have an obligation to rebook or accommodate the passenger who misses his connection due to an impossibly short transfer time?

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1381 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 20 hours ago) and read 10112 times:

Quoting JAAlbert (Thread starter):
Why would an airline set itself up for all the drama

To put it simply, if that's what it takes to entice the sale. Many consumers want their journey's to be as short as possible and many GDS systems prioritize flight combinations with the shortest total duration at the top of the screen. That's a impressively short legal connection in CLE. Yes, the airline would be responsible for you and your baggage.


User currently offlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2026 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 20 hours ago) and read 10047 times:

I book 30-35 minute connections all the time and have never missed one. They are definitely realistic as long as the flights are on-time. I even used to book 20-minute connections with YX in MKE and never missed one of those either.

User currently offlineTVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2309 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9980 times:

So far this year, out of my 64 segments on DL, only a handful have had a connection longer than one hour. This includes connections in MSP, DTW, ATL, and MEM. Most have been 35-40 minutes. I have only missed one due to maintainance leaving TPA. I don't even worry about it anymore.

DL puts enough pad into their times such that if you leave on time, you will probably arrive 5-10 minutes early.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22309 posts, RR: 20
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9966 times:

Quoting JAAlbert (Thread starter):
but really, if an airline offers the itinerary, it must be a representation that it believes it can get you and your checked baggage off one plane and onto the next faster than most folks can run a mile.

Why? If you are talking about UA at ORD, there are no two gates that are more than about a 15 minute walk apart (B banana peel to F14). If everything works, it can be done. Of course, it can get blown too, but I wonder whether that's appreciably more likely on a 35 minute connection than on a 50 or 55 minute connection.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinempdpilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 986 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9965 times:

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 2):

I book 30-35 minute connections all the time and have never missed one. They are definitely realistic as long as the flights are on-time. I even used to book 20-minute connections with YX in MKE and never missed one of those either.

I agree, I book them depending on the airport, airline, and time of year.

Like a 30min connection in ORD in January that might be risky

But a 20min connection in PHX in January is no problem.

Man do miss YX... The good old days!



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlineC767P From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 879 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9938 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 4):
Why? If you are talking about UA at ORD, there are no two gates that are more than about a 15 minute walk apart (B banana peel to F14).

True, the walk from B22 or C1/C21 is only about 15 minutes to F14, once you are off the plane. If you are in the back of a 739, 752, or the worst case, the last row of a 753, there is no way to make a 30 min connection.


User currently onlinepilotfox From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 548 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9930 times:

I was looking at tickets for EWR-TXL a few weeks ago. LH was offering flights EWR-DUS-TXL with a 35 min layover in DUS. I don't know how that would be possible clearing customs and such.

User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22309 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9926 times:

Quoting C767P (Reply 6):
If you are in the back of a 739, 752, or the worst case, the last row of a 753, there is no way to make a 30 min connection.

Why in the world would you book a 30 minute connection and then select a seat in the last row?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineC767P From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 879 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9916 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 8):
Why in the world would you book a 30 minute connection and then select a seat in the last row?

You wouldn't but some times it is not an option. This past summer, if you booked late, you did not get much choice of where you sit.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22309 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9873 times:

Quoting C767P (Reply 9):
You wouldn't but some times it is not an option.

Then don't buy the connection. I don't really see the issue here. Sometimes, it's fine to book a connection that short. Sometimes, it's really dumb to do so. People need to think before they book. When they don't think, it can be unpleasant.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineC767P From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 879 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9824 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 10):
When they don't think, it can be unpleasant.

I don’t have an issue making connections. When it was mentioned 30 minute connections at ORD are possible walking from extreme ends for UA I was just pointing out that where you sit on the plane matters.

