I used to let the airlines schedule my connecting flights. I’d simply call United Airlines or KLM, or even Jordanian Airways and tell them my location; If I wanted to go to London or to Amsterdam, they’d process my request in their system and mail me the tickets.
Well let me tell you, what a bad idea that was: Connecting for Amsterdam was a nightmare! Departing from Baltimore at 7:00pm for a flight leaving from New York at 8:30pm, was a little tight! Of course the Eagle Jet was delayed! Of course I missed my main flight! And of course, I didn’t get my luggage!
Coming back from Amsterdam was even more interesting: Because I was bumped from the in-bound flight, I was canceled from the return-flight list! The story continues……
After several connecting flight horror stories, I decided to take the matter into my own hands! Never again! Was I to let an airline or travel agent, even near my flight arrangements again!
Nowadays, I make sure that most of my flights are direct. I will even drive to a different city, so that I can get one! If I can’t, then I go on-line and do all the connecting myself!
For a start, I will never give myself a half an hour to an hour window, between connecting flights! I will do everything within my power, to make sure that I have at least two hours available. I will never tempt fate by cutting my connection time. Murphy’s law, will always see to it that something goes wrong!
Secondly, I always make sure that if I have a connecting flight; No matter where I am going; I pack the bare basics, into my carry-on suit-case! Even if I have to do laundry or buy another pair of pants, elsewhere! I will not give my suit-case to the airline, for check in; Unless, it is a direct flight!
Carry-on bags can be quite sizable. However, it is best to go to the airline web-site, as they will give carry-on specifics with clear detail. In case of any confusion at all, it would be wise to call the airline within a day or two from departure.
Thirdly; E-Tickets are great! They often act as E-Boarding passes as well! They can save a lot of time and you can be in and out of lines and terminals, without all of the peeling and printing, that takes fifteen minutes or so.
Where domestic flights are concerned; Not only do I try and get a direct flight, but if there is not one available, I will pay a little more and travel at a later or earlier time.
Some airlines will tell you on their web-site, whether or not you will have to change planes: If it says, for instance, 1-Stop, that means that you stay on the plane for a while, as it picks up additional passengers.
Since the 911 fiasco; Security will slow you down considerably. Do not carry-on a knife or any other sharp object, unless you want it confiscated. You could even run the risk of missing your flight altogether, as the interrogation process can take several hours!
Anyway! Speedy tickets, traveling light, smart bookings and being cautious about security, will definitely contribute to getting you through the gates on time! The rest is up to the Almighty, the weather and the mechanical condition of the aircraft that you entrust your life to!
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