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Mission Impossible: Newark EWR -> JFK 3 hour layover (intl. depart & MCT)

Mission Impossible: Newark EWR -> JFK 3 hour layover (intl. depart & MCT)

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Old Sep 12, 15, 1:37 am
  #1  
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Mission Impossible: Newark EWR -> JFK 3 hour layover (intl. depart & MCT)

Hello all,

We have a single itinerary through a travel agency, where on the return trip we're flying from Dallas to New York (Newark), and are to depart internationally from JFK.

The layover is only 3 hours on a Friday afternoon, so switching airports from Newark to JFK and making the connection seems impossible.

Should AA provide us with a new connecting flight free of charge in this case? They said the layover is impossible, and would require reservation changes (by the travel agency). On the other hand, The travel agency is requiring a penalty fee + fare difference if we want to change the flight at the moment.

Somebody made a mistake here. Us, for using the crappy travel agency, and the travel agency/AA for even allowing such a layover under a single itinerary.

Thanks for your help!
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Old Sep 12, 15, 4:20 am
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Your travel agent did nothing wrong here per se. The published MCT EWR-JFK is indeed 3 hours. No normal person who knows the area would ever book that though. It would be at their discretion to rebook you since it's not an illegal connection.

Is 3 hours possible? Of course it is. I've gone from EWR C to JFK T7 in about 75 minutes via trains. Would I advise someone not familiar with the transit and airports to attempt it? Absolutely not, especially if you have significant luggage.

The answer here for a first-timer is a cab/car service UNLESS the connection is between 3 and 8pm. In that case your best bet is the train (EWR Airtrain to NJTransit, NJTransit to New York Penn, LIRR to Jamaica, and JFK Airtrain to terminals).
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Old Sep 12, 15, 4:46 am
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Can you check in for the International flight ahead of time at DFW? If you can take the trains and minimize luggage. It should take 75 minutes to nearly 2 hours depending upon how you catch the trains.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 5:47 am
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It is a valid connection and the agent did nothing wrong in booking it

Since it is a though booking with a valid connection , if you misconnect AA is responsible for rebooking you on to your destination
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Old Sep 12, 15, 6:11 am
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Try this:

http://www.flyblade.com/
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Old Sep 12, 15, 6:32 am
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I give OP somewhere between 5-10% chance of making this on a Friday afternoon. But, here is his best shot:

1. This is within MCT, so perfectly valid for sale, both by the TA and by AA.

2. Your TA did a terrible job. While this is a legal connection, it is far from sensible and the only reason to pay a TA is to get good advice. You got lousy advice.

3. If you are familiar with the route and travel a lot, public transportation by multiple trains is the way to go. If this is your first time transiting the NYC area, book a car service such as Elite or Dial7. They are reliable, but not fancy and the perfect mix between certainty and cost.

4. Avoid checked luggage. That slows you down leaving EWR and ups the cut off at JFK.

5. AA will rebook you if you misconnect. But, hotels + meals will be on your nickel.

Now - What can you do proactively?

1. Be firm with your TA. You paid for advice and they apparently did not advise you about the inadvisability of this connection. They should handle the rebooking and may be able to get fees waived (or maybe split them with you?) TA's depend on reputation, so you have some sway.

2. While this should not be doable, it sometimes is. Show up at DFW for the JFK (or LGA) flight preceding what you now have and ask if there's space. A decent agent may rebook you without charge, recognizing that AA will wind up rebooking you anyway. JFK is, of course, preferable to LGA. But, LGA is infinitely better than JFK.

For others, when you book -- ask questions first. TA's don't just book people, you have to ask them to book you. You are the customer. It may have been that OP's routing is cheaper than connecting at JFK, but are the savings worth it, particularly if he has to hire a car service and possibly pay for a hotel and meals and be a day late to his destination?
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Old Sep 12, 15, 7:50 am
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Originally Posted by zamzum View Post
Hello all,

We have a single itinerary through a travel agency, where on the return trip we're flying from Dallas to New York (Newark), and are to depart internationally from JFK.

The layover is only 3 hours on a Friday afternoon, so switching airports from Newark to JFK and making the connection seems impossible.

Should AA provide us with a new connecting flight free of charge in this case? They said the layover is impossible, and would require reservation changes (by the travel agency). On the other hand, The travel agency is requiring a penalty fee + fare difference if we want to change the flight at the moment.

Somebody made a mistake here. Us, for using the crappy travel agency, and the travel agency/AA for even allowing such a layover under a single itinerary.

Thanks for your help!
Welcome to FlyerTalk.

The person to get action from is your travel agency; AA is unlikely to bail them out by giving you a free change, yet they only want to pass the charges on to you and make them pay for your mistake.

AA says MCT is three hours, which could work reasonably at other times.

You're going to have to lean on the agency or pay to play one way or another, I'm afraid. Either way, costly lesson, I guess.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 8:30 am
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

Unless the OP will have checked baggage, this transfer should be quite doable via rail -- as long as the DFW-EWR flight arrives on or close to schedule. (If the DFW-EWR flight takes a delay before boarding at DFW, AA should re-route the OP out of DFW.)

