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Old 11-17-2014, 07:22 AM
 
35,324 posts, read 25,184,015 times
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:34 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,601,121 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by Office Politics View Post
Everyone says we should have picked a flight with a longer connection. Yes, this sounds good in theory but the airline only offered two options both with short connections. There were limited flights offered and no longer connections were available. By offering only the short connections the airline told us that they were confident that we would make it through immigration, customs, baggage reclaim and recheck and then the TSA line after all that... on time. They set the flight schedules, not me.
No, they made no such claim. Yes, there were longer connections but you didn't want to take one as it would have required a red-eye or overnight. I see no less than 10 flights MIA to MSP that leave at 9:00 pm or later.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:17 AM
 
32,089 posts, read 32,986,776 times
Reputation: 14951
Quote:
Originally Posted by Office Politics View Post
Everyone says we should have picked a flight with a longer connection. Yes, this sounds good in theory but the airline only offered two options both with short connections. There were limited flights offered and no longer connections were available. By offering only the short connections the airline told us that they were confident that we would make it through immigration, customs, baggage reclaim and recheck and then the TSA line after all that... on time. They set the flight schedules, not me.
The airline representative might have said that but that is based on ideal conditions which quite often are not realistic.

When I returned from China via Chicago in 2011 my employer's travel agent booked the return flight with a short connection at O'Hare Airport. The only reason that I was able to make that connection was that I hurried as much as possible whenever/wherever possible including practically running through a domestic terminal. I got to the connecting flight gate no more than 5 minutes before they started boarding. If I had had control over the ticket/reservation I would have never booked such a short connection which was done to save the company money and I had no control over except trying to make it within that short window of time. BTW, when I called the airline they said there was no problem to make such a connection and it was too costly for me (and my employer would not have reimbursed me) to change that return connecting flight.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,075 posts, read 19,019,086 times
Reputation: 24182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Office Politics View Post
Everyone says we should have picked a flight with a longer connection. Yes, this sounds good in theory but the airline only offered two options both with short connections. There were limited flights offered and no longer connections were available. By offering only the short connections the airline told us that they were confident that we would make it through immigration, customs, baggage reclaim and recheck and then the TSA line after all that... on time. They set the flight schedules, not me.
Then you stay overnight in between connections or you stay overnight at your departure city and take an early morning flight. The airlines offered you the flights they had available - and many of the passengers on that final flight to Milwaukee did not start at the same city as you. The airlines offer what they have, you take your choices. I'm betting you took the cheapest choice and figured it would be their responsibility (or the travel insurance) to pick up the bill.

Common Mistakes That Will Make You Miss Your Flight*|*SmarterTravel
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:51 AM
 
2,285 posts, read 3,111,425 times
Reputation: 3664
Quote:
Originally Posted by Office Politics View Post
Everyone says we should have picked a flight with a longer connection. Yes, this sounds good in theory but the airline only offered two options both with short connections. There were limited flights offered and no longer connections were available. By offering only the short connections the airline told us that they were confident that we would make it through immigration, customs, baggage reclaim and recheck and then the TSA line after all that... on time. They set the flight schedules, not me.
Amazing that you would legitimately think that the airline would be culpable for this.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:19 AM
 
Location: galaxy far far away
3,111 posts, read 4,558,314 times
Reputation: 7205
Quote:
Originally Posted by foadi View Post
For years I was red-flagged as a potential smuggler or something, so I would be pulled to the side for secondary screening every time I re-entered the country. Because of this, started booking my onward travel separately upon returning to the US, and have grown accustomed to spending my first night back in the US at an airport hotel. It sucks, but better to be safe than sorry.
Foadi's advice is the best. I travel a LOT, that's why my location says "38,000 feet" - I spend a lot of time in airplanes and airports. No, you can't go back and change what happened. So woulda/coulda/shoulda is a useless conversation.

