SEA Connection Times

Old Sep 19, 19, 10:04 am
  #1  
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SEA Connection Times

Hi,

New user here. I'm in the final stages of planning a vacation for 2020. My "home" airport is IND, though STL and ORD are of similar distances.

I prefer Alaska because we had a phenomenal experience with them during trying circumstances some years ago (we don't fly much). Our only other option is Delta, but each time I've flown via Delta out of IND (all three times) over the years, have had significant delays and missed connections.

For our flight to BOI, we would have to connect through SEA. The connection window is only 55 minutes and it's in the 8PM hour. This still represents the longest connection time of all airlines available. ASA501 shows a history of parking at N, but the flight out via Horizon often shows as C gate historically.

We will be traveling with kids, the youngest a 6 year old. Is this gonna be enough time to make the second flight, including the required bathroom pit stop for the kids? Missing the second flight means an overnight stay, and nothing out of any other nearby airport offer both departing and returning flight times that are viable for us (without sorely escalating the cost).

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by DarkDunedain; Sep 19, 19 at 10:20 am
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:15 am
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Others will have more help to add but an airline will sell a connecting ticket if it has a "legal connection", that is a minimum amount of time needed to make the connecting flight.

You may need to rely on the lavatory in flight. But as I mentioned, others here are better than me and very good at helping with time estimates and calculations based upon flight history.

Even with longer connection times, things can go wrong travelling on any airline. Knowing what your "plan B" is if you don't make the connection or if the next flight is cancelled is always a good idea.

PS: I like your first post. Salutations.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:25 am
  #3  
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It is absolutely possible to make a 55 minute connection from N to C gates if your plane arrives on time, you're near the front of the plane, and hustle.

It is absolutely a ton of additional stress to make a 55 minute connection from N to C gates with more than one child, one of which is a 6 year old, and likely not sitting near the front of the plane. If *anything* goes south, e.g. a slight delay on arrival, you will be stressed to hell for the start of your vacation.

Neil
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:29 am
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I'm already stressed to hell and we don't even travel for another nine months.

My only other options are 40-45 minute connections in airports I know it can't be done in (ORD, MSP, LAX). Hence the stress.

Last edited by DarkDunedain; Sep 19, 19 at 10:41 am
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:41 am
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I agree under an hour with small children would be stressful. And an overnight stay if you miss the connection (which could happen if your plane is delayed or has trouble finding a gate, even if you hustle as best you can) is obviously undesirable.

Would you be able to share the approximate dates of your trip? That would make it easier to suggest other options. Perhaps an early morning flight from ORD with a longer connection?
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by DarkDunedain View Post
I'm already stressed to hell and we don't even travel for another nine months.

My only other options are 40-45 minute connections in airports I know it can't be done in (ORD, MSP, LAX). Hence the stress.
Actually, MSP is a very easy connection airport. I would think the IND flight and BOI flight would be in the C Gates, so you might want to check. For my usual flights, I tend to land in the high F Gates and connect to high A or B Gates, so YMMV. But 45 minutes isn't bad if everything is running on schedule - that's the rub...
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:57 am
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Personally, that would stress me out, even as an experienced SEA flyer. It's definitely doable, but as missamo80 notes, if anything goes wrong, I think it would be likely to miss your flight.

Is there anything that has an extra stop (not ideal, I know) through a larger airport with my flight connections that would get you there? Personally, I would pay the extra money for a different flight, possibly from one of the other airports, but it depends on the cost and value to you.

I also note I've had a lot of flights that have changed schedule slightly since I booked them just 4-5 months ago, so it is a possibility that flights so far out will change. There may also be flights added/cancelled. Sorry, this probably isn't helping, but just a reminder to be aware.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:00 am
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After my last trip through SEA all I know is I'll be trying to pick flights with more than 90 minutes of connection time going forward. Flight coming in from Anchorage was only a few minutes behind schedule, but we spent what felt like 30 minutes taxing to a D gate. Lucky for me, the connection was also a D gate, but it was one of the new bus gates. Made it over just as the final boarding group was being announced. If it had been a connection to any other terminal I would have been out of luck I think...
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:02 am
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AS has at least four ORD-SEA departures in the summer, and probably twice that many SEA-BOI trips, so perhaps OP could consider trading the first night’s hotel stay in BOI for a hotel near ORD and taking a morning flight with a less stressful connection (and lots of backup flights)

AS also flies ORD-PDX and PDX-BOI


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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:14 am
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SEA is busy during cruise seasons and often has ATC delays - either from a departure or arrival aspect (or both) so the dates of your trip can make a difference. Also, right now the train to C is down (being remodeled) so you will need to walk. Your SEA BOI flight could depart from C2x gates which is somewhat close to those arriving from N gates, or it could depart from C10x gates which is halfway down the terminal, or it could depart from C16x gates which is at the very end of the terminal - a long haul with little kids. The train is supposed to re-open in late 2019 which would make a connection between N and the end of C very quick but I would ensure all the kiddies went potty on your arriving to SEA plane before landing. The flight to BOI may be a Q400 (which always boards much later than stated) and that "may" allow more than enough time (kiddie potty runs at SEA) for your connection. Bottom line is that you will be stressed. You might want to consider spending the night in SEA - book a later flight to BOI so that you can take the kids on the light rail and maybe do Flight over Seattle or the Ferris wheel.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post
Would you be able to share the approximate dates of your trip? That would make it easier to suggest other options. Perhaps an early morning flight from ORD with a longer connection?
We're looking at mid-June. Obviously we're not buying for a couple months yet when ticket prices drop, and I've already seen a number of flight time changes when just in the last few days.

