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3 hours to transfer between IAD & DCA on "legal" ticket?

3 hours to transfer between IAD & DCA on "legal" ticket?

Old Dec 21, 18, 12:41 pm
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3 hours to transfer between IAD & DCA on "legal" ticket?

Over on the D.C. trip advisor forum, a couple of flyers have popped up who purchased tickets on AA flying from LHR-MCO via IAD **and** DCA. The single ticket routing provides three hours for these travelers to arrive at IAD, collect luggage (as they won't check it all the way through to MCO), clear customs and immigration (often 90 minutes for non-US flyers), make their own way to DCA (often an hour in traffic), re-check their bags, re-clear security, and board their next flight. They're understandably freaked out about it, and AA was utterly unsympathetic about making any changes to the reservation -- the routing is "legal."

Putting aside the inexperienced travelers' decision to purchase the ticket in the first instance, who determines what a "legal" connection time is between legs of a flight, and how do they do that math when airport changes are involved? These poor folks are certain to mis-connect on the weekend before Christmas, and are unlikely to get rebooked for a day or two.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by hoopics View Post
Over on the D.C. trip advisor forum, a couple of flyers have popped up who purchased tickets on AA flying from LHR-MCO via IAD **and** DCA. The single ticket routing provides three hours for these travelers to arrive at IAD, collect luggage (as they won't check it all the way through to MCO), clear customs and immigration (often 90 minutes for non-US flyers), make their own way to DCA (often an hour in traffic), re-check their bags, re-clear security, and board their next flight. They're understandably freaked out about it, and AA was utterly unsympathetic about making any changes to the reservation -- the routing is "legal."

Putting aside the inexperienced travelers' decision to purchase the ticket in the first instance, who determines what a "legal" connection time is between legs of a flight, and how do they do that math when airport changes are involved? These poor folks are certain to mis-connect on the weekend before Christmas, and are unlikely to get rebooked for a day or two.
Each airline determines its own MCTs, based on the airline's willingness to protect in the event of missed connections.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by hoopics View Post
Over on the D.C. trip advisor forum, a couple of flyers have popped up who purchased tickets on AA flying from LHR-MCO via IAD **and** DCA. The single ticket routing provides three hours for these travelers to arrive at IAD, collect luggage (as they won't check it all the way through to MCO), clear customs and immigration (often 90 minutes for non-US flyers), make their own way to DCA (often an hour in traffic), re-check their bags, re-clear security, and board their next flight. They're understandably freaked out about it, and AA was utterly unsympathetic about making any changes to the reservation -- the routing is "legal."

Putting aside the inexperienced travelers' decision to purchase the ticket in the first instance, who determines what a "legal" connection time is between legs of a flight, and how do they do that math when airport changes are involved? These poor folks are certain to mis-connect on the weekend before Christmas, and are unlikely to get rebooked for a day or two.
This is highly doubtful to be doable. How AA determined this is doable god only knows. Dollars to donuts this is a cheap fare and AA doesn't give a rat's you know what if a pax spends a couple of extra days at DCA trying to get to MCO. From my experience you often find a "main cabin" cheap ticket but with an awful connection.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 1:24 pm
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AA accepts the responsibility for a misconnect and thus sets the MCT. Whether that is within SCT (Sensible Connection Time) is a matter for the individual.

AA has four nonstops to MCO as well as inumerable other connections. Thus, a misconnect should not be a significant problem.

However, looking at the AA website, I don't see the LHR-IAD/DCA-MCO on offer. This leads me to believe that some TA has put together a package of some sort which includes separate tickets or some form of forced stopover. Those passengers will hopefully check their e-tickets carefully. AA does protect across separate tickets, but they will have none of the other benefits of an EU departure, e.g. EC 261/2004 as to a misconnect.

Last edited by Often1; Dec 21, 18 at 1:29 pm
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Old Dec 21, 18, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by hoopics View Post
Over on the D.C. trip advisor forum, a couple of flyers have popped up who purchased tickets on AA flying from LHR-MCO via IAD **and** DCA. The single ticket routing provides three hours for these travelers to arrive at IAD, collect luggage (as they won't check it all the way through to MCO), clear customs and immigration (often 90 minutes for non-US flyers), make their own way to DCA (often an hour in traffic), re-check their bags, re-clear security, and board their next flight. They're understandably freaked out about it, and AA was utterly unsympathetic about making any changes to the reservation -- the routing is "legal."

Putting aside the inexperienced travelers' decision to purchase the ticket in the first instance, who determines what a "legal" connection time is between legs of a flight, and how do they do that math when airport changes are involved? These poor folks are certain to mis-connect on the weekend before Christmas, and are unlikely to get rebooked for a day or two.
A lot is going to depend on what time of day the flight arrives and how long it takes to get out of security. If its 2:00 pm on a Tuesday, The Dulles Access Road to DCA will take you 40 to 45 minutes. If its 5:30 on a Friday, the Dulles Access Road to DCA will take you 1:05.

If this was a 3:30 connection time, I'd be more comfortable.

OTOH, its not like DCA-MCO is a 2x weekly route. There are daily flights and lots of connections.

