Simple tips to ensure that you’ll never miss a connecting flight

You’d be surprised at how easy it is to miss a connecting flight.

man rushing for conneced flight

Sometimes, the least expensive way to fly overseas is to choose an indirect route with a connecting flight somewhere in between. There’s a reason it’s cheap: making sure you catch that connecting flight adds a level of stress to your journey that most people are prepared to avoid by paying more.

And if you happen to miss the connecting flight, well, there go any savings you may have enjoyed.

But there’s a couple of simple ways to ensure you’ll never miss a connecting flight.

The main things to consider are giving yourself ample time between flights and checking the situation at the airport beforehand.

A two-hour layover at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) should seem enough time to alight one flight and board another. Think again. Travel agents will often recommend a minimum two hours between connecting flights at LAX, because it’s just that huge and hectic.

connecting fligth sign

When booking connecting flights, airlines use what’s called a ‘minimum connecting time’ to calculate the fastest way to get you from A to B to C. But this system also leads to very tight connection times. Think delays, headwinds, airport congestion and you can see how easy it is to miss a connecting flight if there is only 30 minutes between landing and take-off.

So, before paying for your tickets, carefully check the layover time. Ensure that you have at least one hour for domestic flights and at least two hours for international flights. It’s even better to add an extra hour to both – so two hours for domestic and three for international.

That way you can make your connecting flight feeling relaxed and without the rush to find a  departure gate. You’ll have no stress getting through customs, airport security or any of the other bureaucratic rigmarole involved in travelling. And beforehand, you could eat some decent food, have a drink, or go to the bathroom and freshen up. You may even have time to browse the newsagents or airport shops.

Most importantly, you won’t miss your flight and potentially be up for a hefty fee to get another.

Do you have any suggestions for flights with layovers? Do you have any connecting flight horror stories you can share with our members?




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    30th Sep 2017
    LAX? We always allowed 3 hours to exit the airport and then get back in for domestic. Still cut it fine one year.
    These days LAX has streamlined the procedure a lot and unless you land at the same time as a number of other large aircraft two hours should suffice. Of course connecting with the same carrier is the better way to do it as you don't generally have to leave and reenter....which is a dumb procedure thought out by people who should never to put in charge of anything important.
    30th Sep 2017
    Someone I know decided to save money by booking the first flight, then separately book the second flight. You've guessed it; the flights did not connect and the person was stranded. Plus lost a lot of money. I couldn't even try it; the stress would be too much!
    30th Sep 2017
    I still find LAX to be the worst airport to transit through, as far as I know everyone still has to collect their luggage when in transit even when using the same carrier, I flew with Delta last year on my way through to Seattle, I Was told I just needed to collect my luggage and go through one door and my new check in was a short distance away, it wasn't, it was about a 15 minute walk and that was after we struggled to find out where it was, so as suggested I would increase your transit wait by at least a half hour more than you may have thought you needed. I know a 15 minute walk might not seem a lot but coupled with having to collect your luggage can make a big difference.
    30th Sep 2017
    You are correct Dim. We transferred through LAX about 5 weeks ago. What a nightmare. Pick up your luggage when transiting? And the poorly sign posted and some rude staff. In what other country do you go through a wasted immigration procedure to go to yet another country (we were going to Canada). My advise is give the USA a miss unless you can't avoid it :(
    10th Aug 2019
    worst experience I had was at Sydney Airport. Arriving from LA with a domestic connection to Melbourne with a 2 hour gap. We had to go though customs and immigration in Sydney which took forever as the airport was busy. We then had to board a bus to take us from the international terminal to the domestic terminal and the only reason we caught our flight was that the domestic flight crew were late. I will never book an international flight via Sydney and if you must give yourself 2 hours out and 3 hours coming home between flights.

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