Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Need quick advice: How risky is this routing?

Need quick advice: How risky is this routing?

Old Jun 15, 18, 1:39 pm
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: AA PLT,AS,UA PP,J6,FB,EY,LH,SQ,HH Dmd,Hyatt Expl,Marriott Plat,IHG Plat,Accor Gold
Posts: 10,524
Question Need quick advice: How risky is this routing?

Some time ago I was lucky enough to snag two LH F award tix ORD-MUC (and then on to DUB, FWIW) using SQ miles for a weekday later this month, The (admittedly First World) problem I'm facing is that due to work complications that have since come up, the earliest my wife and I can catch a connecting (revenue) UA flight from SFO to ORD that day is around noon - and to be clear, SFO-ORD and ORD-MUC are tickets booked separately through UA and SQ, so if the UA flight arrives at ORD too late I assume we're SOL.

I'd been hoping that some alternative award routings would open up since I booked the LH tix, but to no avail.

What we face, then, is arriving ORD at 6:23 pm on UA and departing 10:35 pm on LH. There are two later UA non-stops that we could try to get onto and that would get into ORD in time for a 2+ hour connection if necessary, but obviously they could encounter the same weather delays or simply not be available. For folks more experienced with UA's ORD flights and ORD weather than I am, how big a risk are we running in terms of storms or operational delays messing this up? And how likely are UA personnel in SFO to try to get us on either of those two other UA flights if our flight is delayed and we explain our situation?

I realize there are no definitive answers, but any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 1:52 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Boston MA
Programs: UA 1K/1.5 million miler, SU Gold, JL Sapphire
Posts: 529
During the winter I would have said don't do it.

Now? I may take that bet. But it is still a bet.

How about leaving earlier and taking this opportunity to visit Chicago if everything goes right?
skidooman is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 2:02 pm
  #3  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: AA EXP; AS 75K; WN A List; UA 1K 1MM; Marriott Ambassador; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 44,764
Four hours is a good cushion.

But ORD can go totally sideways with thunderstorms, so I agree there is some measure of risk. The only truly safe approach would be to come in the night before.

I've booked two hours at ORD for a similar connection and it worked out fine. You just never know for sure.
Kacee is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 2:19 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 10,452
I would minimize the risk in light of your ticketing situation and do the 4 hour layover. Eat a leisurely dinner at the airport and go right to sleep on the plane.
trooper and BeanTownBoy like this.
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 2:30 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 11,338
4h02 is acceptable in my opinion. The only way to hit 99% is to fly the night before, but that's pretty unrealistic. With the 4h02 connect, I think you solidly have an over 90% chance of making the connection. I would not try a shorter hop - just go enjoy the lounges in ORD.
findark is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 5:42 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: AA PLT,AS,UA PP,J6,FB,EY,LH,SQ,HH Dmd,Hyatt Expl,Marriott Plat,IHG Plat,Accor Gold
Posts: 10,524
Thanks for the quick and useful replies, folks. Much appreciated.

Originally Posted by skidooman View Post

How about leaving earlier and taking this opportunity to visit Chicago if everything goes right?
Oh, we love Chicago (except during the winter), but due to work reasons it looks like we can't leave earlier. So the four-hour window it is. Thanks again.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 5:53 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: YYC
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 541
You should be fine with a 4 hour connection. This should cover almost all instances of mechanical or weather delays. Unfortunately if really bad weather hits in SFO or ORD thatís just life and you canít do much about it.
david_oz is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 6:09 pm
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: AA PLT,AS,UA PP,J6,FB,EY,LH,SQ,HH Dmd,Hyatt Expl,Marriott Plat,IHG Plat,Accor Gold
Posts: 10,524
Thanks for this additional input.

I just realized that both the incoming UA and outgoing LH flights go through T1 (though I believe different concourses). I haven't flown through ORD in quite some time, so please correct me if I'm wrong: I assume this saves some time, including not needing to go through security at ORD.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 6:12 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 11,338
Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
Thanks for this additional input.

