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Make Tight Airline Connections

By Expert Author: www.cheapfares.com

Sometimes in order to find cheap travel deals, such as cheap fares, cheap airplane tickets, discount travel deals, cheap vacation packages, discount hotel rooms, or cheap auto rentals, you need to be willing to accept connecting flights vs. flying directly to your destination. Short airport connections are not a problem so long as you can make your next flight.

The following are tips on how to avoid being stranded at the gate when facing a tight connection, according to Smarter Travel:

• Reserve an aisle seat toward the front of the plane. If such a seat is unavailable online, check in at the airline airport counter and explain why you would like to be seated close to the front. The earlier you arrive at the airport, and the nicer you act, the more likely you will be able to secure the desired seat.

• If the agent at the ticket counter is unable to help you, politely explain your situation to a flight attendant who often will be sympathetic about avoiding missed connections. Wait to ask after all the passengers have been seated and when your flight attendant does not appear to be overly busy.

• Be better prepared to move quickly to your flight at your connecting airport by downloading or printing a map of that airport which shows all of the terminals. If your connecting airport is your first entry point on an international city, map out baggage carousels, customs, and immigration areas. Make certain you confirm your next flight’s gate number when you deplane on an airline screen at the airport.

• If at all possible, do not check a bag. This way you can save time otherwise spent waiting for your bag on a never ending conveyor belt loop if you luggage has not been checked all the way through to your final destination. Also, by not checking a bag you do not risk that bag not making it onto your connecting flight in time.

• Faced with short overnight connections, you would be wise to not risk missing your next flight by going to an airport hotel. Instead see if by the hour sleep pods are available at your connecting airport. Alternatively consider purchasing a day pass to an airport lounge.

• Use your time wisely at your connecting airport by not wasting any searching for food. Instead pack a protein bar or other easily portable snacks. Make a final bathroom visit shortly before your plane starts to descend so that you do not have to spend time looking for and using an airport bathroom.

• Move to the front of security checkpoints by applying to a preclearance security service such as CLEAR. Once approved you will be able to save time at all security checkpoints where such a program is accepted. Security clearance programs are available at select U.S. (with more being added all of the time) and international airports.

• Remember that “legal” flight connection times, as defined by the airlines, are not always sufficient. On domestic flights a minimum of 45 minutes between flights is needed. However if your connection is through a very busy/big airport (such as Chicago O’Hare), especially during the winter months, look for at least a 75 minute layover.

On international flights, look for a minimum of two hours, or more if you have checked a bag that will need to be rechecked post customs at your connecting airport.

• Do not leisurely stroll to your connecting flight. Gate doors usually close 10 to 30 minutes prior to a flight’s scheduled departure. Once closed, airport doors will not open to board late passengers even if the plane is still at the gate. Do your best to arrive at your gate at the boarding time (printed on your boarding pass) and not the departure time.

• If for whatever reason you miss your connecting flight, call the airline immediately. Usually airlines will reschedule you on the next available flight at no cost if your tight connection time was responsible for you missing your flight. If you were unable to make your connecting flight because of factors outside of your control, request compensation, such as a flight voucher.

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