Am I setting myself up to miss my flight?

Old Aug 24, 18, 2:52 pm
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Am I setting myself up to miss my flight?

Dropping a friend off at LAX for a 11:30am flight on Saturday October 27th. She's going out AA first class to JFK so she'll be able to access the lounge and flagship first dining, so I can get her there a little early and I don't think she'll mind too much. I'm aiming for dropping her off at 9am.

Now here is the issue on my flight.... I'm flying out of SNA on Delta at 11:25am. I will have a Silver Car to return at SNA so I know that will add some time. I haven't been to SNA before (but will be flying in so I will get a feel for the airport at least) but I know it's smaller then LAX and more like BUR, I.E. really easy to get past security and find your gate. If I leave LAX at 9am, is that enough time to drive on a Saturday morning to SNA, return my Silver Car, and catch an 11:25 am flight? Right now traffic is showing the route takes 1 hr and 15 min, last night in the middle of the night with no traffic it showed 41 minutes. That means I could reach SNA's Silver Car return at 10:15am, that's 70 minutes to return the Silver Car, have them drive me to SNA and get past security. Silver Car drop off to SNA shows 4 min, 1.1 mile on MacArthur Blvd. Is 60 minutes enough time to get past security at SNA and to my gate for my Delta flight? I'm TSA PreCheck and flying F on Delta, but I don't know if SNA offers a PreCheck lane OR a priority lane for F passengers.

My issue is that I'm going to a Cirque du Soleil show in SEA (well, just outside SEA in Redmond) that night at 8pm. If I take a later Delta flight out of SNA the schedule shows I land at 5:56pm in SEA. That leaves just about 2 hours to rent my new Silver Car and drive ~40 min to Marymoor Park. I know sometimes the shuttle from SEA to the off site rental car lot can take like 15 minutes, so that gives me a buffer of like 60 minutes before the show starts if we're delayed on the runway at SNA or getting to our gate at SEA and maybe to stuff something in my mouth to eat... so I'm tight on one end no matter what... which do you think is do-able without setting myself up for failure?


3rd Option.... is there anyway on delta for someone without status to not pay a huge amount to change an award flight? It's been longer then 24 hours from when I booked it, but I'm exactly 55 days out from departure right now. I would be flying the same day but changing it from SEA to SNA to SEA to LAX instead. Initially I was trying to avoid LAX and traffic from LAX to Disneyland BUT, due to schedules the only flight that works for my friend is going into LAX and out of LAX.... soooooo, I'll be there anyway. (This would allow me to rent my Silver Car from the LAX location and depart back home from LAX instead of SNA -- Silver Car does not offer 1 way rentals between SNA and LAX)

Worst case option, switch my return home flight (not yet booked) to Alaska departing SNA at 11:55 am (which give me 30 extra minutes for my mad dash from LAX). Doing so means I pay out of pocket instead of an award ticket, current F fare is $278, also means I lose the E175 that Delta is using which has the single seats in F (since I'm flying solo) and instead would be on a 737-800 with a 2x2 F cabin...

Last edited by acarney; Aug 24, 18 at 2:59 pm
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Old Aug 24, 18, 2:56 pm
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Why don't you just have your friend take uber to LAX
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Old Aug 24, 18, 3:00 pm
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IIRC it still costs nonelites $150 to change and redeposit each (one way or RT) DL award ticket. The bigger question is whether new flights will cost a lot more miles. [If your friend can guest you into the AA lounge even though you're flying DL--check their rules very carefully--you might decide that this could make up for moving from FC to coach on your flight to SEA.]
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Old Aug 24, 18, 3:01 pm
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I second uber or asking your friend if she can be dropped off earlier. When I take a free ride I am normally flexible
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Old Aug 24, 18, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by pvn View Post
Why don't you just have your friend take uber to LAX
I'm not sure how much the Uber cost would be from the Universal Studios area (staying at the Hilton there) and just feels like of "not classy" or something to just put her on an Uber at ~7:30am and sending her off to LAX...

It's an option that I can certainly ask her if she minds... she honestly might not care... but I don't know, it's just not the first thing I would think of doing...
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Old Aug 24, 18, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by acarney View Post
I'm not sure how much the Uber cost would be from the Universal Studios area (staying at the Hilton there) and just feels like of "not classy" or something to just put her on an Uber at ~7:30am and sending her off to LAX...

