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Entries during 2015-05

Airport Processing Times

Q. Do you have any idea what the minimum connection time would be for São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport? I'm considering an Azul flight from Belo Horizonte arriving at 5:50pm, and connecting onward to Newark via a United Airlines flight departing at 9:10pm.

I think it sounds like plenty of time, don't you?

A. That should be just enough time to connect, assuming that your incoming flight isn’t late. But United won’t protect you in any way if it is late, because it’s not a through ticket. Checking bags would also a big factor too. And you’ll have to go through security again. United.com posts these airport processing times.

If it were me, I’d probably be a bit nervous and want to build in a longer layover.

Holds without Refunds?

Q. I recently learned to my dismay that American Airlines is not required to refund full airfare within 24 hours of booking, as required under 14 CFR 259.5(b)(4), because they offer the option to hold reservations for 24 hours at the quoted fare without payment. This seems to allow carriers to skirt the intent of the DOT regulation by offering instead a free hold, which is something a limited number of carries offered before the DOT regulation went into effect.

What other airlines are not required to refund fares within 24 hours of booking because they instead offer a free hold?

A. Some people consider this to be an extra convenience since you can hold the fare without the hassle of paying, then canceling, and getting a refund. As for other airlines, American appears to be the only carrier with this policy, at least for now.

West Coast or Inter-Island

Q. Is it better to fly directly from New York to Honolulu and connect to take an inter-island plane to Maui, or should I fly to the West Coast (LAX or SFO) and connect to Maui?

A. The best reason for flying direct to Honolulu is that inter-island flights leave almost every 30 minutes, so if there's a delay in your inbound flight to HNL it won't matter. Should you somehow misconnect in SFO or LAX it might not be as easy to get on another flight to Maui.

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