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Seeking opinions on family vacation problem

Seeking opinions on family vacation problem

Old Nov 26, 18, 10:56 am
  #1  
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Seeking opinions on family vacation problem

Our group is traveling to Grand Cayman over spring break 2019 (5 nights), but with a recent AA flight schedule change our current flight now gets in 2 hours later than when we booked it (3pm originally vs. 5pm now). Given how much we are playing for housing, i am disappointed to lose that first day.

Details:
8 people are 2 families of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids 10 & 7) on 2 different PNRs. 1 family has Platinum status, 1 family has Gold status. All tickets are AASaver so no change fees, plus AA changed schedules so we should okay with a few phone calls.

I've thought about it, but was wondering what others would do :
  1. Keep original flight : DFW-GCM nonstop 1p - 5p (lose all of first day)
  2. Do early morning on same day : DFW-MIA-GCM 6a-10a, 11a-1p (get in 4 hours earlier, no extra night)
  3. Fly the day before to closer hub and hotel it (using Hilton points so zero cash cost incurred) : DFW-CLT-GCM 5:30p-9p, 9a-12p (get in 5 hours early, w/o early flight)
  4. Other options?
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Old Nov 26, 18, 10:59 am
  #2  
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Keep the non-stop. Any other options are just adding places where something could go wrong (and there could still be other schedule changes between now and then).
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Old Nov 26, 18, 11:03 am
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Originally Posted by dc9703 View Post
Our group is traveling to Grand Cayman over spring break 2019 (5 nights), but with a recent AA flight schedule change our current flight now gets in 2 hours later than when we booked it (3pm originally vs. 5pm now). Given how much we are playing for housing, i am disappointed to lose that first day.

Details:
8 people are 2 families of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids 10 & 7) on 2 different PNRs. 1 family has Platinum status, 1 family has Gold status. All tickets are AASaver so no change fees, plus AA changed schedules so we should okay with a few phone calls.

I've thought about it, but was wondering what others would do :
  1. Keep original flight : DFW-GCM nonstop 1p - 5p (lose all of first day)
  2. Do early morning on same day : DFW-MIA-GCM 6a-10a, 11a-1p (get in 4 hours earlier, no extra night)
  3. Fly the day before to closer hub and hotel it (using Hilton points so zero cash cost incurred) : DFW-CLT-GCM 5:30p-9p, 9a-12p (get in 5 hours early, w/o early flight)
  4. Other options?
1. Lose all of the first day? You are losing 2 hours more. Not an additional day
4. Fly somewhere else?
Why can't you decide? You know you and the 2 families better than we do.
For example. I would take connecting flights to save some amount money, but my wife hates them, and for me the savings would have to be significant.
Of course, it is possible the flight will change again before spring break.
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Last edited by mvoight; Nov 26, 18 at 11:15 am
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Old Nov 26, 18, 11:09 am
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It's two hours, not a whole day. Plus adding connections just adds stress points where something else can go wrong. I'd stay with the non-stop.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 11:25 am
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While it's obviously not losing an entire day I can certainly sympathize with the OP, arriving at 5pm leaves time for little except dinner, while a 3pm arrival at least affords a bit of the afternoon to do something on that first day.

Flying to CLT or MIA the day before is a perfectly fine option if it's just a few people, however for 2 familes with 8 total it becomes more of an issue, really depends on everyone's travel tolerances, etc.

If it were me, I'd fly to MIA the afternoon before, get a decent room on South Beach and at least enjoy that first night rather than slumming it at an airport Hampton Inn in CLT .
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Old Nov 26, 18, 11:47 am
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If the OP does the 6AM connection to MIA it means arriving at the airport around 4AM (that number to presumably check bags and through Security). Better off to stay with the direct flight as others have noted its 2 hours.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 11:59 am
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A couple questions.
First---when you arrive in GCM, how far are you from your accommodation? And what is the check in time?
How far do you live from DFW airport?

I would stick with the non-stop. You are only 2 hours later and have the benefit of not worrying about any connection. You can get up and leave leisurely since you won't need to be at the airport until 11 AM.

Option of routing through MIA using 6 AM flight means you need to be at airport around 4-4:30 AM. Back up travel time and time to get family rounded up and out of the house and you are looking at probable misery. Additionally--your 1 hour connection in MIA is stress-inducing when traveling with kids. So you would arrive in GCM at 1 PM--but at what cost? A bunch of cranky tired travelers so you are truly losing that day. Risk of missed connection and increased risk of lost bags, god awful early departure with kids. Thumbs down for me on this option.

