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1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

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1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

Hello everyone,

Im pretty sure we are going to the Cancun/Riviera Maya in Aug. I have never been out of the country, only have been on 1 trip in my life involving a plane. Im leaving from Philly airport and most of the packages involve a connecting flight. I can opt for a non stop flight but it is more expensive. For example, i can go for 4 nights on a non stop flight for $1,783, or spend 5 nights doing connecting flights for $1667. The schedule of the connections are:

Departure Flight

Delta Air Lines #2061 Philadelphia - Atlanta 17 Aug 07:30AM - 10:00AM

Delta Air Lines #533 Atlanta - Cancun 17 Aug 10:50AM - 12:33PM

Return Flight

Delta Air Lines #530 Cancun - Atlanta 22 Aug 07:55AM - 11:25AM

Delta Air Lines #2236 Atlanta - Philadelphia 22 Aug 01:30PM - 03:41PM

My question is, is it worth to fly on connecting flights? Im worried I will get lost, not make a flight, etc. Ive never been through customs, immigration or any of that. Is this enough time? Is it worth the hassle to save a few bucks? Is it just easier to save money and take the non stop? I might be able to get a nicer hotel if I do the connections, but I want to enjoy my vacation and not spend 2 days of it traveling most of the day. What do you guys think? Any feed back appreciated :)

Ewing, New Jersey
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1. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

I have done both and will (hopefully) never again do connecting flights.....just too much of a pain. Non stop for us all the way. Have you looked at prices out of Newark and also, if you fly mid week as opposed to Saturday's and weekends, it is much cheaper.

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

IMO 50 minutes for a connection is cutting it close if you are an experienced confident traveller, but I would seriously reconsider that option in your case.

Destination Expert
for Cancun
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11,835 posts
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3. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

If it's not much of a difference in price, I always opt for direct. Keep in mind not only the connections on the way back but several other hassles with connections:

1) If you buy duty free, you have to put it in your checked bags if you have a connecting flight.

2) Checked bags must be claimed at your first port of entry to the US and must be rechecked before you head to immigration. Direct flights avoid this hassle.

3) Clearing immigration at your first port of entry is not a problem when you have a long connection but many times it's stressful as you have to deplane, grab your bags, recheck them, stand in line for immigration, go back through security and get to your gate for your connection flight.

With a direct flight, all of these are moot. So, if price is not a huge difference, go direct.


New Jersey
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4. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

We have no problem with a connecting flight on the way TO Cancun, as long as we have enough time to catch the connecting flight and we arrive early, but I will never do it again on the way home. One connection at MIA was enough, and we will never do it again. Coming back home to reality after a trip to paradise is hard enough...no need to make it worse!

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
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5. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

Just a nit about the term "direct." That is not the same as non-stop.

Dallas, Texas
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6. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

Go for the Non-Stop flight. Is is less than a $100 difference. Not only do you avoid having to worry about the issues other have mentioned (that 50 minute connection is really pushing it), it stinks to do connections when you have such a short trip.

Marsa Alam, Egypt
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7. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

That's the key right there. More than a week I don't mind connectors. Five days or less? Take the direct option.

Stow, Ohio
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8. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

I agree, 50 minutes is just cutting it too close. I had a 2 hour layover last year on my outbound flight connecting in Houston and barely had enough time to grab something to drink and a quick restroom stop. Coming home I had a 2 1/2 hour layover and got to the gate as they were already boarding.

Not worth the risk of missing a flight, spending the night in Atlanta, and losing a day of vacation. Is there a later flight out of Atlanta? I would do the direct flight, or look for a later flight out of Atlanta just to be safe.

Edited: 18 May 2011, 01:09
Detroit, Michigan
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9. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

I'd rather stay another night but 50 minutes is fine on your way there if your flight is on time and your connecting flight doesn't leave early. Coming back into ATL is a different story as you have to go through immigration, get your checked bags, recheck them and go through security again.

Then again, I always say we will fly nonstop when we are flying and have to stop but here I am again with a connecting flight in MIA.

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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10. Re: 1st Timer, Non stop or connecting flights?

Flying nonstop is not an option from where i live in the midwest. Changing planes is easy, although I try and have at least 45 minutes.

I also try and not check bags. Every stop is a chance for your bags to get lost. Although I've met people whose bags were lost flying nonstop.

I'm cheap, it's sounds like more than $100.00 difference to me, it another night's stay. I'd go with the connecting flight.