Why the "impossible" connections on AA?

Old Jul 20, 22, 4:57 pm
  #1  
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Why the "impossible" connections on AA?

I had pretty much stopped business travel since the start of Covid, but been flying a lot lately on AA (unfortunately) up and down the east coast. Almost all flights now thru CLT are all "impossible" connections, at 30 minutes. If anything at all goes wrong, and the connecting flight leaves on time, you are screwed. Fortunately AA is so messed up right now that I am able to make 75% of connections since the connecting flight is delayed or they leave the door open longer than they are supposed to. I am getting too old to run between gates.

Why on earth do the insane AA ops planners think that a 30 minute connection is a valid connection? They know that passenger loading is so high right now that they cannot fit the misconnects in subsequent flights. Couldn't they alleviate a lot of badwill they are generating right now by overhauling their system to do at least 60 minute connections?
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Old Jul 20, 22, 5:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Jeffw5555 View Post
I had pretty much stopped business travel since the start of Covid, but been flying a lot lately on AA (unfortunately) up and down the east coast. Almost all flights now thru CLT are all "impossible" connections, at 30 minutes. If anything at all goes wrong, and the connecting flight leaves on time, you are screwed. Fortunately AA is so messed up right now that I am able to make 75% of connections since the connecting flight is delayed or they leave the door open longer than they are supposed to. I am getting too old to run between gates.

Why on earth do the insane AA ops planners think that a 30 minute connection is a valid connection? They know that passenger loading is so high right now that they cannot fit the misconnects in subsequent flights. Couldn't they alleviate a lot of badwill they are generating right now by overhauling their system to do at least 60 minute connections?
That would require the people that set up these schedules to #1) Care about people missing connections and #2) Be able to understand what is not a reasonable connection time. I think it all goes back to doing "banked" hubs and AA not realizing that this causes more issues.
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Old Jul 20, 22, 5:45 pm
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I'd add #3 - Search Results

Since #1 above applies and they don't care, shorter connections = shorter overall time traveled and I think that either pushes the result higher in the search or folks sort that way. I've been tripped up by this a few times until I drilled into the details to see how tight the connection is
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Old Jul 20, 22, 5:54 pm
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I don't get it either, but it's easy enough for me not to book them. Given all the advance press about how this was going to be the summer of misery, I haven't booked a connection shorter than 90 minutes. I've still spent the night in DFW and DEN, but the extra time has saved me more than once.
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Old Jul 20, 22, 6:45 pm
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Yesterday, I was looking to redeem some miles for a family trip and the only semi-reasonable mile requirements (under 50k for coach) were flights with those impossible segments. I'm not running through the airport with the wife and kids in tow, especially if we are sitting in MCE.
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Old Jul 20, 22, 7:46 pm
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All I know is I take tight connections thru clt all the time and I have never missed a connection. Maybe it is just luck but with tight connections I normally end up with two close gates. Now Atl kills me everytime,
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Old Jul 20, 22, 8:20 pm
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Originally Posted by tennessetom View Post
All I know is I take tight connections thru clt all the time and I have never missed a connection. Maybe it is just luck but with tight connections I normally end up with two close gates. Now Atl kills me everytime,
I'd call it luck. Some of AA's published MCTs for CLT border on physical impossibility, IMO. For example, I believe the mainline->regional domestic MCT is 0:35. Assuming an exactly on-time flight arrival and door closure 15 mins prior, that could give someone 20 minutes to deplane (potentially from the last row of a full plane) and then get from B15 all the way to E42 (granted an extreme example, but definitely a possibility). I'd be challenged doing that, even knowing my way around CLT.

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Old Jul 20, 22, 8:26 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyerBeek View Post
I'd call it luck. Some of AA's published MCTs for CLT border on physical impossibility, IMO. For example, I believe the mainline->regional domestic MCT is 0:35. Assuming an exactly on-time flight arrival and door closure 15 mins prior, that could give someone 20 minutes to deplane (potentially from the last row of a full plane) and then get from B15 all the way to E42 (granted an extreme example, but definitely a possibility). I'd be challenged doing that, even knowing my way around CLT.