There are a few problems with ORD:
1. Driving there from the south is a pain. It might be a comparable drive time in theory, but it's so much harder to get to than IND. The way Chicago has their toll system set up means high potential for unexpected tickets since some tool booths are a sign reminding you to pay online and a camera. Plus traffic.

2. Prices are significantly higher to fly from there.

3. The flight times from there are far less favorable for traveling with a family than from IND.

4. Most flights through there would have us transferring from AA to ASA in ORD and I'm not sure if that's a great idea from a luggage perspective. I may have to investigate this option further, as we've done this one before through LAX - I just don't trust it.

Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
AS has at least four ORD-SEA departures in the summer, and probably twice that many SEA-BOI trips, so perhaps OP could consider trading the first night’s hotel stay in BOI for a hotel near ORD and taking a morning flight with a less stressful connection (and lots of backup flights)

AS also flies ORD-PDX and PDX-BOI


and welcome to FT and the Alaska Airlines board!
My experience with ORD when researching shows an increase of an average of ~100/ticket over other airports. It's not insignificant when considering the size of the family, but I won't hesitate to go through there, as much as I don't want to, if the prices and flight times work.


I'm also considering just renting a hotel near SeaTac. For two of our kids, they've never flown before. Asking them to rush to a flight at their equivalent of 10-11 pm may not be a great idea when the first flight will likely drain their energy either from excitement or terror. I'm leaning toward afternoon/evening for the first flight because that's when they are least likely to be, ah, problematic, but let morning/really afternoon could also work.

All of these airports are 2.5-3 hour drive for us, and we have to get there 2.5-3 hrs early. A 7am flight has us likely leaving our house at 12-1 am. You may not want my youngest on anything that early, especially something she's never done. It's no easy thing for us to just go to an airport - any departure time means leaving our house 6 hours before (7 if IND because time zone change).

Last edited by dayone; Sep 27, 19 at 5:04 pm Reason: Redact masked profanity.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by DrAlex View Post
Actually, MSP is a very easy connection airport. I would think the IND flight and BOI flight would be in the C Gates, so you might want to check. For my usual flights, I tend to land in the high F Gates and connect to high A or B Gates, so YMMV. But 45 minutes isn't bad if everything is running on schedule - that's the rub...
It has been 10 years since I last connected through MSP...that had me literally at opposite ends of the airport. Perhaps times have changed.

Last edited by DarkDunedain; Sep 19, 19 at 11:59 am
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by _fx;31542272[b
]I agree under an hour with small children would be stressful[/b]. And an overnight stay if you miss the connection (which could happen if your plane is delayed or has trouble finding a gate, even if you hustle as best you can) is obviously undesirable.

Would you be able to share the approximate dates of your trip? That would make it easier to suggest other options. Perhaps an early morning flight from ORD with a longer connection?
+1.

OP, I like your first post! Experts here will be able to help. Feel free to provide additional details.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by DarkDunedain View Post
It has been 10 years since I last connected through MSP... Perhaps times have changed. That had me literally at opposite ends of the airport. Perhaps times have changed.
Yeah, that's my experience as well going from high F to high A or B where the regional flights leave. But there are moving walkways throughout G & C, the G-C connector, and the tram from the start of C to start of A & B. Plus there are carts that might give you a lift. I've shuttled my family across the airport with 45-60 minute connections without too much difficulty, but that's usually to a smaller regional jet where I want to be the last person to get on the plane.

Given the current construction and congestion in SEA, I'd choose a 45 minute connection in MSP over a 55 minute connection in SEA.

You could also probably get to SLC on Delta if you missed the BOI flight - there might be a later connection between those two city pairs.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 12:25 pm
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Originally Posted by cragAK View Post
After my last trip through SEA all I know is I'll be trying to pick flights with more than 90 minutes of connection time going forward. Flight coming in from Anchorage was only a few minutes behind schedule, but we spent what felt like 30 minutes taxing to a D gate. Lucky for me, the connection was also a D gate, but it was one of the new bus gates. Made it over just as the final boarding group was being announced. If it had been a connection to any other terminal I would have been out of luck I think...
I'm gonna have to agree with this. Both I and my wife (as detailed in a separate thread) had recent connections through SEA with about an hour to spare, and apparently long delays on the ground are the new normal there... I was lucky and made it with a little time to spare; she wasn't and got stuck overnight. Keep in mind that AS is off the hook if the delay is due to ATC, so you're on your own if that happens - I will not be making that mistake again (which realistically means a different airline).
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