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Tom asked in TravelAir Travel · 3 months ago

When planning a trip where you have to make a connecting flight, is it best to give yourself at least a two hour layover?

Tell me if there is anything wrong with my line of thinking:

If I book a trip with say, a 45 minute layover, then I depend on flight from airport A not being delayed and making it to airport B on time, especially if my gate at the next airport is on the completely other side from where I disembark.

If my flight does arrive on time and my layover was for naught, then I have 2 hours to kill. No biggie, I'll grab a bite to eat, then buy a magazine and wait for my next one.

But if my first flight IS delayed and I miss my connecting flight, it could be 8 hours before the next flight that the airline outs me on departs. That sucks a hell of a lot more than giving myself a two hour layover.

Is this wise?

19 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    There are a couple of factors to think about.  What airport you are connecting in and what time of the year you are flying.  If you are flying to a congested airport, you probably want to give yourself more time.  If you are flying during the winter and into an airport that may be receiving some snow, it may not be a bad thing to have that extra connection time.

    I am not a big fan of really tight connections because I don't want to arrive to my next flight out of breath because the airport I am connecting at has over 70 gates and my next flight departs at the opposite end of the terminal.

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  • Mrsjvb
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    generally speaking, the online booking programs will NOT permit you to book legs that are too close together.   as for the layover times.. it depends on the airport.   ATL.. we always prefer longer times.. 2-3 hours.  the gats always seem to change from one terminal to another which eats up a lot of time getting to them.  that also gives us a chance to visit the loo and grab a bite to eat( and the lines in all the food courts are usually very long)  

    but a smaller airport you can easily get away with a much shorter layover time.  ones with only say one or two terminals.  or all the flights from one airline are in the same terminal

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  • 3 months ago

    Very very wise,

    I remember when I had a layover of a hour, we got delayed 50 mins, So we had 10 mins to get from one side of Atlanta to the other , we didn't know how far it was, the whole flight was boarded and they were going to close the gate within seconds. So I would suggest to always have that time, like you said if you are early, great, get yourself refreshed, have something eat and walk slowly to your next gate.


    I am currently a flight attendant now, and there has been so many occasions were we have been delayed by slots for up to 15 mins and then passengers are saying they've only got a ten min transfer time, which to me is crazy, sometimes they don't have a choice however if you do, I recommend doing what you do.

    Flights will not wait for people , it isn't a taxi, they all have slots, if they don't get that slot time, it could get pushed back for hours and also it will charge the airline hundreds of thousands for taking more time and facilities at that airport

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  • Anonymous
    3 months ago

    best will be a three hour layover

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  • 3 months ago

    I just want to make the point that I suspect most of the people saying 'Hell no, 45 - 60 minutes is plenty' are people who fly a lot, who know their regular airports intimately, and know exactly how to get from A to B to C in the shortest possible time.

    People who don't fly often or regularly and who don't know the short cuts should certainly allow two hours.

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  • 3 months ago

    You are prudent to think your First flight could be late to arrive.

    Your next flight may be the plane beside you or the far side .

    You also may not be the First off it could be easily15-30 after you land before YOU exit the plane.

    Boarding next flight stops 10-15 minutes before departure. Leaving little time for you.

    Should you miss your connection YOU DO NOT get next flight out. You get next available seat out. Could be next flight or three days later.

    Only you can place a value on attempting the fast connection that might work if all is well. As storms happen a little difficult to predict exact weather along your route months ahead the hour your plane passes by.

    You can plan for the extra long layover and when you get to the change place ASK if you can board the early flight.

    If there is room there is usually no charge to change to the earlier flight.

    Allowing 2-3 hours is reasonable.

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  • 3 months ago

    I favor at least 90 minute layover, but will go with a longer one rather than a shorter one. You cannot ever predict delays on the first flight. There may be weather delays even though the weather at your departure airport is perfect. Missing a connection is often miserable if you cannot get onto another flight for many hours.

    When I started flying in the early 70s, there were always empty seats on the next flight. These days, planes are frequently fully booked, or nearly so. There may be 3 or 4 flights that you cannot get a seat on.

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  • DEBS
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    That is the conservative way of doing it and perfectly fine.  For me, 1-1:15 is the longest I'd prefer.  Depending on the airport, 45 minutes is fine.  Flight times pad their arrival times these days and typically arrive early for a little unofficial buffer.  It's all your personal preference, how much you know the layover airport, how busy that airport is giving you alternatives if you do miss your flight, how risk adverse you are, and how nervous you get if you're cutting it close.  

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  • 3 months ago

    @ hihi!     Yes, it is best to avoid close connections.  I only voluntarily do close connections when I am traveling without checked luggage and I am changing planes at an airport with lots of flights to wherever I am going.  For example, if I fly home to New Orleans via Atlanta then there is a flight to New Orleans every hour or two almost around the clock. 

    Depending on the airlines, destination, and airport, 45 minutes between flights may be a violation of the terms of the ticket.  If you miss your onward flight then the airlines have no obligation to re-book you on a later flight or to do things like provide a hotel room. As far as they are concerned when you missed your onward flight you abandoned the rest of your ticket. 

    If you buy the ticket from the airline they won't sell you one that violates the terms.  However, travel sites often ignore the airlines' ticket rules and > will < sell you a ticket with a connection that is not "legal".  

    At least verify the connection time is "legal" by calling the airline and talking to a human. 

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  • 3 months ago

    Always better to go with a longer layover then to risk missing. If the first flight is a short one it’s not that bad but if you have to try and make a tight schedule on a longer flight that just gives it more time for something to go wrong. Last time I flew I had a 2 hour delay because of a broken coffee maker. A coffee maker! So yeah better safe than sorry.

    • DCM5150
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      But you still would have missed the next flight even with a 1.5 - 2 hour layover

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