I sat in the airport in Florence watching the clock. My flight was already delayed an hour, forcing the question to enter my mind of whether I would make my connection in Frankfurt back to the U.S. Up in the air, there was little that I could do. I knew it would take running and perhaps a miracle to make my flight. The pilot got on before landing, saying he was going to park the plane at a gate that would help those making connections. While probably not following regulation, that move allowed me to make my flight, out of breath and relieved.
However, we don’t all have these connecting flight stories or a kind German pilot that perhaps bent the rules to allow half the plane to get home to the U.S. If you have been the victim of a missed connection or you are just booking a multi-stop trip, here are a few essential tips to keep in mind to never miss your connecting flight.
Avoid Booking Several Different Airlines On One Itinerary: While the price might be right on that itinerary with several different non-affiliated airlines, it might cost you when it comes to a missed connection. Obviously, the airlines involved are not working together to get you to your destination, but rather as separate beings. If you miss your connection on one of these airlines, you might not be graced with a complimentary re-booking by your next airline. It is after all not their problem that you missed their flight due to another airline’s delayed flight. In order to avoid missing a flight, it is best to book those multi-stop itineraries with one airline or at least one airline and all of its codeshares. That way if your flight is delayed on one leg, you won’t have to worry about being rebooked or having to pay for another airline’s problem.
Don’t Go Too Tight: Just as you hopefully wouldn’t by jeans that are too tight, you should never purchase a plane ticket with too tight connections. You are just asking to miss your connection right from when you click purchase. You should have plenty of time in between connections, especially at larger and busier airports. If there is hesitation that you will make your connecting flight, it is probably best to book another route with more breathing room in between flights.
For International Flights, Don’t Forget About Customs: A friend was coming back from her honeymoon in Mexico, but she had to connect in Charlotte before arriving home. She only had 50 minutes to make the flight to Arkansas. By the time she got out of customs at the Charlotte Airport, her next flight was 10 minutes into the sky. While this isn’t necessarily the traveler’s fault, it is a pain to miss a connection because you didn’t factor in enough time for international connections. Customs can take over an hour in some airports and throughout busy times of the year. To avoid missing these international connections, which can be costly money and time wise, it is best to leave at least two hours in between connecting flights. You never know how long customs may take.