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.
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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