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Most Unrealistic Connection Times

Most Unrealistic Connection Times

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Old Aug 6, 19, 8:51 pm
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Most Unrealistic Connection Times

So AA loves offering me a 1 hour transfer in PHL which is actually doable with a prevailing wind, but the 1 hour 10 minute transfer they offer up as entirely reasonable for a transfer in LHR for an international flight which requires a terminal transfer on one of Heathrow’s nightmarish “B.O. buses” followed by immigration control, followed by another security screen, followed by a dash to the gate always seems to need more like 2 hours to complete.

Ever been suckered into a guaranteed missed connection by “the system” ?
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Old Aug 7, 19, 4:02 am
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Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
So AA loves offering me a 1 hour transfer in PHL which is actually doable with a prevailing wind, but the 1 hour 10 minute transfer they offer up as entirely reasonable for a transfer in LHR for an international flight which requires a terminal transfer on one of Heathrow’s nightmarish “B.O. buses” followed by immigration control, followed by another security screen, followed by a dash to the gate always seems to need more like 2 hours to complete.

Ever been suckered into a guaranteed missed connection by “the system” ?
You don't have to go through Immigration at LHR if transferring internationally. I agree it's tight with a terminal transfer but it's not that bad. UA offers 2 hours from international to domestic at SFO which is a joke as Immigration takes 2 hours, before you even get to the second security screen.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 6:52 am
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Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
So AA loves offering me a 1 hour transfer in PHL which is actually doable with a prevailing wind, but the 1 hour 10 minute transfer they offer up as entirely reasonable for a transfer in LHR for an international flight which requires a terminal transfer on one of Heathrow’s nightmarish “B.O. buses” followed by immigration control, followed by another security screen, followed by a dash to the gate always seems to need more like 2 hours to complete.

Ever been suckered into a guaranteed missed connection by “the system” ?
If you're talking specifically about the T3-T5 transfers at LHR, yeah I wouldn't take a 70 minute connection - which is really 60 minutes with the boarding cutoff 10 minutes prior to departure time. From gate arrival in T3 to clearing security screening in T5 (or vice-versa), has always been about 30-45 minutes in my experience. The bus is a big uncontrollable factor, I've had anything from 1 minute to 15 minute wait times for the bus to show up. And obviously it depends how busy security screening is including if my bag happens to get pulled for hand inspection or whatever. I'm always unlucky enough, it seems, to have the next flight departing from the far end of the terminal. I'm a fast walker in excellent shape so I certainly don't dawdle. If everything goes perfectly from start to finish, it's possible but 70 minutes would leave little margin for things to not go perfectly.

Anyway, to your larger point, I look at what is a "reasonable" connection for me, for that particular trip based on personal experience, seasonal weather, etc. All things being equal, I'd rather have a bit longer layover as opposed to be sweating it on a bare minimum connection time. Available backup options if I do misconnect can be a factor as well. Just depends on the particulars. Sometimes the MCT is reasonable but not always.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 7:09 am
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The MCT represents a carrier's willingness to accept the risk of a misconnect. Nothing more. It does not represent SCT (Sensible Connection Time). The latter represents what you as a passenger believes meets your schedule, capabilities and personal preferences.

I prefer short MCT's as they provide me the flexibility to make a responsible adult decision in light of my own schedule. Sometimes I have commitments on both ends so I book the short MCT. When I don't, I will book a more leisurely pace.

As with all travel, it is for the passenger to either know or research the best alternatives and make an informed choice as to what suits.

Blaming air carriers for offering what you don't want is the wrong way to look at this issue.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The MCT represents a carrier's willingness to accept the risk of a misconnect. Nothing more. It does not represent SCT (Sensible Connection Time). The latter represents what you as a passenger believes meets your schedule, capabilities and personal preferences.

I prefer short MCT's as they provide me the flexibility to make a responsible adult decision in light of my own schedule. Sometimes I have commitments on both ends so I book the short MCT. When I don't, I will book a more leisurely pace.

As with all travel, it is for the passenger to either know or research the best alternatives and make an informed choice as to what suits.

Blaming air carriers for offering what you don't want is the wrong way to look at this issue.
I agree, broadly, with this sentiment but I don't think that it's reasonable to offer consumers something that's pretty well guaranteed not to work. Not everyone is in a position either to know or to research, using reliable sources, the finer details of each major airport. Better to publish a MCT and a Reasonably Safe CT.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 12:34 pm
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Hi,

I think the BA MCT for a LHR T5-T3 or vice versa is 90mins so a bit surprised AA is willing to do a 70min MCT .

Regards

TBS
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Old Aug 8, 19, 12:42 pm
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MCTs should be updated to reflect airport construction realities. Currently international to any other terminal at ORD is a big mess, as are some LGA terminal changes (presumably all D-D), including some that previously were easily walkable in about ten minutes (although one would still need to go through TSA airport security).
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Old Aug 8, 19, 1:34 pm
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I once booked a trip from CPH to VRN via MUC with a layover of 30 minutes in MUC. This equals the MCT. I read on this board that MUC was excellent for connections, so I was confident. We landed at MUC on time but due to long taxi time (around to the other side of the airport) we arrived at the stand 11 minutes late. 19 minutes left. Arrival was at a remote stand, however, and the time from arrival at stand to departure of the bus was approx 9 minutes. Bus ride was 4 minutes, so upon arrival at the terminal, time left was 6 minutes. Upon arrival, the connecting flight was already removed from the departure board. But we gave it a try and ran. Departure gate was the furthest away and also via bus, and after 5 minutes of running, we arrived at the gate at T minus 1, only to find the gate deserted. Conclusion: even with an on-time arrival, 30 minutes connection is barely doable in MUC if you arrive at a remote stand.
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Last edited by chrismo2; Aug 8, 19 at 1:45 pm Reason: T-1 corrected to T minus 1
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Old Aug 8, 19, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
I agree, broadly, with this sentiment but I don't think that it's reasonable to offer consumers something that's pretty well guaranteed not to work. Not everyone is in a position either to know or to research, using reliable sources, the finer details of each major airport. Better to publish a MCT and a Reasonably Safe CT.
EC 261/2004 does that.

Chances are that a misconnect via LHR to the US will result in an arrival delay of at least 3, ir not 4 hours and that means EUR 300-600 depending on which one.

I suspect that the vast majority of 70-minute connections are made quite well. It's hardly in AA's interest to be stuck with empty seats from the misconnect and then the additional costs associated with rebooking and delay,
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Old Aug 8, 19, 8:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
Ever been suckered into a guaranteed missed connection by “the system” ?
ORD..........from the C gates in T2 over to the M gates in T5...............45 minutes and I had to clear security again. Made it by the skin of my teeth.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 8:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
So AA loves offering me a 1 hour transfer in PHL which is actually doable with a prevailing wind, but the 1 hour 10 minute transfer they offer up as entirely reasonable for a transfer in LHR for an international flight which requires a terminal transfer on one of Heathrow’s nightmarish “B.O. buses” followed by immigration control, followed by another security screen, followed by a dash to the gate always seems to need more like 2 hours to complete.

Ever been suckered into a guaranteed missed connection by “the system” ?
Yup.

When AA changed one of our flight times and then notified us of the new times.
Our connection time was approximately *negative* 4 hours. The first leg was due to arrive about 4 hours after the connecting flight was scheduled to leave.

Then, a year later, BA did the same thing, but "only" by about half an hour (not that it matters, of course).

But for "worst"/"most unrealistic", I guess that AA connection "wins".



GC
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Old Aug 9, 19, 12:26 am
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Hkg - gum - hnl

Aaaahhh, the days of mileage running, around the world from EWR, back to EWR through HNL, twice a month for two years. The connection in GUM to HNL was barely 40 min — and had to clear imm, cust, and go thr security again. But only once I didn’t make it; they had grounded all onward passengers to HNL, due to barely late arrival (we could have made it), and I finally got the manager Sue to admit it was a weight issue (summer, military families moving tons of stuff — 12 more passengers then overweight plane).
Mini vacation, all paid, courtesy of United! I politely insisted on a better hotel than offered, and was kindly granted it. What a great night in Guam! I met some Fedex pilots at the Westin, we partied, saw the MOST beautiful sunset in my life, and I STILL tell their CRAZY stories at cocktail parties! Their tales are better than any proctologist’s!
ps — all those flights? Always upgraded! Those were the days! (2016-18). Cheers!!!
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Old Aug 9, 19, 6:56 am
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DEN-CLT-MHT.

AA says 39 minutes is acceptable connection time in CLT.

I wouldn't touch that flight with a ten-foot pole.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian View Post
DEN-CLT-MHT.

AA says 39 minutes is acceptable connection time in CLT.

I wouldn't touch that flight with a ten-foot pole.
Me either. Same with AA or UA in DEN or ORD; 90 minutes is my P(ersonal)MCT for all of these.

UA once had an LAX-SBA-SJC route that had a 12 minute connection in SBA. Of course it was the same plane. Nonetheless, you had to get off, exit airside and go back through security.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 8:45 am
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Vie-lhr-dfw-aus

My story:

My route was VIE-LHR-DFW-AUS on BA/AA. Layover in LHR was 70 minutes (same terminal). VIE-LHR delayed in air by about 15 minutes; I resigned myself to missing my flight.

Of course, when I land I have to try to make it. I proceed at a brisk pace: AA extra sticker security, make my way to security, step over someone who crumpled on the walking sidewalk (much to their family's amusement - she'd apparently never been on or seen a moving sidewalk, and panicked), through security, to the gate, without breaking stride once. Walked onto the plane, sat down, door closed...

Layover in Dallas was supposed to be 90 minutes. LHR-DFW delayed in air by about 40 minutes or so. resigned myself to missing my flight.

Of course, passport control/customs wasn't crowded, my luggage came off first... I proceeded at a brisk pace to continue through security, changed terminals and... walked onto plane, sat down, door closed...

It wasn't until I arrived that I realized I'd done VIE-LHR-DFW-AUS without spending a single minute waiting in the airport. I'd gone gate to gate to gate to gate to gate to gate rather continuously.
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