Unfortunately many people don’t think when it comes to air travel. I do believe that is why the OP was asking this question. For a majority of passengers, they don’t take much of anything into consideration. With this one, I don’t blame them, if they can book it, must be doable…


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22309 posts, RR: 20
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9787 times:

Quoting C767P (Reply 11):
With this one, I don’t blame them, if they can book it, must be doable…

I think most passengers grasp that there are things that are doable that are not wise or pleasant. A five hour connection is obviously doable. That doesn't mean that most passengers like them.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinespiritair97 From United States of America, joined Jan 2011, 1231 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 19 hours ago) and read 9712 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 8):

Why in the world would you book a 30 minute connection and then select a seat in the last row?

Many people don't look into the amount of time that it will take to get off the plane. Many people just don't put that much thought into buying an airline ticket. They just look at how long the trip is.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 10):
Then don't buy the connection. I don't really see the issue here. Sometimes, it's fine to book a connection that short. Sometimes, it's really dumb to do so. People need to think before they book. When they don't think, it can be unpleasant.

What if it an international flight with only one option? If they can only afford the short connection, then they book it. These people aren'r dumb, they just try to live within their means.


User currently offlineFI642 From Monaco, joined Mar 2005, 1079 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 18 hours ago) and read 9582 times:

What are the published MCT's? Will the GDS and CRS allow you to book under those times?


737MAX, Cool Planes for the Worlds Coolest Airline.
User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 784 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 5 months 17 hours ago) and read 9370 times:

A few years ago I flew SAV-JFK-CDG-PRG-RIX because ATL was iced in. The Delta connection on the CRJ went fine, except I had to walk down the up ramp to reach the AF terminal where the red eye 777 waited. When AF touched down in CDG there was only 35 minutes before their A320 was leaving from another non-descrip terminal to PRG a long mini-bus ride from the place we landed. I had already written off my luggage and just barely made the connecting flight. After landing in PRG, I had to wait for a few hours for my OK flight to RIX. Wonder of wonders. My luggage showed up with me.

User currently offlineRichcandy From UK - England, joined Aug 2001, 716 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 5 months 16 hours ago) and read 9279 times:

Quoting pilotfox (Reply 7):

I was looking at tickets for EWR-TXL a few weeks ago. LH was offering flights EWR-DUS-TXL with a 35 min layover in DUS. I don't know how that would be possible clearing customs and such.

Guess it depend on where you clear customs.

In the past you used to be able to check in at say SFO for a flight to GLA via LHR. At SFO they would tag the bags all the way to GLA and issue both boarding cards. On arrival at LHR you went to flight connections were they stamped your passport. Then when you got to GLA you picked up your bags and went through customs there. (Three paths to the exit of the airport from baggage reclaim. Blue=Domestic and EU arrivals. Green=nothing to declare non eu and Red= goods to declare eu.)

I guess there might be similar systems in other EU countries.

Alex


User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 872 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 5 months 14 hours ago) and read 9025 times:

Maybe airlines should tag connections with ratings kind of like ski runs. A 35 minute connection at most large airports is a black diamond. Only recommended for experts who are flying first class.

I've made many 30-45 minute connections, but I keep a lot of things in mind:

Will I be in first class, or WN early board, hence in the front of the plane?

Will I have checked baggage that I will regret not having upon arrival? If I'm flying home it doesn't matter much.

Will I be starting early in the day, hence less likely to have a delayed start?

Will I be connecting at an airport that is not likely to have arrival delays? I never connect at SFO!

How far is the worst possible walk to the gate? T1 at LAX, RNO are all trivial. Even the United terminal at DEN is fast to get through. If I don't know the airport and can't find a map, I may not try it. Remember the old Stapleton airport? The walk could take 30 minutes itself! Whoever said PHX was easy has not had the longest possible walk connecting on US!

Will the plane even arrive at a gate, or will there be a bus ride to the terminal? That's real common in Europe (FRA!) and can even happen on occasion at LAX. At some airports the commuter flights arrive at a remote terminal. At SFO some United flights arrive at the opposite end of the airport from the other flights. Another reason to avoid SFO.

