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What to Know about Connecting Flights

With the holidays upon us, it is important that we minimize the risk of missing our connecting flights.

What is Considered a “Connecting Flight”?
Connecting flights are none other than a single ticket that includes more than one flight. If there are separate tickets for each flight, no matter how much time you have in between, it is not considered a connecting flight.

Why Purchase Connecting Flights?
Not only are connecting flights priced at a lower cost compared to non-stop flights, but many airlines are more willing to help passengers get to their final destination when cancellations occur.

What Can I Do to Never Miss a Connecting Flight?
While we don’t have control over every situation, there are at least 12 things we can personally do to help us make our connecting flights:

  1. Check in online before you arrive to the airport. If you plan to use your phone to scan your boarding pass, screenshot the barcode just in case your phone is unable to connect to the WIFI and you cannot pull up your boarding pass.
  2. Arrive to the airport early!
  3. Book flights departing earlier in the day. If a flight gets cancelled, there is still a good chance you can leave on another flight the same day. Otherwise, you may have to find accommodations for the night and wait to get on another plane the following day.
  4. Book flights with one airline or its partners. For example, Delta Airlines is in alliance with KLM Airlines.
  5. Sometimes it’s just best to avoid airports such as New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, and Denver, Colorado during the winter because when those winter storms hit, there is not much people can do besides wait it out.
  6. Where you sit on your first flight can make a difference on whether or not you make your connecting flight. Do all you can to book a seat towards the front of the cabin.
  7. Allow at least 60-90 minutes for a U.S. domestic connection and allow at least 2 hours for an International connection.
  8. Check boarding times as gates are often closed at least 30 minutes before the flight is scheduled to depart.
  9. If you are unfamiliar with an airport, download or print out a map so you know how to navigate getting from one gate or terminal to another.
  10. Sign up for airline notifications. This can be done by downloading the airline app you are flying with or entering your contact information directly on the airline’s website (log into your trip using your record locator number).
  11. Double check flight displays to confirm your final gate departure. This will save you time to get to your new appointed gate if the flight is canceled or the gate has been changed.
  12. Ask for help from flight attendants, they are there to help. If you miss your connecting flight, you must deal directly with the gate agents to rebook your flights.

If we could fly nonstop everywhere, we would! But because of airline flight schedules, personal budgets, or time restraints, we may be led to purchase an itinerary with a connecting flight. Being prepared can help minimize stress and give you a greater chance of getting to your vacation or back home smoothly.

Photos are taken in person or provided by the supplier except where credited.