-FlyerBeek
IMO, it's not pleasant but it's doable. CLT is crowded and everyone hates it, but it does function pretty well in terms of ease of connection. You do have to hustle though.

I showed up at CLT 22 mins before departure on Monday (brilliant Uber planning, I'll accept awards now) and we made it to D13.

IMO, PHX with it's 25 minute connections is far worse.
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Old Jul 20, 22, 8:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Antarius View Post
IMO, PHX with it's 25 minute connections is far worse.
Agree. 0:25 MCT anywhere is just lunacy.

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Old Jul 20, 22, 9:28 pm
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I've been dealing with a hell storm the last month of 60 minute connections basically turning into overnights or being put on much later flights out because a single disruption essentially jeopardizes any connection. Considering doors close 10-15 minutes beforehand. You really have even less time than advertised in your connection.
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Old Jul 21, 22, 6:57 am
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Originally Posted by safari ari View Post
I've been dealing with a hell storm the last month of 60 minute connections basically turning into overnights or being put on much later flights out because a single disruption essentially jeopardizes any connection. Considering doors close 10-15 minutes beforehand. You really have even less time than advertised in your connection.
Bingo. On a 35 minute connection you realistically have 25 minutes. Also what needs to be taken in account are delays parking because of no crew, jet bridge operator struggling with attaching the jet bridge (a real common occurrence) and how long it take you to actually step off the a/c.
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Old Jul 21, 22, 7:25 am
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Originally Posted by EXP100 View Post
....... jet bridge operator struggling with attaching the jet bridge (a real common occurrence) ......
This is what triggered me to post this thread. On my flight this week, it was a 30 minute connection. Flight pulled up to gate on time, only for the pilot to get on the horn and say "Sorry ladies and gentlemen, but the jetway is not working." Then he had the gall to say "the jetways are not managed by American, they are the responsibility of the City of Charlotte, we have called them but do not have any feedback of when they can resolve this." I didn't have a super-long run, end of C to end of B (At least it wasn't end of E to end of B)

When they got it going and finally got off the plane, I ran to my gate, and they closed the door right behind me.
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Old Jul 21, 22, 7:34 am
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I had a tight connection in DCA this week, but I had the choice of 40 min or 4.5 hrs. Luckily I still made it after we took off 20 mins late but I was one of the last to board. DCA has gotten slightly harder to connect with the new terminal, as it seems like I always have to switch between the D and E gates haha.
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Old Jul 21, 22, 7:41 am
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I can't help but think that AA is not doing this on purpose - after all AA had dozens of flights in a given bank. I don't think the planners and schedulers are purposely building in tight connections just to make people miserable. AA 1114 from DCA to CLT feeds passengers into upwards of 100 different destinations - from Florence, SC to Florence, Italy. If the schedule algorithm is such that DCA-CLT and DCA-FLO happen to meet the computer-mandated MCT, the airline systems view it as a legal connection and will publish it as such. I don't think there is a planner who wants a good laugh at Jeffw5555's expense and decides to create a connection that is next to impossible.

If anything, perhaps schedule planners and airport operational managers need to revisit what constitutes a valid MCT on a seasonal basis.

At the end of the day, airlines can publish schedules and passengers have the ability to accept a schedule or find something better (unless that tight MCT happens to be the only flight of the day or the last flight of the day). Personally, this summer, if there is less than a 60-minute connection, I'm finding a different routing.
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Old Jul 21, 22, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by MathMusic View Post
I had a tight connection in DCA this week, but I had the choice of 40 min or 4.5 hrs. Luckily I still made it after we took off 20 mins late but I was one of the last to board. DCA has gotten slightly harder to connect with the new terminal, as it seems like I always have to switch between the D and E gates haha.
The C and D and E gate issue has actually made things a little worse. The walk from C to E is not a short walk and there are moving walkways only in the corridor from D to E. The saving grace of 35X is the buses more or less sat there until the last passenger showed up (which caused bad behavior by people who knew how to abuse the system) and that 35X was close to National and the TSA security lines.
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