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PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!

  
 
Bobg657
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


FYI - Just returned from Kenya to the US and had a real nightmare traveling, you really want to leave extra time and expect problems!

We were booked on Qatar Airlines from Nairobi to Doha and then on to Los Angeles, all of which should take about 22 hours flying time. We had a two hour layover in Doha which should have been enough but wasn't!

We missed our first connection due to delays, rebooked on a flight through Washington D.C., missed that connection due to delays, then had to wait until the next day for a non-stop to LA. Qatar did provide a hotel room but it really was a mess getting home.

Think about if you really want the stress all this causes, if so, have a great trip!

Bob




Jun 26, 2022 at 04:46 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


Two hour layover on an international flight is asking for trouble even at the best of times. I eat the pain upfront and look for 3+ hr layovers unless I am feeling lucky. On something of that length I would be looking for 3.5+ hrs. Flying SAN-EWR-CDG next week with 3.5 hrs at EWR, let's see if it is enough. On a SAn-ANC flight in several months, due to tight connections in PDX or SEA I plan on flying out the day before, sleep over in PDX or SEA and then take the first flight next morning.

Recently had a "unique" experience on a SAN-MSP flight. There was some delay on the runway and we spent 30 min taxying. Then when we were two positions from takeoff the plane turned around and returned to the gate because the pilots would have exceeded max allowed cockpit time by the time we arrived. Airlines are scheduling things really tight due to staff shortages and even minor disruptions like this can wreak havoc.



Jun 26, 2022 at 05:17 PM
Bobg657
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


Unfortunately Qatar only had that schedule available, otherwise it required an overnight layover. Now I know better!


Jun 26, 2022 at 05:50 PM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


Several European airports are a mess these days and the situation is likely to get worse as summer travel picks up. I just had someone come in from Schiphol in Amsterdam and it is a nightmare there with long lines just to get in. Staffing shortages, apparently.

2 hours transit time for a US-bound connection is cutting it close given that there is usually an extra layer of scrutiny.



Jun 26, 2022 at 07:05 PM
dallvr
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


The airport/airline situation seems to have deteriorated quickly. We returned from Botswana on the 19th of April and the waits were not more than what has been normal since last September. We flew Delta from JNB to ATL, longish layover (3-4 hours) in ATL before our flight to SFO. I guess I won't complain about long layovers anymore! I hope the situation improves soon.


Jun 26, 2022 at 11:54 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


My daughter just texted me that the check in line at Schipol is 4.5 hrs long. Wow.


Jun 27, 2022 at 12:35 PM
chez
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


Bobg657 wrote:
Unfortunately Qatar only had that schedule available, otherwise it required an overnight layover. Now I know better!


I usually opt for the overnight layover and just get myself a hotel near the airport rather than trying to make long haul trips all at one time. Done that and never...ever enjoyed the long trip. Much rather have a long trip broken up into two much shorter trips. Breaking up the trip might also alleviate some of the stress as well.

Many times the layover trip is less expensive and covers the hotel room cost.



Jun 27, 2022 at 02:05 PM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


chez wrote:
I usually opt for the overnight layover and just get myself a hotel near the airport rather than trying to make long haul trips all at one time. Done that and never...ever enjoyed the long trip. Much rather have a long trip broken up into two much shorter trips. Breaking up the trip might also alleviate some of the stress as well.

Many times the layover trip is less expensive and covers the hotel room cost.


Excellent advice. I always do that if there are two back-to-back long haul flights in my itinerary.

Another tip: whenever possible book your flights to include either the B787 or the A350. They are pressurized to a far lower ceiling, have better cabin humidity, and are therefore much easier on the body.




Jun 27, 2022 at 03:38 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


I decided even before the pandemic that it was better to break a trip into at least two segments. Instead of flying to Argentina for example to first travel to Panama or Costa Rica or other location that is roughly mid way.

It is a long haul from California to Europe or Africa and a first stop in Madria works well. There are decided advantages to going to a major airport with direct service. From SFO I can fly direct to Paris in half the time of going to a hub airport and then across the Atlantic.

I leave plenty of layover time between segments. Often an airline will leave too little time and not allow for a late departure from the originating airport or problems where the plane cannot land immediately on arrival but must wait for a gate to be available. I want a two hour interval as there is a ripple effect if I miss a connecting flight.

It is worthwhile to check the ontime records of the airlines for each segment. I used to fly on business into Baltimore and the departing flights were always 1-3 hours late. When I checked this flight had one of the worst ontime records of any airline in the country. It pays to do the research.



Jun 27, 2022 at 05:12 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


GroovyGeek wrote:
Two hour layover on an international flight is asking for trouble even at the best of times.