Will the airline look out for me? Some airlines try to hold the flight for arriving passengers (WN). At DEN UA waits for no one. At MUC and FRA LH will do everything they can to get you to your connection. Sometimes a van is waiting at your plane to whisk you to the next flight. I have had ground staff escort my group through MUC to get us through as fast as possible. More than once I heard the door slam behind me and the pushback begin before I had my seat belt fastened.

A few months ago I scheduled a 90 minute connection for an international arrival, walk from T2 to T8 at LAX, then through security. It seemed risky, but it was the best I could arrange. I managed to get seat 7A on an NZ 777 which meant I was next to the door, and was the first one out. The plane was delayed for a tech issue at AKL, and although I was first off I managed to be behind another flight at passport control. There was also a bit of a queue for customs, but at least my baggage was carry on so I missed that wait. After that my luck got better. There was not a single person at the T6 security checkpoint at LAX! UA had approved me for the abbreviated security check, and the TSA people were helpful! I made it to the gate just as they called my boarding group. Definitely a black diamond run!

If nothing else is available, a 35 minute connection looks good.


User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 6902 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (1 year 5 months 13 hours ago) and read 8880 times:

Quoting FI642 (Reply 14):
What are the published MCT's? Will the GDS and CRS allow you to book under those times?

Each individual airport has a different minimum connection time for.
Int-Int
Dom-dom
dom-Int
Int-dom

Amadeus and Galileo have warning messages to tell the agent that it is below the minimum connection time but as I remember it was still possible to book and ticket (though when I was an agent the etkt was in its infancy). However if a passenger misses the connection the Agent risks an Airline Debit Memo in the mail for the costs of rebooking.

Airlines allow exceptions for connections between certain ports to be commercially competitive, and to allow connections between ports that otherwise could not be made.

I book my flights to be comfortable, not to ever be stressed during my journey. I am happy with a 3-6h or even longer transit, I'm happy plane spotting in many airports, and only those I know are hopeless for spotting will I reduce my transit time.


User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3279 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (1 year 5 months 10 hours ago) and read 8529 times:

Quoting spiritair97 (Reply 13):
What if it an international flight with only one option?

Usually the legal connect time is an hour to 1 and a half.



"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
User currently offlineairbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 7874 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (1 year 5 months 8 hours ago) and read 8364 times:

Quoting pilotfox (Reply 7):
I was looking at tickets for EWR-TXL a few weeks ago. LH was offering flights EWR-DUS-TXL with a 35 min layover in DUS. I don't know how that would be possible clearing customs and such.

You don't clear customs at DUS. You do it at your final destination: TXL. Connections in Germany are incredibly fast although my only experiences are with FRA and MUC.


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 21, posted (1 year 5 months 7 hours ago) and read 8006 times:

Quoting JAAlbert (Thread starter):
Why would an airline set itself up for all the drama that attends passengers missing connections - or arriving at their destination minus their bags?

Probably because that particular connection has an inbound flight that's one of the last to arrive in the bank and an outbound that's one of the first to leave. The outbound aircraft is carrying people from a huge number of other inbound flights in addition to the one with the short connection; the airline has to weight the benefit of the higher utilization and shorter connections for other people (people don't like long connections either) against the potential cost of the missed connection.

Quoting JAAlbert (Thread starter):
Doesn't the airline have an obligation to rebook or accommodate the passenger who misses his connection due to an impossibly short transfer time?

Yes. But it may well be that the probability x cost of accommodating the missed connection is lower than the benefits they're getting elsewhere in the network.

Tom.


User currently offlineAA94 From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 531 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 5 months 7 hours ago) and read 7987 times:

Quoting airbazar (Reply 20):
You don't clear customs at DUS. You do it at your final destination: TXL. Connections in Germany are incredibly fast although my only experiences are with FRA and MUC.

  

Quoting pilotfox (Reply 7):
I was looking at tickets for EWR-TXL a few weeks ago. LH was offering flights EWR-DUS-TXL with a 35 min layover in DUS. I don't know how that would be possible clearing customs and such.

