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How do connections work?
Tinksahoy
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Hi everyone,

I’ll be flying in August, and for the first time, I do not have a direct flight to my destination. This isn’t something I would generally worry about, but my second flight is scheduled to depart 30 minutes after my first flight arrives. What happens if my first flight arrives late? Is there a possibility that I might miss my connecting flight? Will I be responsible if I do?

Thank you.

I am leaving from Toronto with $2700 for 23 days
Reykjavik, Bergen, Flåm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Ærøskøbing, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gdańsk, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki
I am leaving from Toronto with $2700 for 22 days
Reykjavik, Bergen, Flåm, Oslo, Gdańsk, Malbork, Sopot, Toruń, Poznań, Żelazowa Wola, Warsaw, Częstochowa, Kielce, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki
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augustin25
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Where are you connecting? You have almost no chance of making that connection.

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I have made such a connection in Salt Lake City, but the second flight was at the gate exactly opposite where I disembarked. You should be rebooked by the airline if you miss your flight, but you may have to wait in line for hours, plus you will likely miss at least a day in Europe.

Depending on the airline, you may be able to get a standby seat on an earlier flight. If possible, do carry-on only and try that. You may have to pay $50 or $75. If you have checked luggage, it’s much more difficult to stand by. Read your airline’s procedures to see how to do it.

clevelandbrown
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It depends on how you bought your ticket. If you bought the flights separately, you are on your own if you miss the connection. If you bought a single ticket covering both flights, the airline is under an obligation to take care of you if the connection is missed. This can be anything from putting you on a later flight, to putting you in a hotel until they can get you on a later flight.

If you are on your own, the cost of the second ticket can be steep, as you are buying at the gate and such prices are usually high.

To protect myself, I always buy a single ticket for the entire journey, and if the connection is short, I look to see if there is a second flight that day that they will be able to put me on, or I just pick another routing.

Ignoring my own advice, I have bought a round trip ticket to Munich; and a round trip ticket from Munich to St. Petersburg that leaves 3.5 hours after we are due to arrive. I only bought it to save money, and because the first airline has a second flight from EWR to Munich that arrives an hour before our flight to St. Petersburg leaves, but I’m still nervous about it.

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Don
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If it’s all booked as a single transaction, then airline will rebook you on their next available flight onward to your destination. Note that, depending on actual destination, next available flight might be sold out, not available ‘til next day, or both.

If you mis-connect, then find a house phone or courtesy phone—if available—and call your airline’s toll-free number. Tell them what happened, and ask if you have already been rebooked automatically (this is what usually happens). If the line happens to be very short (not likely) then you could just stand in line and wait, but phoning the airline will probably be faster and get the same results for you. After you get your new flight info, find an available gate agent for that airline and ask if they can re-issue you a boarding pass for your new connecting flight.

However… it’s better to choose an earlier outbound, or later connection, to avoid a lot of these type of hassles. Or, if the connecting airport is tiny, it might not be an issue. What’s the connecting airport, and which airline(s), and your ultimate destination?

Tinksahoy
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Thank you, all, for your responses. Smile

I’ll be flying home from Helsinki with Icelandair, so there is a stopover in Reykjavik (KEF). Is that a small airport? The airline website offered the flight, and it’s cheaper than all of the other flights offered that day (which are at least three hours longer and require two connections).

@Clevelandbrown: 3.5 hours doesn’t sound too bad. I have to admit though, I’m nervous for you.

I am leaving from Toronto with $2700 for 23 days
Reykjavik, Bergen, Flåm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Ærøskøbing, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gdańsk, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki
I am leaving from Toronto with $2700 for 22 days
Reykjavik, Bergen, Flåm, Oslo, Gdańsk, Malbork, Sopot, Toruń, Poznań, Żelazowa Wola, Warsaw, Częstochowa, Kielce, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food, Sights
Don
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Keflavik is a small airport. I’d email their customer service to confirm the airline agrees this is enough time for this connection—just so you have something in writing—and assuming they do, then go for it.

augustin25
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Yeah, small airport and booked with one airline I would likely go for it. Sorry if I was alarmist in my first post