Option of overnight in CLT. Again---making it too complicated in my opinion. You land at 9 PM---so what time will you get bags, get to hotel and get kids settled? Maybe 11 PM? Then get everyone up in time to be at the airport at 7 AM. Way to much schlepping and transferring bags and kids. You get in at noon but when can you check in?

Seems like a lot of gyrations with the potential of missed connections and carting families around to save 2 hours. Especially at spring break when airports and flights are packed.
I would absolutely keep the direct flight and accept that 2 hours is not a big deal.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 12:23 pm
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Originally Posted by AA_ORDlady View Post
A couple questions.
First---when you arrive in GCM, how far are you from your accommodation? And what is the check in time?
How far do you live from DFW airport?

I would stick with the non-stop. You are only 2 hours later and have the benefit of not worrying about any connection. You can get up and leave leisurely since you won't need to be at the airport until 11 AM.

Option of routing through MIA using 6 AM flight means you need to be at airport around 4-4:30 AM. Back up travel time and time to get family rounded up and out of the house and you are looking at probable misery. Additionally--your 1 hour connection in MIA is stress-inducing when traveling with kids. So you would arrive in GCM at 1 PM--but at what cost? A bunch of cranky tired travelers so you are truly losing that day. Risk of missed connection and increased risk of lost bags, god awful early departure with kids. Thumbs down for me on this option.

Option of overnight in CLT. Again---making it too complicated in my opinion. You land at 9 PM---so what time will you get bags, get to hotel and get kids settled? Maybe 11 PM? Then get everyone up in time to be at the airport at 7 AM. Way to much schlepping and transferring bags and kids. You get in at noon but when can you check in?

Seems like a lot of gyrations with the potential of missed connections and carting families around to save 2 hours. Especially at spring break when airports and flights are packed.
I would absolutely keep the direct flight and accept that 2 hours is not a big deal.
GC house is roughly a 45 minute drive from the airport. So i figure customs/immigration/rental agency/drive puts us in the house around 7pm. 3pm is check-in, It's a rental house so i'll have to double check on the night before there maybe an option to get access to the house. If not we'll need some groceries and things.

Thanks for all the feedback, on the plus side for the non-stop is i do have AMEX-plt card so i can still use those 2 hours @ the DFW AMEX lounge enjoying a vacation. I travel enough to "rough it" with early leaving or late arriving flights. But wife and kids are not so great at all that.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 12:23 pm
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That's quite a number of responses in favor (and here's one more) in favor of the non-stop. Two hours = NBD. The originally scheduled flight could've been delayed for the two hours for all we know.

Relative to other family vacation problems, it could be worse. The in-laws might decide to tag along.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by enpremiere View Post
That's quite a number of responses in favor (and here's one more) in favor of the non-stop. Two hours = NBD. The originally scheduled flight could've been delayed for the two hours for all we know.

Relative to other family vacation problems, it could be worse. The in-laws might decide to tag along.
I would send them connecting through PHL
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Old Nov 26, 18, 12:36 pm
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It's a matter of balancing 2 hours vs, the additional risk of a misconnect and thus overnighting somewhere you don't want to be.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey View Post
While it's obviously not losing an entire day I can certainly sympathize with the OP, arriving at 5pm leaves time for little except dinner, while a 3pm arrival at least affords a bit of the afternoon to do something on that first day.
See, I looked at it in the opposite way. Arriving at 3pm means you probably don't get to the hotel until 5pm, which really doesn't leave much of the afternoon for anything. Arriving at 7pm just means a somewhat later dinner.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 8:58 pm
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
See, I looked at it in the opposite way. Arriving at 3pm means you probably don't get to the hotel until 5pm, which really doesn't leave much of the afternoon for anything. Arriving at 7pm just means a somewhat later dinner.
As a frequent spring break traveler, I concur with this comment and all those saying don't add in connections where more stuff can happen. Especially to MIA. The whole world is trying to connect to the east coast to get to the Carribean. Planes will be oversold and add a little weather into the mix and your vacation will be impacted a lot more than 2 hours. With a 5 day vacation you want direct flights.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 10:52 pm
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It's a bit off topic but since one family is Plat, you should have plenty of free bag check capacity. You might think about packing a box of snacks. I don't know about Cayman but when I lived in Bermuda, groceries were 3-4 times the Costco price. You won't want to pack drinks but you could pack chips, cereal, etc. Moving boxes up to 4.5 cubic feet usually meet the size requirement. It might be more convenient, you will have what you want (you might not be able to find the products or brands you want), and save some money.

I actually did my grocery shopping in the USA; I came home every 3 weeks (not just for a Walmart run) and would go back with a box of dry food and a cooler of refrigerated food.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 1:59 am
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With four young kids in the party, I would not give up the non-stop flight.
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