I just realized that both the incoming UA and outgoing LH flights go through T1 (though I believe different concourses). I haven't flown through ORD in quite some time, so please correct me if I'm wrong: I assume this saves some time, including not needing to go through security at ORD.
Correct. It's an airside transfer, and it should be relatively convenient to the Polaris Lounge.
findark is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 6:17 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: AA PLT,AS,UA PP,J6,FB,EY,LH,SQ,HH Dmd,Hyatt Expl,Marriott Plat,IHG Plat,Accor Gold
Posts: 10,524
Good to know. Thanks again.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 6:34 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: EWR
Programs: UA GS, 1MM; Marriott LTPP / Ambassador
Posts: 185
I'm not the most aggressive connector, but 4 hours in ORD seems like way more than enough time (way too much imo).... I see the responses above where there are some concerns but personally I would do it even with anything more than a two hour connection... but of course YMMV.

Also, if you are connecting UA to LH won't they interline the bags? If so, then geez, I would be down to less than 2 hours.

And, if your incoming is so delayed, then likely the outbound will be delayed also so no biggie.

Let us know, and enjoy the LH F!
LimeyFlyer is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 6:40 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: AA PLT,AS,UA PP,J6,FB,EY,LH,SQ,HH Dmd,Hyatt Expl,Marriott Plat,IHG Plat,Accor Gold
Posts: 10,524
Originally Posted by LimeyFlyer View Post
I'm not the most aggressive connector, but 4 hours in ORD seems like way more than enough time (way too much imo).... I see the responses above where there are some concerns but personally I would do it even with anything more than a two hour connection... but of course YMMV.

Also, if you are connecting UA to LH won't they interline the bags? If so, then geez, I would be down to less than 2 hours.

And, if your incoming is so delayed, then likely the outbound will be delayed also so no biggie.

Let us know, and enjoy the LH F!
Thanks for this reassurance and encouragement. If it's not already evident, I'm quite the Nervous Nellie when it comes to planning vacation trips with my wife. (She's actually much more relaxed about it than I am.) When I'm on my own, my attitude is more...whatever.

We never check in bags, so interlining is not an issue. Plus, these are separate tickets.

Good point re possibility that if incoming is delayed, then outgoing may be as well...though I won't count on that.

I'll try to remember to weigh in again after it's all (hopefully) gone well!
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 6:50 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 15
Take a sick day ahead and fly out early to be safe. Assuming your work in the US, there are protections and if on that day, you call out sick, there are no retaliatory actions an employer can take.
Leemo is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 7:13 pm
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 11,338
Originally Posted by LimeyFlyer View Post
And, if your incoming is so delayed, then likely the outbound will be delayed also so no biggie.
Not if the delays are due to a cloud deck in SFO. Even if it's ORD WX, the LH widebodies are going to be at top priority in and out. For a same ticket connection where missing a day at the destination wasn't absolutely critical, I would be happy to connect at 2h00. But connecting to an SQ-plated LH F award with no formal IRROPS protection? An extra two hours in the Polaris Lounge seems like a very reasonable price for the safety that only a truly extraordinarily delay is going to mess up the itinerary.
jsloan and artvandalay like this.
findark is offline  
Old Jun 15, 18, 7:24 pm
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: AA EXP; AS 75K; WN A List; UA 1K 1MM; Marriott Ambassador; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 44,764
Originally Posted by findark View Post
For a same ticket connection where missing a day at the destination wasn't absolutely critical, I would be happy to connect at 2h00. But connecting to an SQ-plated LH F award with no formal IRROPS protection? An extra two hours in the Polaris Lounge seems like a very reasonable price for the safety that only a truly extraordinarily delay is going to mess up the itinerary.
I totally agree.

Calculating sufficiency of connection time is not a static analysis. You want to take into account how badly it would suck to miss. In this case, it would really suck to miss.
Kacee is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: