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42m connection at DEN, but there's 15 of us

42m connection at DEN, but there's 15 of us

Old Mar 7, 18, 8:19 am
  #1  
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42m connection at DEN, but there's 15 of us

I'm traveling with a group of 14 others. The 14 others are scheduled to land at 7:18 AM in DEN from EWR. I will be in DEN beforehand on a longer overnight layover on a single UA ticket. All of us are booked on a 8:00 AM DEN-BIL flight. The 42m connection seems problematic here: DEN is a pretty big airport, and this leaves us with only 15-20 minutes to get through the airport (without even considering what time the gate closes) if the inbound lands on time. If it were only me, I'd probably just do it and wait for UA to protect me if it doesn't work, but then throw in the 14 other people and I'm not so sure.

1) The DEN-BIL is on a CRJ and we'd be taking up 30% of its seats...would this plane wait for us? I would think likely, but it looks like UA tries to turn these around with 30-35 mins between arrival and departure time in Billings, so waiting for us would lead to a cascade of delays (and presumably the GAs would know this).

2) Would UA be willing to change our DEN-BIL flight to a later frequency as a preemptive measure now (without charging us)? Is this something I should try to explain and appeal patiently to SLC et al., or just press one of the outsourced call centers over?

3) What would you do in this situation? We do not want to be split up, so that's why I'm so wary on United protecting us post-misconnect.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 8:33 am
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Are all 14 on one PNR?

I would imagine they'd hold DEN-BIL at least a little bit if EWR-DEN was delayed since getting 14 people on a later flight might be difficult.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by venomtrilogy View Post
Are all 14 on one PNR?

I would imagine they'd hold DEN-BIL at least a little bit if EWR-DEN was delayed since getting 14 people on a later flight might be difficult.
Three PNRs since they're returning on different flights.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 8:40 am
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Don't ever book presuming that UA will hold an aircraft. A good example would be if there were flight cancellations the night before. UA might well be quite happy to have 14 no shows so that it can deal with 14 cranky people sitting at the gate.

Agreed that this is a crazy connection to book, but it is highly unlikely that UA will waive change fees if they are on discounted penalty fares because the connection is within MCT.

If the group doesn't want to pay for the change, I would suggest advising people in the group to strike out on their own for the onward departure gate. Those who are fastest may make it and may even convince a non-cranky GA to slow down the flight closing process by a bit (GA's don't make the decision to hold flights). The more people who make it onto the earlier flight, the easier it will be accommodate those who do not.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by acmys View Post
3) What would you do in this situation?
What I would do in this situation? I would not book a group of 15 with 42 minutes connection to begin with. Even if you make it, your checked luggage might not. Even if UA is willing to re-accommodate you to later flight, finding a UAX flight with 15 empty seats makes it a lot more difficult. Nobody knows at this point if Operations will hold the flight if your group is slightly delayed. Good Luck.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 8:46 am
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Was this connection how it was originally booked or is there a schedule change? If there is a schedule change, call and get switched to a later flight now. If you booked it this way, then there probably isn't anything they will do in advance unless you are willing to pay.

If you absolutely must stay together, then changing to a different connection now is the best option (even if it involves additional cost), rather than waiting to see what would happen if you do miss the connection. Last minute, trying to rebook 14 people, it is very likely you would be split up among different flights. If you do stick with this connection, have a plan in advance of what you will do if they can't keep you together. When I traveled with large groups, we usually had a plan in our mind in advance of who would go with who if we did have to split up (making sure that the naive travelers always had someone with them, if someone had to be left by themselves it was one of the most able travelers, etc).
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Old Mar 7, 18, 8:51 am
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Originally Posted by acmys View Post
I'm traveling with a group of 14 others. The 14 others are scheduled to land at 7:18 AM in DEN from EWR. I will be in DEN beforehand on a longer overnight layover on a single UA ticket. All of us are booked on a 8:00 AM DEN-BIL flight. The 42m connection seems problematic here: DEN is a pretty big airport, and this leaves us with only 15-20 minutes to get through the airport (without even considering what time the gate closes) if the inbound lands on time. If it were only me, I'd probably just do it and wait for UA to protect me if it doesn't work, but then throw in the 14 other people and I'm not so sure.

1) The DEN-BIL is on a CRJ and we'd be taking up 30% of its seats...would this plane wait for us? I would think likely, but it looks like UA tries to turn these around with 30-35 mins between arrival and departure time in Billings, so waiting for us would lead to a cascade of delays (and presumably the GAs would know this).