Even at large airports, quick connections are absolutely possible, even with international flights. I recently flew JFK-MAD-ALC, and I made it off the inbound flight to my gate for my ALC flight in around 20 minutes, and most of that was due to the overall size of T4 at MAD. There was no line at either passport control or security.

I realize during peak travel times, things might be busier, but it definitely can be done.

That said, people should still be smart. Look at terminal maps. Especially if you have to change terminals, or transit from a satellite terminal to a main terminal, more room needs to be allotted for connections.



Choose a challenge over competence / Eleanor Roosevelt
User currently offlinedowntown273 From Spain, joined Aug 2005, 291 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 5 months 7 hours ago) and read 7834 times:

Quoting JAAlbert (Thread starter):
Why would an airline set itself up for all the drama that attends passengers missing connections - or arriving at their destination minus their bags?

I'm sure the airlines have done their maths. If they sell the 30 minute transfer it's because they believe the revenue generated by that ticket will offset the losses generated the times when the connection is missed and the pax need to be rebooked.

I travel for business and I always take the shortest connection possible. I do RTM-LCY-DUB on Air France regularly. In LCY you have to wait until everyone deplanes, bus ride to the terminal, clear immigration, go through security and board the next flight. They sell the flights with a 25 minute connection. I've been there and done that. I do pay extra for only having a 25 minute stop in London City. I don't want to be there for 2 hours, it adds no value to me.


User currently onlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3641 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (1 year 5 months 6 hours ago) and read 7156 times:

I almost missed a 37-minute connection at CLE once because I was the last off the plane, but I didn't because my connecting flight to FWA was delayed by two hours.

I did have a 50-minute connection at DTW (a huge airport) recently, and thanks to DTW's layout, I still had time to get some pizza before my flight. One of my relatives used to book 50-minute connections at DFW (which is even bigger) for business with no problems as well, even before Skylink opened up.

[Edited 2012-11-21 08:33:29]


I don't work for FWA, their tenants, or their ad agency. But I still love FWA.
25 fn1001 : No! I often fly from outside Schengen into Germany and Austria and always clear customs and immigration at the first entry point. The domestic (or in
26 Post contains images PHX787 : The main issue I have with such short layovers, especially with international connections, is if one flight goes awry, then you're screwed with your n
27 Post contains links and images foppishbum : I technically missed my connection to BUR from SLC last time with 40 min connection in SLC. I was lucky that the BUR flight was delayed for almost an
28 Koosi : You're right, you don't clear customs at DUS. HOWEVER, you have to go through immigration at DUS and that can be a lengthy process for non-EU (plus a
29 airbazar : How can you clear customs if you check your bag thru to the final destination? That doesn't make any sense. To the best of my knowledge, in Europe im
30 RamblinMan : Airlines set a minimum allowable connection time at each airport. Flight combinations which allow time above that threshold are offered for sale, flig
31 avion660 : Me too! Except sometimes the best laid plans go awry. I had a 2 hour 50 minute connection in ORD last summer (LHR-ORD-STL) which the airline changed
32 Post contains images boilerla : I was talking to a GA the other day about this actually. The person in front of me was an irate women in her 30s with 3 kids. She had booked a 30 min
33 uALWN : Earlier this year I flew ORD-DUS-BCN on LH with a 55 min layover at DUS. The plane left ~45 minutes late from ORD. I was sure I'd miss my connection.
34 cosyr : I don't think I have ever had a flight be 5-10 minutes late. They are always on-time, early or an hour+ late, so short transfers have never been an is
35 brilondon : 35 minutes is plenty of time even if you have to re-clear security. Do you doddle? then it may be a problem. I have arrived at the Inter-Island termin
36 Viscount724 : I was booking a trip today and noticed LH had several 35 minute connections from GVA via MUC. During the winter I try to avoid such short connections
37 AA94 : Correct. Even with a non-EU passport, clearing immigration and passport control has taken me (at most) 10 minutes, but I select my flights strategica
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