Better Pack Your Running Shoes

Tracy Stewart, May 11, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I am planning on flying with my elderly father from New York to Augusta via Charlotte. From Charlotte, he would need to catch a plane 35 minutes later to Augusta on the same airline. Will he have to go through security again or, since he is catching a flight on the same airline, can he just walk to another gate in Charlotte? Will he make it on time?

    A. Thirty-five minutes, especially if leaving from New York’s delay-plagued LaGuardia Airport, isn’t enough time to make a connecting flight even for a marathon runner. Airfarewatchdog doesn’t understand why airlines schedule such tight connections. Many airlines require you to be on board and in your seat 15 or 20 minutes before scheduled departure or your seat is subject to resale, so a 35 minute connection actually leaves as little as 15 minutes to make the next flight. This makes no sense to us. When planning connecting flights, you can usually build in up to four hours between flights, but you might need to do this using a real live agent or travel agent rather than booking online. Your dad will not need to go through security again, but he still might miss his connecting flight. You can play the odds by researching the historical on-time records of your flights with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics at The airline should also be able to tell you what percentage of the time flights are on time (from zero to 90 percent or more).