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1:05 enough connection time in SAL from HAV to SFO? And other questions.

1:05 enough connection time in SAL from HAV to SFO? And other questions.

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Old May 19, 19, 1:36 am
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Question 1:05 enough connection time in SAL from HAV to SFO? And other TACA/Avianca questions

I've only found old threads describing the connection time in SAL, so...

My wife and I might fly HAV-SAL-SFO next year, starting in the late afternoon with a 1 hr, 5 min. connection in SAL. FWIW, we're US citizens, would be in business class, would only have carry-on luggage, and these would be award tickets obtained from Aeroplan. The two flights would be on TACA, though SAL-SFO latter is listed as an Avianca flight number. I have a couple of questions:

1. Is 1:05 sufficient connection time in San Salvador?
2. Any extra connection time or hassles required because we're originating in Cuba and going to the USA?
3. If I understand the situation correctly, TACA and Avianca are now a merged airline. So we should be able to get our boarding passes for both flights before the start of our journey. Is that correct?

Thanks for any advice.

Last edited by Thunderroad; May 20, 19 at 9:24 am
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Old May 19, 19, 9:26 am
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
My wife and I might fly HAV-SAL-SFO next year, starting in the late afternoon with a 1 hr, 5 min. connection in SAL.
Why would you want to do this?

A quick google flights search shows that one-ways on HAV-SFO come in cheaper than a one-way on HAV-SAL. It doesn't appear to be about saving money, but it doesn't seem to be about seeing SAL, either, given you want to take a 65-minute connection.

Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
1. Is 1:05 sufficient connection time in San Salvador?
When you are travelling on separate tickets, the goal should be to maximise the amount of time you allow yourself in order to make the connection.

If you are completely OK with buying 2 new tickets for immediate departure to SFO if your first flight should be delayed or diverted, then go for it.

If not, then I would advise you to consider a different strategy.
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Old May 19, 19, 5:03 pm
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
Why would you want to do this?

A quick google flights search shows that one-ways on HAV-SFO come in cheaper than a one-way on HAV-SAL. It doesn't appear to be about saving money, but it doesn't seem to be about seeing SAL, either, given you want to take a 65-minute connection.



When you are travelling on separate tickets, the goal should be to maximise the amount of time you allow yourself in order to make the connection.

If you are completely OK with buying 2 new tickets for immediate departure to SFO if your first flight should be delayed or diverted, then go for it.

If not, then I would advise you to consider a different strategy.
Thanks for the reply. You might have missed a few things about the potential itinerary I identified. Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding you. In any event:

1. The potential itinerary is about saving money (since these would be award flights) and flying business class.
2. Going via SAL seems to be the best business class award option available.
3. I believe that it would not be two separate tickets, since it would all be on TACA, but that's why I asked about TACA/Avianca in my OP. I can of course confirm that before using the miles, but thought I'd ask here as well for the value added of FT info and perspectives.

Thanks again.
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Old May 19, 19, 11:14 pm
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TACA Is now Avianca. The tickets are Avianca but the legal carrier is either TACA or LACSA which are both the predecessor companies and still the actual carriers.

I doubt an Aeroplan ticket would be issued as two tickets as that would be two awards. Unless you have a lot of points using two awards is crazy.

TACA/Avianca has a big service desk at SAL and a decent J lounge. I don't know about WiFi in HAV but you could check-in online. Or using the SAL club WiFi or in HAV or at the service desk in SAL.

Luggage aside, two tickets or one, the Avianca check-in counter in HAV is still an Avianca counter and I can't see why they could not check someone in on a separate ticket if you indeed have two.

SAL has IIRC 12 gates in one row. You can walk from gate 1 to 12 in about 5 minutes. There is no immigration or security except to USA and as collateral damage to that process, to Canada as well, too bad for both of us. I have connected in SAL maybe 60 times.

As to the connection time. It's lots. Walk to the next gate stopping at the club or service counter in the weird case you actually have 2 tickets and can't get a BP.

I've arrived ex MGA at 710 am for a 750 am flight to Toronto and was amazed at how they cleared 4 arriving flights through the security theatre in about 15 minutes. I can't imagine there's value added at that speed. It's as silly as Copa's gate check in PTY.