I'm not sure why international flights in particular? Making a connection should be no different than a domestic flight (if I recall, domestic flights have, on average, a worse track record for delays than international flights, and US domestic flights are particularly bad).

A non-stop flight is almost always ideal though. I'd never intentionally book an overnight layover. Doing so usually guarantees that you'll have the same experience, or worse, than if you just missed your connecting flight to begin with in a lot of cases.



Jun 30, 2022 at 05:28 PM
 


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chez
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


mdude85 wrote:
I'm not sure why international flights in particular? Making a connection should be no different than a domestic flight (if I recall, domestic flights have, on average, a worse track record for delays than international flights, and US domestic flights are particularly bad).

A non-stop flight is almost always ideal though. I'd never intentionally book an overnight layover. Doing so usually guarantees that you'll have the same experience, or worse, than if you just missed your connecting flight to begin with in a lot of cases.


Not in my experience. All my overnight connections were very pleasant and stress free. None of this scramble to find another flight as you just missed your connection. I typically try to get the connecting flight in late morning allowing me to sleep in and get a good breakfast before going to the airport.

I wont fly long haul without an overnight stop unless its a direct flight which Ive flown from Vancouver to Auckland and personally Id rather have overnighted in Hawaii.



Jun 30, 2022 at 06:07 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


Maybe my experience has been different because I'm on the US East coast, so most connecting international flights (especially those to Europe or S America) are overnight anyway. I'm also willing to pay more for a direct flight, since I value the extra time at my destination as well as the reduced stress from not having to make a connection.


Jun 30, 2022 at 06:44 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


mdude85 wrote:
I'm not sure why international flights in particular? Making a connection should be no different than a domestic flight (if I recall, domestic flights have, on average, a worse track record for delays than international flights, and US domestic flights are particularly bad).

A non-stop flight is almost always ideal though. I'd never intentionally book an overnight layover. Doing so usually guarantees that you'll have the same experience, or worse, than if you just missed your connecting flight to begin with in a lot of cases.


I think it might be a bigger deal partly because in some cases there might not be a backup flight right away. If I'm flying between the US west and east coasts (usually in and out of major airports), if I miss something there will probably be another flight before too long. But the long haul international flights are a bit less frequent, so if you get hung up you might be stuck a bit longer. And there are a few more opportunities to get hung up on international flights e.g. customs, which can be really fast or really slow.

I think it also depends on how critical your arrival time is. Is there something scheduled shortly after you arrive? What if you missed it? If that would be a problem, arriving earlier can be good insurance.

I'm of two minds when it comes to breaking up international flights. On one hand, the long non-stop is one-and-done, and you are there. On the other hand, splitting a 12 hour flight into a couple of six-hour chunks is less painful in some situations. When we fly to Europe we now usually start by flying to New York and staying there a few days to visit our kids when we can... and then the next leg is a lot shorter. (For example, we can get a really early flight to London, and we can arrive there more or less at dusk, which kind of helps trick the brain into switching to the new time zone. Or so I tell myself. ;-)

On the other hand, when we fly home we usually just want to get on the darned plane, zone out, and get off back (nearly) home.

I can see both ways working.

Dan




Jun 30, 2022 at 06:51 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


gdanmitchell wrote:
But the long haul international flights are a bit less frequent, so if you get hung up you might be stuck a bit longer. And there are a few more opportunities to get hung up on international flights e.g. customs, which can be really fast or really slow.

I think it also depends on how critical your arrival time is. Is there something scheduled shortly after you arrive? What if you missed it? If that would be a problem, arriving earlier can be good insurance.

I'm of two minds when it comes to breaking up international flights. On one hand,
...Show more

Generally speaking, you don't go through customs on connecting flights. (Hence my initial skepticism about why international flights would require a longer layover than domestic flights).


Plus, I get spending a few days on a connecting destination (we did it when we flew from Hawaii back to NYC, where we spent a few days in LA). But I don't get the overnight layover (which I take to mean landing with enough time to maybe have dinner, go to the airport hotel, sleep, wake up, and depart).



Jun 30, 2022 at 06:56 PM
rdcny
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/01/travel/summer-travel-flight-delays-cancellations.html


Jul 01, 2022 at 06:30 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


mdude85 wrote:
Generally speaking, you don't go through customs on connecting flights. (Hence my initial skepticism about why international flights would require a longer layover than domestic flights).


I'm thinking back on the transfer between flights in Frankfurt between the flight from Florence and subsequent flight to the US, and we definitely got sent through a passport check of some sort. Landing in Frankfurt we thought we were gong to just barely make our connection, when they directed us to a super-crowded check area and we thought it we thought it was all over. Then an airline employee came by and quickly announced some instructions about certain people who could take an elevator to some less-busy checkpoint, and we hurried there. By being the second in line we just made it! It wasn't just an airline checkpoint...

