Since we've moved to Orange County, California and fly out of a small regional airport, we're almost always taking connecting flights. On more than one occasion when our first leg left late we've had to run like mad to get to the other gate to make our connection. We've had quite a few close calls but never actually missed one. My daughter Lilia is coming home from college for winter break and has a very tight connection-about 35 minutes- so I am going to share with you what I've shared with her. To help you get through those nerve racking situations here are my top 4 tips if you've got a connecting flight with little room to spare.
1. Try to book your seat closest to the front of the plane as possible. The biggest delay in getting off the plane is waiting for everyone to exit row by row, getting their luggage and making their way off the plane. There's not much that's more stressful than watching folks in no particular hurry take their own sweet time to get off the plane at their final destination while you watch the minutes tick by till you can get off and bolt. If you can't get a seat toward the front and you've got less than 45 minutes between flights, consider another flight option.
2. As your plane hits the tarmac, turn on your phone and google your connecting flight and gate #. (i.e. Delta 502). Every time I've tried it, it instantly came up with real time information if the plane was on time or delayed and what gate it was leaving out of. Listen to the announcement from your flight attendant to figure out what gate you are arriving into and then check the map section of the airline magazine in your seat pocket. Find the airport you've landed at (it's most likely a hub if you're connecting there) and see how far apart your two gates are. As you exit make your way toward your new gate, but ALWAYS double check the gate number at one of the monitors in the airport on your way.
3. Invest in a good rolling carry on. There is nothing worse than trying to make a flight moving faster than a speeding bullet and having your bag tip over or your handle making your bag really tough to steer. In my travels I have found that a handle that's a U shape with double rods is infinitely better than a single handle. My single handle bag flipped and flopped and eventually broke. Since then I've invested in a more secure U shape handle and it's a breeze. I can even stack a smaller back on the handle and it will pretty much stay put even as I am racing to the gate ....trust me, I've put it to the test.
4. If it's a dire situation, let your flight attendant know ahead of time you've got a very tight connection. Prior to landing hit your call button and in the nicest possible way, show the attendant your boarding pass, and ask if they would be kind enough to keep everyone seated so you can make a run for it.-Only use this tactic in a true emergency. I don't know about you, but I believe in karma, and it's moments like these when you want to make sure you've got plenty of the good stuff in your account to get you through and on to your next flight.