If the OP is going to make the transfer by rail, he should familiarize himself with the process before arriving at EWR. He will want to buy his EWR-NYP (New York Penn Station) tickets at the NJ Transit vending machine near the AirTrain station at his EWR arrival terminal. At NYP, he will head over to the Long Island Rail Road section of the station. I believe that the LIRR vending machines still sell a combo ticket that includes that LIRR portion from NYP to Jamaica, and a $5 Metrocard on the same ticket to cover the cost of JFK AirTrain from Jamaica to the OP's departure terminal (T7 if on BA metal; T8 if on AA metal). If such a combo ticket is purchased, the OP should be sure to get the ticket back from the LIRR train conductor after the ticket is punched.

LIRR departures from NYP to Jamaica after 4:09 PM will require purchase of a "peak" fare ticket.

If the OP is at least 62 years old, discounted fares are available on NJ Transit; on the LIRR, the minimum age for the senior discount is 65.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 9:55 am
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If unable to resolve with the TA in advance, I would also be proactive and research all other OW flight options and have that information handy. If it is clear you won't make it or you're just cutting it close you can ask AA to "protect" seats on another flight--although you might face change fees if there was no delay on your inbound flight to EWR.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 11:06 am
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Holy Cow!

The OP's travel agency should have their licenses revoked, as they are clearly incompetent. I'm guessing they are completely unfamiliar with NYC.

It would be one thing if they had booked the OP from DFW to LGA and then a JFK departure, as that change-of-airport connection is done all the time, and is doable with three hours on a Friday afternoon.

But Newark to JFK? Only a moron would sell their client that kind of itinerary.

Yes, I've done it, but on itineraries I purchased on my own, not as a travel agent. With limited bags, extensive knowledge of the region and its trains, it's possible but it's not for the uninitiated. In the 1980s, DCA-EWR could be bought for $19 to $29 on PeoplExpress, providing a cheap way to get to NYC for a JFK departure 3-4 hours later. Fun adventure when you're by yourself and the stuff that great travel stories are made of. Sheer lunacy to ever suggest that anyone else do it, especially for a travel agent to suggest it.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 11:49 am
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Earlier this year, I had EWR-MIA-GIG. EWR-MIA canceled, and I was put on JFK-GIG. I was very unhappy because I knew I'd be rushing over there and I'd still miss it anyways.

Long story short, I went down and booked the shared van to JFK for 25$ at 5pm. It left pretty soon after and got me to JFK in about 45 minutes via Staten and the Verrezano Bridge. So while I wouldn't ever want to be in that position again, I do think that the odds aren't dire if the inbound is on time.

Last edited by danielm; Sep 12, 15 at 11:54 am
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Old Sep 12, 15, 2:33 pm
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Lots of good info here already.

EWR > NYC Penn Station is 25 minutes on NJ Transit. Of course that doesn't include the Air Train from the Terminal to the EWR train station, the walking, the wait time, etc. But an hour for all of it is reasonable.

The LIRR to JFK leaves from NYC Penn Station, so that's a plus for you. You will take the LIRR to Jamaica Station (22 mins), then the Air Train to your terminal (another 15-25 minutes, depending on which terminal). Then you'll have to walk your bags another 10 minutes to the actual terminal. Welcome to NYC. There's no organization or efficiency here.

This can be done in two hours, but it's tight. You won't have to wait long for the EWR > NYC Penn Station trains since it's rush hour. LIRR trains to Jamaica Station depart every few minutes.

The real problem is NYC Penn Station. Even for locals is so inefficient and terribly organized that it gets complicated to navigate. Be prepared to carry bags up stairs. Then you have to find the LIRR side of the station. Then buy a ticket (or you can purchase this on the train for a $5 or so surcharge). Then figure out which track you're train is leaving from. They really couldn't have made it any more complicated, so don't hesitate to ask people for directions/help, and you'll probably have to ask more than one.

Hope it works out.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 4:10 pm
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Originally Posted by danielm View Post
Long story short, I went down and booked the shared van to JFK for 25$ at 5pm. It left pretty soon after and got me to JFK in about 45 minutes via Staten and the Verrezano Bridge. So while I wouldn't ever want to be in that position again, I do think that the odds aren't dire if the inbound is on time.
You did EWR to JFK at 5pm in 45 minutes? I'm guessing it was not a weekday because that's about how it long it takes me with zero traffic.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 4:23 pm
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If OP has checked luggage, the baggage deadline for international is T-60 at JFK. He must also wait for it at EWR. If bags are delivered within 30 minutes of wheels locked at EWR and he must have his bags checked by T-60 at JFK (not be in line, but bags checked), that is 90 minutes between the two airports and that includes all wait times.

The more I think about this, the more I think this is folly unless OP has mission critical commitments before departure from DFW and after arrival overseas.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by DWFI View Post
You did EWR to JFK at 5pm in 45 minutes? I'm guessing it was not a weekday because that's about how it long it takes me with zero traffic.
Hmmm, thanks for checking me on that. In that case I probably mis-remembered how long it took. I did have 3 hours to get there, and I spent a solid chunk of time at the lounge. The time must be off then, but I think the point stands that this is doable by road, and possible less stressful than making the changes. Definitely not an expert on this though.
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