Not too long ago I went to Dallas to visit my family. And just recently I visited the Bahamas for vacation. Both times I had to make connections and both times I would have loved to have had a direct flight. Connections can be stressful especially if you experience severe weather or mechanical issues (like what happened in the Bahamas, although it was fixed and I was able to make my connecting flight in Charlotte). Below are some of the reasons why you should avoid connections if possible and what you can do if you are making a connection.
1) First is that you never know when they are going to cancel a flight due to whatever reason they come up with. The more flights you take on your travels the more likely one of the legs is going to get cancelled. And sometimes you will end up paying more than you originally thought. Not too long ago I was flying to New York through Cleveland and my flight from Cleveland to New York was cancelled. Well that was a major blow to my plans! And on top of that I ended up having to pay for a hotel. More money that I had to spend.
2) They’re physically exhausting and they waste time on your travels. When I was traveling to Dallas I had to change in Atlanta and the trip took a total of 5 hours. From Chicago to Dallas it should only take less than 2 hours. I’m not saying it’s the end of the world but it required me to go to a different airport and waste a good part of my day.
3) They don’t necessarily save you money. For instance I actually paid more than a normal flight to Dallas would be and I still had to connect through two other cities. My advice to you is to book early and plan at least a month in advance to get the best deals. But if you’re booking at the last-minute then sometimes you have no options.
4) Connections can stress you out. Say your connection is really tight. The plane you’re on has a mechanical problem, weather problems, etc… Well before your travels all you’ll be thinking whether your flight will be on time or if the weather will be good for flying that day (for all the cities you traveling to that day).
5) Also you have to think about the planes and where they are coming from. Say a snow storm in the Boston delays or cancels your flight in Charlotte because that plane from Boston to Charlotte was also cancelled. So then you have to rush to an airline desk or get on your phone (it’s why I always advocate bringing a phone while you travel). Talk about stressful (this happened to me in Cleveland, which I was connecting through. It’s especially annoying when you’re not in your home city).
6) My recommendation is that if you can drop the connection, do it. It will save you the stress of over thinking about your travels and will drop the infinite amount of problems that are added when you make connections. It will stop you from wondering whether or whether not you’re going to show up to your final destination.
Most of the time planes do run on time but lately (especially in the US), many airlines are not doing a great job keeping up with the schedule or purposely causing planes to be delayed.
Bottom line is that connections are a hassle because you are constantly worrying about making your connecting flight. With more chances to experience a problem due to all the planes involved you have a greater chance of experiencing a problem. And no one wants to start or end their vacation poorly. They can sometimes save money though and especially if you’re booking last-minute.. this ultimately might be the deciding factor.
One benefit of connections is that not always, but sometimes, if your flight is overbooked, they will ask people if they would like to be pulled off the flight (which means you will get some sort of reimbursement)! This happened to me while going to the Bahamas and I had to connect in Charlotte. They were offering 350 dollars to use towards a flight plus hotel… For me personally getting to the Bahamas was more important but some people might take up on this offer. It can also be a good idea especially if you have nowhere to be. You will get a free flight (usually) and your travels most likely won’t be severely delayed.
And maybe the only other benefit of making a connection is if you love flying.. I personally love airports and flying but most of the time I would rather get to my destination.
Recap on My Recommendations on Connections
Book at least one month in advance to wherever you’re going and try to avoid connections. Most of the time connections work out but you are generally wasting time, it can be stressful, infinitely more problems could happen than a direct flight, you could get stranded in a foreign city and maybe even sometimes lose money.
If you’re traveling from a destination where you’re going to have to make a connection then do yourself a favor and make sure your connection is long enough. The longer you have at an airport the better chance you have to get on another flight if your flight is cancelled.
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