It's an option that I can certainly ask her if she minds... she honestly might not care... but I don't know, it's just not the first thing I would think of doing...
It depends on your relationship (or intended relationship) with the person, as well as how often you see each other, how much travel experience she has, etc. Friend covers a lot of situations.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
IIRC it still costs nonelites $150 to change and redeposit each (one way or RT) DL award ticket. The bigger question is whether new flights will cost a lot more miles. [If your friend can guest you into the AA lounge even though you're flying DL--check their rules very carefully--you might decide that this could make up for moving from FC to coach on your flight to SEA.]
No guests into the Flagship Lounge and certainly not into FFD on a TCON F ticket.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 3:42 pm
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I'd budget an hour to drive the 40 miles between the airports early Sat morning, assuming no major slowdowns (big events, accidents, etc). So you arrive at SilverCar around 10 am....mmm.
I'd try and be leaving LAX at 8.30, latest.
I however have a deep dislike of rushing through airports. YMMV.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 3:52 pm
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...so I can get her there a little early and I don't think she'll mind too much. I'm aiming for dropping her off at 9am..."
I would strongly suggest she not mind at all being dropped off around 8am, not 9 am. She'll have plenty to do and you just might make your flight . There are so many unknown variables with traffic between LAX and SNA, unless you are a major league thrill seeker, you will not have a fun time trying to catch that flight if you leave at 9am. Far better to be bored in the gate at SNA than sat in a fender-bender on the 405 at 11:29am.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by acarney View Post
I'm not sure how much the Uber cost would be from the Universal Studios area (staying at the Hilton there) and just feels like of "not classy" or something to just put her on an Uber at ~7:30am and sending her off to LAX...

It's an option that I can certainly ask her if she minds... she honestly might not care... but I don't know, it's just not the first thing I would think of doing...
How much would missing your flight cost?

Is being classy more important than making your flight?

These are the questions you need to be thinking about given what we know so far.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 4:05 pm
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Under normal conditions on a Saturday morning, this sounds tight, but doable. I'd try to drop off your friend a little earlier though in case anything goes wrong. Unfortunately, since AA flies out of T4-5, you'll have to drive all the way around the "loop" of LAX if you're going to drop her off curbside. Depending on how crowded it is at that time, there's the potential to spend a lot of time in traffic at LAX proper to make your way around the whole loop. I think dropping her off at 8 would give you plenty of time, maybe 8:30 at the latest. (There's a LAX traffic thread going on in the Los Angeles forum right now which might be of some help to you too).

SNA is bigger than BUR, but still small. They have precheck lines (I haven't flown out of there recently on Delta, but have several times on Southwest. Everything is connected post-security, but Southwest is closer to a different checkpoint so can't speak to the DL priority line - with precheck though, I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes to get through security, usually it's under 5 for me).
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Old Aug 24, 18, 5:06 pm
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So from the points I'm getting, would 8:30am drop off push me into the "most likely make it category" or am I still on the bleeding edge of screwing myself over?

The cost of missing the flight would be big (probably missed Cirque show, ~$300). However, I have a last ditch option of picking a 11:55am Alaska flight out of SNA (instead of the Delta 11:25am). The only cost to that is I don't get to use my Amex points via Delta transfer for a free flight. Instead I pay $278 and give up the E175 for a 737-800. If this is looking insane to everyone I'll give up the single F seat rows that the Delta E175 offers and switch to AS and cough up the money. I haven't booked that return flight yet. I gain 30 minutes on a slightly later flight and I could still aim for 8:30am drop off at LAX for my friend. (Total time I have from LAX to flight leaving SNA would then be 3 hours and 25 min)

I'm not a huge fan of rushing through airports or making really tight schedules, but at the same time every time I find myself packing a trip so damn full that I get stressed somewhere and am always in a rush... soooo, I can't help it :P (Hence the added Cirque show, the vacation is the week in LA doing 3 Halloween events and Disney 3 days and Universal a day, I just realized I connect through Seattle and there happens to be a touring Cirque show that same day, so lets pack that in too!)
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Old Aug 24, 18, 5:21 pm
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well, for all of OP’s “loyalty” talk about AS vs DL, why does OP not look at “loyalty” associated w SilverCar? suck it up with a rental from some other outfit that allows a one-way rental SNA—>LAX ...
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Old Aug 24, 18, 5:28 pm
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Please forgive me if my response seems unsympathetic, but I'm having a great deal of trouble understanding why you are choosing to put yourself in this dilemma. Is this other person truly a friend, or is this someone of influence you are trying to impress and/or curry favor with? The way you describe it, you are doing this person a big favor by driving them to LAX when your flight leaves out of SNA. People take carbs and Uber to LAX from all over the greater Los Angeles area every day. It's really no big deal. Yet you are willing to potentially miss your flight, pay a considerable sum to change your flight and then possibly eat the cost of a theater ticket. All because you are afraid to ask this other person if they can be dropped off earlier at LAX, or take a cab/Uber? Why is that?
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Old Aug 24, 18, 6:07 pm
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
well, for all of OP’s “loyalty” talk about AS vs DL, why does OP not look at “loyalty” associated w SilverCar? suck it up with a rental from some other outfit that allows a one-way rental SNA—>LAX ...
Because the CSR offers 30% discount with Silver Car, making it very competitive. I'm also familiar with the A4 which lessens the stress with driving with crazy LA traffic. I also want a car that has decent power (so no low end econo boxes) for merging on and off LA freeways and something with built in sat nav since I'm not terrible familiar with driving around LA. (Only visit about once a year for the last couple years).
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