Finally, is the connection time really 3:00 or 2:45 or 2:50 and they are rounding? I see BA 217 gets into IAD at 2:55 and then AA 1649 leaves DCA at 5:45. That's 2:50 which IMHO violates SCT standards.

Last edited by IADCAflyer; Dec 21, 18 at 1:32 pm
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Old Dec 21, 18, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post
If its 5:30 on a Friday, the Dulles Access Road to DCA will take you 1:05.
If you're lucky.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 2:14 pm
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post
Finally, is the connection time really 3:00 or 2:45 or 2:50 and they are rounding? I see BA 217 gets into IAD at 2:55 and then AA 1649 leaves DCA at 5:45. That's 2:50 which IMHO violates SCT standards.
The person indicated it is a weekend day that the travel is occurring

Today, 22/12 and tomorrow 23/12, AA6168 arrives into IAD at 14:55 and AA 1649 departs at 1800 , which gives a 3 hours 5 minutes connection time

Not being a weekday, hopefully traffic is not too bad

If they misconnect, AA will be responsible for paying for a hotel for the night and getting them on the next morning's flight - the 07:00 has availability - I dont see why they are certain to misconnect nor that , if they do, they wont be able to get on another flight ; if people are telling them this doom and gloom , I am not surprised that they are freaking out

The standard MCT for International to domestiic connection between IAD and DCA is 3 hours , so this is quite legal and no reason to freak out

Last edited by Dave Noble; Dec 21, 18 at 2:23 pm
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Old Dec 21, 18, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
The person indicated it is a weekend day that the travel is occurring

Today, 22/12 and tomorrow 23/12, AA6168 arrives into IAD at 14:55 and AA 1649 departs at 1800 , which gives a 3 hours 5 minutes connection time

Not being a weekday, hopefully traffic is not too bad

If they misconnect, AA will be responsible for paying for a hotel for the night and getting them on the next morning's flight - the 07:00 has availability

The standard MCT for International to domestiic connection between IAD and DCA is 3 hours , so this is quite legal and no reason to freak out
Usually thats true, but do bear in mind this is the -Saturday- before Christmas. AA 1649 is listed as sold out. Probably not the only plane flying out of DCA's C concourse that is sold out tomorrow.

Remember DCA's checkin cutoff for baggage is 45 minutes.

This will be one to watch.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 2:25 pm
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I live in the area. I think it's doable but could be tight depending on traffic.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS View Post
I live in the area. I think it's doable but could be tight depending on traffic.
4:30: people will be settling down to watch the Redskins lose.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 2:35 pm
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post
Usually thats true, but do bear in mind this is the -Saturday- before Christmas. AA 1649 is listed as sold out. Probably not the only plane flying out of DCA's C concourse that is sold out tomorrow.

Remember DCA's checkin cutoff for baggage is 45 minutes.

This will be one to watch.
That's where I come out on this for them -- they might make it onto the plane with a few minutes to spare, but the check-in counter staff at DCA are fairly ruthless on checked bags, and I could see that 45 minute cutoff dooming them. Here's the TA thread if anyone is interested; https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi..._Columbia.html (Sorry if posting the link violates a posting rule I don't know about).
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Old Dec 21, 18, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post
Usually thats true, but do bear in mind this is the -Saturday- before Christmas. AA 1649 is listed as sold out. Probably not the only plane flying out of DCA's C concourse that is sold out tomorrow.

Remember DCA's checkin cutoff for baggage is 45 minutes.

This will be one to watch.
So - it may be sold out but they will be able to get checked in and get boarding passes , so no real reason to worry on that score ; if they were to misconnect, Sunday flights are not sold out
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Old Dec 21, 18, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by wetrat0 View Post
If you're lucky.
Yes, if he make it or not. He should be just fine.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 3:12 pm
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Originally Posted by newyorkgeorge View Post
This is highly doubtful to be doable. How AA determined this is doable god only knows. Dollars to donuts this is a cheap fare and AA doesn't give a rat's you know what if a pax spends a couple of extra days at DCA trying to get to MCO. From my experience you often find a "main cabin" cheap ticket but with an awful connection.
While airlines are free to set their own MCTs, none of the major airlines have overriden the default MCT between IAD and DCA; they all follow the 3h00m default. While I am no American fan, AA did not "determine this" by themselves.
Code:
IAD  STANDARD MINIMUM CONNECTING TIMES                                          
IAD-DCA      FROM      -             TO         D/D D/I I/D I/I                 
CC FLTN-FLTR ORGN EQPTM-CC FLTN-FLTR DEST EQPTM HMM HMM HMM HMM                 
                       -                        300 300 300 300                 
CK SPECIFIC CARRIER FOR EXCEPTIONS TO STANDARD CONNECTING TIMES                 
PRECLEARANCE MAY APPLY
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Old Dec 21, 18, 3:51 pm
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I think on a weekend as long as they get in on time at IAD, they will just make this work, but I would never do it. Traffic at DCA has also been all over the place, so if they have road closures on the main access road to DCA because of the new terminal construction, that could cause added delays.

Personally, I avoid IAD like the plague. (FWIW, DCA is my home airport.)
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