In any case, the lesson (which shouldn't have been new to us) was to leave more time between flights.

Plus, I get spending a few days on a connecting destination (we did it when we flew from Hawaii back to NYC, where we spent a few days in LA). But I don't get the overnight layover (which I take to mean landing with enough time to maybe have dinner, go to the airport hotel, sleep, wake up, and depart).

We're currently doing some planning for upcoming travel, and along those lines we're still going back and forth on how early to schedule a flight. In one case we'll fly to Paris and then choose between train and air transpiration to an event in Spain. We could just go straight through in one run from the US to our final destination, but if anything goes awry we could easily end up missing the start of the event, so we're leaning toward traveling a day earlier, doing an overnight at the airport in Paris, and then continuing the next day.

On the other hand, if the timing of arrival allows more flexility e.g. a delay wouldn't be a big issue then I probably would just do the straight-through trip. I certainly can't see doing an overnight layover on the trip, say, within the US in most cases.

So, I can see both options being reasonable choices depending on the circumstances.

Dan

Edited on Jul 01, 2022 at 11:42 AM · View previous versions



Jul 01, 2022 at 08:35 AM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


mdude85 wrote:
I'm not sure why international flights in particular? Making a connection should be no different than a domestic flight (if I recall, domestic flights have, on average, a worse track record for delays than international flights, and US domestic flights are particularly bad).

A non-stop flight is almost always ideal though. I'd never intentionally book an overnight layover. Doing so usually guarantees that you'll have the same experience, or worse, than if you just missed your connecting flight to begin with in a lot of cases.


To your first question - often one may have to go through passport control before you take a connecting flight. At European airports, for example, access to the Schengen terminals for international flight arrivals typically requires clearing passport control.

As for your second point above: I always book an overnight layover, if it involves two back-to-back long hauls. And often even otherwise. Most major European airports have hotels inside or attached to the terminals with easy access to the central city area via airport transit. It is an experience some of us who have to travel frequently savour, the pleasure of leisurely travel.



Jul 01, 2022 at 10:32 AM
bvphotos
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


I travel a lot internationally. Normally a 2-hour layover in Doha is sufficient, which is why airlines even issue such tickets. It's as much a pain for them as it is for you when you miss your connection. The problem is that this year people are traveling with a vengeance and there's staff shortage in many parts of the world. Added to that airports are increasingly making passengers go through security check even for transits (where they previously didn't), and this is has created a perfect storm.

I transited through Schiphol (Amsterdam) recently and I can attest to the fact that it was utter chaos out there. They should rename the airport to Schithol. Seriously! What's the use of all that fancy equipment and miles-long corridors when you don't have the staff & you enforce processes that make no sense? I made it to my connection only by jumping the queue & telling everyone that I had a tight connection (I reckon I saved myself at least 1 hour doing that). But my checked luggage didn't make it. LHR & IST were better, but very crowded, nevertheless. If you're a Star Alliance Gold member, you get a less crowded security check line in IST, so that's something to keep in mind. Avoid European airports as far as possible this summer, particularly for transits. That's easier said than done, though, given that most connections to Asia, Middle-East & Africa are via Europe. And on the evidence of the OP's experience, Middle-East transit points aren't doing that great either. I hope by next summer the airline industry has sorted out all the issues that have caused this recent bottleneck.



Jul 05, 2022 at 11:40 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


British Airways and United Airlines have cancelled thousands of flights and more to come. One cannot rely on what worked in the old days with the current situation.

Air travel changed drastically after 9/11. I used to arrive at the airport 20 minutes before my flight left and no problems. Now I have to arrive a bare minimum of 2 hours to be able to leave my car at a remote parking area and take the shuttle to the terminal and then deal with security for my checked and my carr-on bags and then hope there are enough TSA people to take care of the mob.

With the lack of modern train service in the United States I drive rather than fly is the distance is less than 500 miles. I try to fly non-stop to a major city in Europe and then travel by train and by foot and my light rail and by cab which is easy to do in their cities with their modern transportation networks. I can travel by train from England to Venice but in the USA I cannot travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles.



Jul 08, 2022 at 07:23 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · PSA - Flying now is as bad as they say!


My experience so far has been an outlier. Arrived in EWR 30 mins early, flight to CDG took off on time and arrived 45 mins early. Flight out of CDG was uneventful, with minor wait at security and no delays. However this was after the strikes ended on Friday. Shall see how MUC is in a few days. I hear that FRA is a shithole.

One thing that seems to consistently work for me is to target morning flights whenever possible.



Jul 12, 2022 at 01:54 AM
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