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Planning a Better Connection

While most people prefer to fly direct whenever possible (or affordable), it’s not always an option when booking airline deals. If there’s no way to stop a stopover, here are tips to make the non-direct journey go smoothly.

Try different departures: Preventing lengthy layovers en route to destinations served by only a few flights a day may seem impossible .. but it doesn’t have to be. For example, when coming from the West Coast, make those early, infrequent flights to smaller Caribbean islands by taking a redeye departing the night before instead of planning an overnight stay mid-trip.

Stick to one airline when possible: It might be most cost efficient to book two separate tickets on different airlines but, if the first flight is delayed, the unrelated airline could owe you nothing if the connection is missed. This can result in additional fees including change and rebooking charges, plus day of pricing, to get back on the next flight out.

Know the connection points: Although there’s no guarantee how close gates will be for each flight, check maps to see if certain airlines leave from different terminals and know if airports require passengers to exit and re-enter through security when traveling between terminals. Factor in extra time for flights where it’s necessary to clear customs before boarding the connecting flight.

Research flight frequency: It doesn’t hurt to know when the next flight on the booked airline leaves from the stopover airport, just in case of a delay or cancellation. Be careful when planning a close connection that is also the last flight of the day on that airline or any partners – it’s better to spend extra time in the airport beforehand than an unexpected night on an airport chair.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, San Francisco
Thursday, August 18, 2011
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Morgan Ashley Parker