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BA Connections in Miami, NY or Fort Worth. Which would be least awful with kids?

BA Connections in Miami, NY or Fort Worth. Which would be least awful with kids?

Old Jan 12, 12, 3:18 am
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BA Connections in Miami, NY or Fort Worth. Which would be least awful with kids?

Hello

I am doing an open jaw flight into IAD and out of Orlando in late August and want to book today ideally. I will have to change on the way back with a small child and an infant. Does anyone have any experience as to which of these airports would be the least awful connection. I have heard bad things about Miami... Also, if my husband and I both have BA silver cards are there any airside lounges that we could all at least get a drink in whilst we wait.

Thanks for any opinions.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 3:26 am
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Assuming you're starting and finishing in London, why not fly direct from Orlando to Gatwick?
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Old Jan 12, 12, 3:28 am
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Well neither are brilliant, with DFW being marginally better - Miami seems to go on and on for ever, though there is now a Skytrain running down part of the North terminal. DFW has better inter-terminal transport. Probably the key issue is your connection time - which ever gives you more time to transfer, so you don't feel you need to rush to the gate. As is often the issue, you could strike lucky and find that your inwards and outwards planes leave from a similar gate, so a perusual of the airports' websites arrival information may give you some hints about that.

Both airports have AA lounges if going on to a OneWorld flight, though they are not terribly exciting.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 4:01 am
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Thanks for the really quick replies. I am only trying to avoid flying directly back from Orlando as changing seems to save a fortune. I had read something on another thread here which suggested that sometimes you got your luggage back off AA and had to check it in again in some of the US airports and would be keen to avoid that.

Maybe I will go for Fort Worth and not too short a connection time...
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Old Jan 12, 12, 4:11 am
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As a father of three, I'd say you want to look at the flight times and think how they fit with the bed-time routine.

All three of those hubs will I believe see bags checked right through to London - you do however tend to have to pick up the bags on the way into the country (so LHR-MIA-MCO).

JFK has the disadvantage that you'll have to re-clear security when you go between the AA and BA terminals. It's also a shorter overnight flight home so less time for any meaningful sleep after dinner is served.

MIA has the advantage of being the shortest connecting flight (so you're not getting kind of settled) and depending what your kids are like, I reckon the 7pm departure from Orlando with a 2.5hr connection in MIA onto the new 10.30pm flight to London is a good combination. Maybe eat (or at least feed them) in transit at Miami, then you'll be boarding the plane about 9.45pm so with any luck they'll be as good as asleep by the time you take off, waking up for breakfast the next day.

The non-stop from Orlando can presumably be had at better prices if you can be flexible with dates, maybe? The earlier of the two flights however is a bit of a pig - you take off about 5pm, service takes ages then you get 2hrs with the lights off before breakfast. You then have a marathon long day ahead of you, trying to keep the kids going until their normal bed-time.

Another non-stop option is out of Tampa which is just over an hour's drive from Disney, but again has a rather early take off time.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 4:35 am
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I generally try and avoid connecting at US airports if I can, since most of them are pretty awful. JFK is particularly painful if you have to change terminals, since the security lines are so long.

I second Swiss Tony's suggestion to be flexible with your dates on the direct flight from Orlando, or to fly from Tampa, which is also a nice airport. The direct flight from Tampa is generally cheaper than the flights from Orlando.

I haven't flown from Miami in a long time, but I think it would be a much better bet than JFK.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 4:49 am
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Originally Posted by belsize77 View Post
Maybe I will go for Fort Worth and not too short a connection time...
Based on very recent feedback from members of my HHA DFW gets a definite 'thumbs up'. Inter-terminal connection (e.g. Terminal 'D' - which, I believe, BA uses - to, say, Terminal 'B') is a relative breeze.

LHR-DFW-XXX you will have to clear US Customs at DFW and immediately hand your bags back to AA for the connecting domestic flight.

XXX-DFW-LHR your bags should be checked-in all the way through to LHR at XXX. Just watch out for AA's apparent complete lack of knowledge of baggage allowance when connecting from AA to a BA flight.

Another plus point is that BA LHR-DFW is, at least currently, operated by a 744.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 5:23 am
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Just be mindful of cutting the connection too tight.

Not sure of your travel dates but if it's August you can expect to incur the wrath of Florida's weather with torrential rain and electrical storms potentially putting a halt on flights for some time. I believe these storms tend to come along in the afternoon, too, which probably coincides with your departure, so allowing an extra hour in the transfer is probably wise.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 5:26 am
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Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer View Post
Based on very recent feedback from members of my HHA DFW gets a definite 'thumbs up'. Inter-terminal connection (e.g. Terminal 'D' - which, I believe, BA uses - to, say, Terminal 'B') is a relative breeze.

