We are looking to book a flight on KLM from Chicago to WAW that arrives at 11:40 am then book a LOT flight from WAW to Lviv that leaves at 12:55. Are we cutting it too close? Should we play it safe and book the 15:50 flight?
Why not book the entire ticket through LOT Airlines? They fly from Chicago, and that way the stop-over in Warsaw will be part of a single ticket. Compare the prices and connection times with the KLM flight + LOT flight priced separately.
$300 round trip per person difference. Hence the question.
When I went through WAW last summer (twice) I found the airport compact, efficient, and hassle-free.
IF your inbound flight is on time, you should have plenty of time. But if it's delayed...
Nobody can tell you what you should do. But I would ask this question: what are the potential consequences of you missing your connection? You would have to buy a new ticket and get on an available flight. How much would that cost you? How hard is it to buy a new ticket (how many flights are there to your destination, how full do they usually get)?
Personal experience: Last summer, we flew on Delta nonstop from SEA to AMS, and had a separate ticket from AMS to VNO. Our connection time was just shy of 2 hours. We had carry-on bags only. I figured AMS is an efficient airport and we had a high probability of making it.
The Delta flight had a delayed departure from SEA - about 90 minutes late in leaving. The crew hurried and made up some of that time, but not enough. We ran through AMS but just barely missed the cutoff to check in, and were denied boarding. We missed the flight. Although I did have a Plan B in my back pocket, tickets for the only later flight that day were stunningly expensive. We went to our Plan C: buy a still-too-expensive ticket on our original flight but the following day, and get a hotel for the night in AMS. Lesson learned.
Back to your question: only you can decide what your risk tolerance is. But if it were me...I'd book that later flight and not chance it.
I would 100% book the later flight. Why add anxiety to the beginning of your vacation so you can save 3 hours? It's not like you're going to be raring to go once you get to Lviv anyway.
If all goes well, you'll have time to enjoy a relaxing lunch in Chopin Airport. If not, chances are you'll still make your connection.
1.25 hours is really cutting it close because you're coming in on a long-haul flight. There are half a dozen common reasons why the KLM flight might be delayed. Even though I was on separate tickets (El Al and Lot), my checked bag was routed directly to Gdansk and I got my Lot boarding pass in Tel Aviv. Check with KLM, they can probably do that for you at ORD. I had a 2.5 hour layover between Tel Aviv and Gdansk and had well over an hour to wander the airport. It's a smallish, pleasant airport and there were comfortable upholstered seats. I read a book.
Some good fortune came my way. The LOT open jaw flights to my stops just dropped under $1000 round trip so I grabbed it; simplifies the whole process. Thanks for all your advice.
Hi, I agree with Agnes. Just do the whole trip on LOT Polish Airlines. Having done ORD-Warsaw with them in the past, I can say that it's a rather nice flight. And from my experience, LOT is almost always a better price than the legacy carriers. Warsaw airport is also quite easy to navigate. As with any international connection, short connecting times just add to whatever stress level you may already have about getting around the airport. Why not opt for a longer connection and relax.