2) Would UA be willing to change our DEN-BIL flight to a later frequency as a preemptive measure now (without charging us)? Is this something I should try to explain and appeal patiently to SLC et al., or just press one of the outsourced call centers over?

3) What would you do in this situation? We do not want to be split up, so that's why I'm so wary on United protecting us post-misconnect.
There is a reason I usually travel alone. This will be like herding cats, particularly if these are not experienced travelers. You don't mention dates or day of the week. Are you a ski club ? March is somewhat insane at DEN because of all the spring breaks. If you are on a CRJ200 where the next flight is a bigger plane and there are enough seats, I will take a wild guess and say they aren't waiting. The flight blocks keep those small jet gates hopping. Also, if you are all taking equipment which is special handled luggage, again don't count on it all making it. If this is a group od adults, you may want to discuss the possibility you won't make it. If not, at that point, keep in mind that rebooking may well depend on each person's status and ticket price.

You will have an idea of the gate distance once you check in but don't count on it since particularly the small jet flights change fairly often.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by FlyfromDenver View Post
You will have an idea of the gate distance once you check in but don't count on it since particularly the small jet flights change fairly often.
You'll land in the B gates (somewhere in the middle usually) and have to trek all the way out to the B80-90's.. this could be a haul and you might want to find your closest "Usain Bolt" and get him/her to run down first to tell them they're on their way.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 9:10 am
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If both flights in B concourse you can make it end to end in 15 minutes.

Regional jets at DEN close door 15 min pior to Departure (I think).

Still overall tight connection.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 9:17 am
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Is there really a 5 AM EWR-DEN flight, or are they doing some funky overnight connection? That's a really odd time to arrive at DEN from EWR (7:18 am). Really early flights from places like MAF (Midland, TX) arrive at those times, but EWR?
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Old Mar 7, 18, 9:20 am
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Not sure that there is much advice that can actually help much. Try to get the 14 seats close to the front of the aircraft from EWR. Since you’re going to be in DEN ahead of them, you can go to your BIL gate and tell the GA about the group and hope for the best. Tell your group to hurry up, not stop for food or bathroom breaks, etc.

I recently had to book a similar connection in DEN. In both directions (50 and 40mins). With no viable later flights. I prepared myself for a trip in vain on the outbound and a night in a Denver hotel on the return. And took a duffle bag instead of a rollababoard so I wouldn’t have to wait for the bags to be returned from the CRJ cargo hold to the jetbridge or cart.

it was a long fast-walk through the loooong terminal, but I made it. Both ways. I kept an eye on the same flights the days prior to my trip. The day before my trip I would have failed the first connection by three hours
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Old Mar 7, 18, 9:22 am
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One major thing in your favor is that you will be at the gate and you can monitor their inbound flight. Try to explain the situation to someone on the crew, preferably the captain, and hope that it works out. Don't expect them to hold the flight if the inbound is more than a little delayed, but they may work with you if it won't wreck that plane's schedule for the day.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 9:26 am
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Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
Is there really a 5 AM EWR-DEN flight, or are they doing some funky overnight connection? That's a really odd time to arrive at DEN from EWR (7:18 am). Really early flights from places like MAF (Midland, TX) arrive at those times, but EWR?
There isn't. I think the first nonstop flight from EWR to DEN is a little after 7am.

Regardless of the flight schedule, if the flight arrives on time in DEN, then the connection is doable.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 10:00 am
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Originally Posted by EricH View Post
One major thing in your favor is that you will be at the gate and you can monitor their inbound flight. Try to explain the situation to someone on the crew, preferably the captain, and hope that it works out. Don't expect them to hold the flight if the inbound is more than a little delayed, but they may work with you if it won't wreck that plane's schedule for the day.
You may be able to convince the GA to not close the door *early*, but in terms of holding the flight, that's not her call. The information / promise of passengers possibly making it to the gate is decided by Operations and maybe the GA can convey the info to them but they make the call (with the flight crew).
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Old Mar 7, 18, 10:06 am
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42 minutes in Denver isn't bad at all. Never my first choice, but its doable. My experience is that EWR flights arrive in the low B #'s. Todays early flight is B11 for example. A quick glance though shows the early flight to BIL out of B61, but the second flight is out of A41, which means grabbing the train. For me alone, still no big deal if the EWR arrival is on time, but with 14 others, I'm not so sure... What day is the EWR-DEN flight? I'm not seeing flights that early in my quick search.
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