Home > Travel > Connecting flights and why I put up with them

Connecting flights and why I put up with them

I’ve been flying alot lately with connections, something that in the past I wouldn’t have done unless absolutely necessary.  Yet still the last several flights have had a connection and it hasn’t bothered me too much.  I was thinking about that the other day, and being slightly neurotic I felt the need to analyze why now I seem to be okay with connections.  The first thing I realized is that it’s not all connections, just the ones that are convenient.  Here’s the subcnscious criteria:

  1. The direct flight is outragreously priced.  In my mind the tipping point here is $1000 which used to be a rarity but is now becoming the norm.  Rising fuel costs gave airlines the excuse to raise ticket prices, and what affects me even more is that they have reduced the number of lower-fare seats that are available on the aircraft.  In the end, that means that even if you book early you quite often don’t get a reasonable fare.  So, if it’s over $1000 for a direct flight I start to get creative.
  2. I need to save significant dollars by connecting.  The formula here involves not only the direct cost of the flight, but also any additional costs that might be incurred for an extra hotel night or an extra car rental day.  If in the end I’m still saving at least $200, I’ll consider the connecting flight.  I know it’s not my money, but I’m innately cheap.
  3. The connecting flight should not take me away from my family for any longer than the direct would have.  When it comes to flying, I care more about my family time and less about my personal time these days.  For example, flying 6:00pm to 8:00pm on a direct is no different to my available family time than flying 6:00pm to 11:00pm.  In the end it’s about working or watching TV in the hotel room versus doing the same in an airport.  Given the technology I have available to me, either works.
  4. The connecting flight should stop at an airport with decent food choices.  One of my top complaints about many airports is the food service options available.  Something with a full menu where I can sit down and have an actual meal is important.  Far too many airports have day-old sandwiches, burgers, and fries available.  Chicago OHare is starting to become less attractive to me every time I go there and end up with a burger.  On the other hand, Dulles and Philly both have full-service TGIFridays near the star alliance airlines I usually fly.  And Denver has a decent mexican place, which is something I always seek out when traveling in the US.
  5. The connecting flight needs to get me more aeroplan points than the direct flight.  I’ve become a points whore, and am in a desperate battle to earn status on Air Canada this year so every point and status segment helps.  Luckily there are lots of connecting flights available with United and USAirways that meet this criteria.  I also get Air Canada lounge access with my platinum amex this year, so flying United or Air Canada out of Toronto really makes life easier as well since I can get a beer and wireless while waiting for the flight to take care of some business.  Quite often the direct flights leave me  with no lounge access.

Surprisingly, there have been many flights in the last month or so that have met this criteria, so I’ve been flying more often on connecting flights.  I do however miss the days of a $300 direct flight where I wouldn’t really need to worry about these sort of things.  Stupid airlines.

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Categories: Travel
  1. Nick
    June 14, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    Let me reiterate! Never fly with Pete!! Although, if he is now doing crazy connecting flights and having 6 segment layovers and such, perhaps none of you would want to travel with him anyway. Keep blogging on your travel antics Pete because it just lets me know that the curse continues.

    Also, what’s with your blog and targeted google ads!?!? There is like 5 references to sinus infections and nasal drip sprays and such and the word “sick” occurs in one place way down at the bottom. And it’s not even a reference to being sick, it’s a reference to being sick in childhood — so like does google have no heuristical-analyzing-relevent-targeted-ad-xml-services to do checks before presenting me with ads that I don’t need or care about?! I hope you got your $0.05 🙂

  2. June 17, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    I tend to fly cross country a lot, and usually with a connecting flight somewhere (typically Denver or Chicago). I also spend a lot of time on the east coast (I live in Porrland, OR), and also like Dulles and others for the ammenities. Airports in general are nicer places to stop these days.

    I’m also a United Premier Exec level flyer and I have the club access, which makes all the difference in the world. especially if you ever get stuck due to unforseen circumstrances. The concierege in the club can work incredible miracles whenever humanly possible. Weight in gold style.

    One of the benefits of connections on the Uniuted frequent flier plan is that they don’t just count miles toward premier status, they also count segments, so a two-segment flight with one stop has double the value in that regard. It can add up quickly.

    And as much travel as I do, getting moved up to the front of the plane now and then is nice. The stress of flying is real, so extra room or a nicer seat can make a big difference for people who fly a lot.

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