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Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

Perth
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Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

Hi,

My girlfriend and I have purchased flight tickets to go from New York in January 2012, arriving in Vancouver with a lay over at Minneapolis Saint Pauls. We arrive at Minneapolis Saint Paul at 4:30pm with the connecting flight departing at 5:20pm. Both flights are with Delta Airlines. I'm a little worried that the time in between isn't enough. Just wanted to check with to see peoples thoughts are on this time frame? Especially if you are familiar with Saint Pauls International airport. Do you think we will make it?

Thanks for your help,

Chris

Minneapolis...
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1. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

There is nothing unique to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport that would make your connection different than any other airport. If your flight to MSP originates in New York then at least you know you will not have to go through customs at MSP.

But to me, that is cutting it too close. I suppose it is possible that you can race off the plane (given that you are either seated in the front or arrange that you can deplane before the masses due to your tight connection. But your luggage likely will move much slower than you will.

I do not think it is enough time. Again, it is possible everything falls into place. But I would never book on my dime a connection that tight.

Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

It sounds like you've already purchased the tickets so perhaps a somewhat moot point (and I'm not trying to be snide when I say that, just that you'll now need to deal with what is...)

It is a tight time, but if Delta took the reservation then it seems they are thinking you'll make it. You won't have time to dilly-dally in shops or restaurants, but from what I recall of MSP I also don't think it's completely impossible either. Plan any meals either in NYC or on the first plane, be ready to move as soon as possible, perhaps even see if you can find your next gate from the airline attendant or alternately.

Either that or ask us all what to do with an unexpected night in Minneapolis...(sorry...don't hate me too much for that!)

Perth
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3. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

Thanks for your opinion mate, appreciate it. I'll check it out a bit further. Cheers

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4. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

I think you'll be fine. There are websites that help to judge on-time stats for flights (like www.flightstats.com , for example). The bottom line is that if this is all one ticket on Delta, then it's their job to ensure you get to your destination. The minimum connection time allowed, I think, is still 40 minutes. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the airport beforehand or on the plane. Call on the day of departure, so you know what gate you land at MSP and what gate you will depart at. Once you land, reconfirm with the monitors. Last bit of advice, move to your gate - don't dawdle.

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

While it is a very good thing that your two flights are served by the same airline, they don't have responsibility to get you to your destination in a time frame that is convenient to you. And with your bags on your flight. That is the part that would worry me -- you making the connecting flight but having your bags miss the cutoff. Then you spend a day in Vancouver without your luggage.

Maybe I'm pessimistic because my tight connections have failed more often than not. Granted, that happened on other airlines (mainly US Airways). But I learned from them that I was fending for myself after a missed connection (because of a late arrival) to get a flight out that same day.

They would pay for my hotel but they were not at all concerned with getting me on a flight that day. And I was fighting for seats with all of the other passengers on my original flight.

Again, that was a different airline. But flights do get delayed. And they will not hold up a connecting flight for a flight that gets delayed.

If you do go through with it, I would speak to the airline about being seated toward the front of the jet and then speak to the flight crew about getting priority to exit the jet first. Make sure they know it's a Delta connection. That should get you out in good time. But again, the trick would be your checked bags (although I don't even know if you have those).

Perhaps the airline can do something to have your bags put on your NY to MSP flight last so they are first out? I've never made a request like that so I don't know if they would honor it.

Minneapolis
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6. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

Consider tracking what gates these flights usually arrive then depart from at the MSP airport.

I know gates can change on a whim, but if they typically arrive / depart from the same concourse (A/BC/D/F) and the gates are just a few numbers away, that could ease some of your concerns.

Everett, Washington
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7. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

As far as gates I have often wondered if the airlines apply any logic for assignment and try to group the planes with the tightest connections together. Back in the NWA days I had a tight connection through Mpls (living in Seattle at the time) and next flight was at the adjacent gate.

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8. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

Mntoathens: You bring up a lot of negatives in your post and it appears that you really don't fly much, so maybe you should speculate so much. I fly 30-60% of the time for work, so my perspective is much different.

"While it is a very good thing that your two flights are served by the same airline, they don't have responsibility to get you to your destination in a time frame that is convenient to you."

>Actually, the airline does have the responsibility to get to to your destination in a timely manner. Most airlines have Contracts of Carriage which spell out what you are entitled by the law. And there were additional rules passed into law last year, as well.

"And with your bags on your flight. That is the part that would worry me -- you making the connecting flight but having your bags miss the cutoff. Then you spend a day in Vancouver without your luggage."

>Again, I disagree...mainly because the opposite is the case. At most airports, baggage operations are more efficient than people in tagging and sorting your bags. If you make a flight, odds are that your bags will be on it, too.

"Maybe I'm pessimistic because my tight connections have failed more often than not. "

>That's your experience. My experience is that things go right a whole lot more often than go wrong.

"But flights do get delayed. And they will not hold up a connecting flight for a flight that gets delayed."

>True, but when flights delay, especially due to weather, usually there is a knock on effect to other flights - and you can still make your flight.

"Perhaps the airline can do something to have your bags put on your NY to MSP flight last so they are first out? I've never made a request like that so I don't know if they would honor it."

>I've never tried this, but doubt this option would work.

Again, as someone who has connected with numerous routes of 30-50 minutes, it's hard to speculate what might go wrong, so why do it? As stated by myself and others, arm yourself with the tools (airport map, gate information, when the next connection departs) and know what to do in the unlikely case something goes wrong. Then just let it happen.

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9. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

Keep in mind it is winter, you are connecting in MSP with a International flight, and it is also rush hour at the airport.

Minneapolis...
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10. Re: Layover @ Minneapolis Sain Pauls International Airport

bk_t1,

So you don't think it's worth bringing up negative possibilities for a traveler wondering about whether to continue with a tight connection? And in an unfamiliar airport no less? Should we assume that all decisions should be made without considering the possible negatives?

And are you really going to argue that bags move as quickly as a passenger can in the event of a tight connection? The point is that I believe if proper pre-work is done a traveler CAN get from gate A to B in time -- especially if both flights are carried by the same airline. But baggage can and often is another story because it (unlike your own pace) is not in your control. It is in the control of baggage handlers, who may take the extra steps to move your luggage quickly and efficiently and may not. My experience, as little as you value that, is that bags miss connections a lot.

Finally, two nitpicks:

"Actually, the airline does have the responsibility to get to to your destination in a timely manner. Most airlines have Contracts of Carriage which spell out what you are entitled by the law. And there were additional rules passed into law last year, as well. "

So what is timely to an airline. Is that timely to me? Is it as timely to take a flight 6 hours later or even the next morning as it is to make your connection? Is it worth re-booking now (if policy allows) to eliminate not only the possibility of a misconnection but also the stress when a traveler is on vacation?

"You bring up a lot of negatives in your post and it appears that you really don't fly much, so maybe you should speculate so much. I fly 30-60% of the time for work, so my perspective is much different. "

That comment was so weak and unwarranted I won't dignify it with a response. For a moment I thought I was on a different message board from one where people are advising based on their love of travel, which is usually based on extensive experience.