HOWEVER - for you and anyone else traveling these days, always have a Plan B. Always think about the What-ifs. There are just NO guarantees on arrival, departure, customs & immigration, baggage, the kind of day the TSA agent had prior to meeting you, or any other aspect of travel. NONE. And the airlines could care less. They are transporting millions of people a day. You are a seat number. Period.

Book flights separately instead of using connecting flights if you can. It may actually save you money. It doesn't save you time to book a direct with a customs stopover from, say, Germany to Minneapolis if you have to stop in a port of entry anyway for customs. You always have to pick up your baggage before going to customs and then go check it back in again for the rest of the flight. If you book your flights separately, you have more control and you can look at the best options for entry into the US. As someone else noted, Miami is a nightmare. I rarely go through their customs if I can avoid it. LaGuardia is bad, too. Hell, they're all a mess, but there are some websites out there that give you an idea of which are less bad. Flyertalk is one that I know of. The hour or so you spend researching flights will save you huge headaches and time later. BTW - the same goes for cruises. The Customs line coming back in from a Belize cruise at Galveston was unbelievable, and worse, I had gotten food poisoning on my last night on the ship, so standing in line there was real peachy.


Always assume the worst these days. You will have a much better trip that way. It's a royal PITA, but if you choose to travel, assume everything will take longer than you think it will. Then, if you happen to hit TSA at a good time with an agent who hasn't been beat up by other passengers, and the Customs guy thinks you look like his best friend, and the airlines are on time and the bags arrive the way they are supposed to, well then, do a little happy dance and go hang out in the lounge or have an adult beverage while you wait (just don't miss your flight!)
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:20 AM
 
14,188 posts, read 6,432,872 times
Reputation: 14640
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Yup, it's fair. I'm sure there were other connection options that would have been more expensive or on other airlines. You gambled and lost. I never accept less than a four hour connection when returning to the US, unless I am pre-clearing in Canada or Ireland--and I have Global Entry.
Nothing less than a four hour connection? Give me a break. I just got back from Nicaragua with an hour & a half layover in Atlanta. It was plenty of time to go thru customs, pick up my luggage, recheck it, jump the train to C gate AND smoke two cigarettes, get coffee & go to the bathroom.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:32 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
186 posts, read 166,132 times
Reputation: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefragile View Post
Nothing less than a four hour connection? Give me a break. I just got back from Nicaragua with an hour & a half layover in Atlanta. It was plenty of time to go thru customs, pick up my luggage, recheck it, jump the train to C gate AND smoke two cigarettes, get coffee & go to the bathroom.
Atlanta airport is super efficient and staff is the most friendly one I have seen anywhere in the US--or elsewhere for that matter. Just saying.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:35 AM
 
5,911 posts, read 6,718,562 times
Reputation: 15255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Office Politics View Post
... the airline told us that they were confident that we would make it through immigration, customs, baggage reclaim and recheck and then the TSA line after all that... on time.
And you believed them? That amount of time will barely get you through customs, let alone time to recheck bags and get through screening.


You MIGHT try moving forward in the customs line when you have a tight connection. People are GENERALLY understanding when you move to the front trying to make a connection. But certainly there will be some unhappy folks as they have places to be as well.

Regardless, even if you made it through customs promptly, you still have a long slog ahead and 90 minutes is cutting it close. Airline owes you nothing, but you can keep trying as it is they who told you (incorrectly) that you will make it. IF you "win", expect to get a free ticket or some miles/upgrade. They will never pay out cash.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:42 AM
 
14,188 posts, read 6,432,872 times
Reputation: 14640
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Originally Posted by meengla View Post
Atlanta airport is super efficient and staff is the most friendly one I have seen anywhere in the US--or elsewhere for that matter. Just saying.
Yes, a friend who lives in Atlanta who flies often has mentioned how efficient that airport is, apparently so! You're right about their friendliness. Actually, I had no problems with any airline personnel at anytime on my trip.
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