Finally Avianca has a forum here. I've suggested to the mods to move this.
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Last edited by ricktoronto; May 23, 19 at 9:02 pm
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Old May 20, 19, 3:41 am
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
3. I believe that it would not be two separate tickets, since it would all be on TACA, but that's why I asked about TACA/Avianca in my OP. I can of course confirm that before using the miles, but thought I'd ask here as well for the value added of FT info and perspectives.
If your intention is to book a HAV-SFO ticket, then you need not concern yourself with whether there is a connection, nor where it is and how long it takes.

The agent issuing the ticket (which in this case sounds like your FFP) will take care of all of that. And it's not in their interest to book you on itineraries that are unlikely to be feasible.

You can only book itineraries that are offered to you. If they are offering you a 1:05 connection, then that means that the airline believes it is manageable. Likewise, if they don't offer you a ticket that involves a 1:05 connection in SAL, then you can't demand that they give you such a ticket. You don't need to second guess them; if for whatever reason you miss your flight, the airline will have to rebook you as they have a duty to get you to your ticketed final destination.
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Old May 22, 19, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
SAL has IIRC 12 gates in one row. You can walk from gate 1 to 12 in about 5 minutes. There is no immigration or security except to USA and as collateral damage to that process, to Canada as well, too bad for both of us. I have connected in SAL maybe 60 times.
I have much more limited experience connecting here, but in one instance the inbound parked at a remote stand and we were taken by bus to the terminal. The bus didn't arrive right away and altogether the process added extra time before we were inside. We were offloaded at nearly the opposite end of the terminal from the gate area for US-bound flights. There was a backup of about 15 minutes to get through the security screening to access the US gate area. Altogether it took about 30 minutes from the plane parking to when we were at the departure gate. Which would still be fine for the OP, assuming the inbound isn't very late. Just that it's possible to take longer than you'd expect for such a small airport. (No idea if bussing is very common here either)

I wouldn't worry about it if I were the OP anyway.
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Old May 23, 19, 9:08 pm
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TACA/Avianca pad their schedules like Copa does and they practice cram and leave so when everyone is crammed on the plane they leave. I've left 30 minutes early. I've actually arrived on intra Central America flights before the departure time. SAL MGA is only 35 minutes and I've left 45 minutes early as an example. So HAV may leave PDQ.

So likely you'll be early and the bus thing would be rare. I've never seen a bus nor been put in one other than once on Copa in Panama.

If this is the one flight a day to SFO they will be acutely aware you're inbound from HAV and are likely to make sure you board. They know stranding often non Spanish speakers in SAL for a day is bad for business and will try to avoid it. Maybe less so if you're it for connecting passengers or the HAV flight is hours late.

Irishguy28 isn't wrong in that they owe you a duty to get you there but in a super whacked situation don't expect US level service in CA airports. They'll do their best but there's a lot of people with little authority at times.

Last edited by ricktoronto; May 23, 19 at 9:14 pm
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Old May 24, 19, 7:38 am
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I was also wondering about these short connections at SAL as 50-55min connections were popping up when I was researching a NY-South America routing on Avianca recently. I ended up opting to go through BOG with a longer connection instead. But still, good to know that these 1hr connections are totally doable in SAL for future reference. Also good to know that there's a decent lounge and you only need to re-clear security if heading to the U.S..
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Old May 24, 19, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by jbb View Post
I was also wondering about these short connections at SAL as 50-55min connections were popping up when I was researching a NY-South America routing on Avianca recently. I ended up opting to go through BOG with a longer connection instead. But still, good to know that these 1hr connections are totally doable in SAL for future reference. Also good to know that there's a decent lounge and you only need to re-clear security if heading to the U.S..
Yes the old lounge was like a rec room from the 1960's and the new one is like an IKEA showroom but it is clean and bright. The speed of the security lines is something to witness, but it is not Hong Kong efficient, as much as it's just look for water and not much else. Panama has the same well, we have to do it so let's look like we are, hence the speed. Just move PDQ to security on a 50 minute connection. All these gates are at one end so they screen 4-5 gates at once vs. the Panama model of a tiny x-ray (no metal detector) at each gate. So it is a bit more bedlam.

Also be aware going to USA or Canada they check your passport closely, and it's not you, they get a lot of fakes and a lot of cousins using the cousins ID. The more you look like a gringo the less scrutiny you face.

If you are going to book through SAL have a look at the on time record of your inbound flights. You may see more than a few really early departures and well more than 50 minutes to connect as a result. Heading south there's no reason to go via BOG as there are none of these formalities, just walk to the next gate or via the lounge.
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Old May 28, 19, 5:47 pm
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Thanks very much for this info and advice folks, and especially thanks to ricktoronto for all of this useful input.
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