LHR-DFW-XXX you will have to clear US Customs at DFW and immediately hand your bags back to AA for the connecting domestic flight.

XXX-DFW-LHR your bags should be checked-in all the way through to LHR at XXX. Just watch out for AA's apparent complete lack of knowledge of baggage allowance when connecting from AA to a BA flight.

Another plus point is that BA LHR-DFW is, at least currently, operated by a 744.
Both Miami flights are operated by 744s as well.

I was pleasantly surprised by Miami immigration last month - only took 5 minutes. But the security was still a bit of a mess. But coming in from a domestic flight on the way back, we didn't have to re-clear security. There is an airside connection from the D concourse (AA) to E concourse (BA). Just tear out the terminal map from the AA inflight magazine to help guide you.

I guess at the end of the day it'll depend on connections and travel time. I think the MIA is a shorter route, but going through DFW will get you more avios.

Last edited by BlackBerryAddict; Jan 12, 12 at 6:09 am Reason: BA departs from E, not F
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Old Jan 12, 12, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by BlackBerryAddict View Post
Both Miami flights are operated by 744s as well.
Third MIA flight from late March is a 777, but given the OP makes no mention of class of travel and discusses status for lounge access, we can probably assume they're in Y.

As such, which is better for a party of 3 (plus infant)? Does the 747 have bassinet positions on the side or just in the middle?

(Less of a question on the 777 as the seats are 3-3-3)
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Old Jan 12, 12, 6:03 am
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Originally Posted by BlackBerryAddict View Post
I was pleasantly surprised by Miami immigration last month - only took 5 minutes. But the security was still a bit of a mess. But coming in from a domestic flight on the way back, we didn't have to re-clear security. There is an airside connection from the D concourse (AA) to F concourse (BA). Just tear out the terminal map from the AA inflight magazine to help guide you.
BA is now operating from the E concourse (normally gate E8). This is linked to the D concourse (AA) by a longish walkway that is next to one of the sky train stations. I did an AA domestic to BA transit there 3 weeks ago and it was very simple (no security or bag rechecking to do) but there is a fair bit of walking which may be an issue with the kids. I did find the signage a little bit confusing although that might just be me and it didn't take me long to figure out where to go.

I quite liked the new lounge (BA/IB Premium Lounge) which is above the entrance of the E concourse (still airside though). There are quite a few corners with tables and chairs you would be able to occupy with the family while you wait.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 6:09 am
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Originally Posted by tdng View Post
BA is now operating from the E concourse (normally gate E8). This is linked to the D concourse (AA) by a longish walkway that is next to one of the sky train stations. I did an AA domestic to BA transit there 3 weeks ago and it was very simple (no security or bag rechecking to do) but there is a fair bit of walking which may be an issue with the kids. I did find the signage a little bit confusing although that might just be me and it didn't take me long to figure out where to go.
Apologies - you're right about the concourse. Post corrected.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 6:19 am
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Thanks so much everyone. This level of detail is incredibly helpful! For reference, we would be flying out of London to Washington and back to London in Y as there is no miles availability around my dates to use my amex voucher. I would be travelling probably from the 19 to the 29th.

Great points about the weather for connections and also the seating for a group of three. We have flown a reasonable amount but I am still not used to the older child having his own seat.

Ironically the prices are changing so quickly in the last 24 hours that the savings are not so great on connecting flights home any more but still maybe worth it.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 7:15 am
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Check the prices on the AA website as well. They can still put you on a BA flight back to London across the pond, but have more connecting options on hand, too.

Oh, and we did Florida in July 2010 with the kids, and decided it was just too hot. Are you absolutely tied to the school holidays as if not you should make the most of it while you can!

There seems to be nothing in the fare between Economy and Economy+ for the journey back on the non-stop flights from Orlando, and http://matrix.itasoftware.com is a good site for throwing back various combinations of flights for you in one go, like this one for 572 per adult.

London (LHR) to Washington (IAD) - Sun, Aug 19 Hide Details
British Airways 293 Dep: 5:15pm Arr: 8:20pm 8h 5m Boeing 777 Coach (O)

Orlando (MCO) to Miami (MIA) - Wed, Aug 29
American 2047 Dep: 4:25pm Arr: 5:30pm 1h 5m Boeing 757 Coach (O)
Layover in MIA 3h 10m

Miami (MIA) to London (LHR) - Wed, Aug 29
British Airways 208 Dep: 8:40pm Arr: 10:00am 8h 20m Boeing 747 Coach (O)

Last edited by Swiss Tony; Jan 12, 12 at 7:40 am
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Old Jan 12, 12, 9:40 am
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Out of those 3 I would go for Dallas every time - a great airport for connections.

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