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51 Minute Stopover in Atlanta?

We're trying to book our flights for February, Tulsa to Amsterdam, London to Tulsa. The best combination of comfort and price seems to be Delta/Virgin. The most convenient flight out, however has only 51 minutes in Atlanta. Is this practical?

The main advantage of the Delta/Virgin combo is only one stop each way, and the price for Premium Economy is good. (Business class may be out of reach this trip, unless something good happens on Cyber Monday.)

Posted by
11045 posts

I would say no.

As you know I just went thru there in October coming back from Rome. That was different since I went thru Immigration and Customs BUT I just don't see how you can do this. Your flight to Amsterdam will start boarding 55-60 minutes ahead of departure so it will be boarding before you land. I usually fly Delta and have noted the doors will close 30 minutes or so before departure so that only leave you with 21 minutes to get from Concourse to Concourse.

You also know I am risk averse when it comes to travel!

Editing to add - is that going AND coming?

Posted by
832 posts

Jane,

I go through Atlanta often using Saint Louis to ATL to LHR. While I think Atlanta is pretty easy to navigate, 51 minutes is a little too tight. The plane will be boarding for your AMS as you arrive. Even if the AMS flight is in the same concourse - it's still too tight. There is really no flexibility in this itinerary. Is there an early flight out of Tulsa? or perhaps grab lunch in Atlanta. I prefer to have a longer connection just so I don't have to rush or stress at the start of a trip and I can no longer run through airports at my age!

Posted by
6388 posts

I don't know about how you feel about a "feeder" flight from Tulsa to a Icelandair hub like Chicago. Right now a coach ticket in February from Chicago to Amsterdam and back from London can be purchased for $568. Saga Class (equivalent to Domestic first class seats in size and service) $1209 .

This may or may not work for you, but I thought I would raise the possibility in case you were interested.

Posted by
8155 posts

Hmmm I would have to go back and look, but that seems not too much less time (but maybe just enough less?) than what I usually do.

I have an hour and 11 minutes on Tuesday when I go through ERT Paris. I didn't think twice about booking it - ha, maybe I should have, since the Paris-bound flight out of Atlanta is the last of the evening (i.e. not as easy a rebound if I miss it).

I will go back and look at my last few flights - I know in May when I came home I had something like six HOURS, which I have never done before and obviously isn't comparable.

Edit to add - ok I went back and checked all my TUL-ATL-CDG flights back to 2014 (roughly comparable to AMS).

Layovers in Atlanta between arrival of flight from Tulsa and departure for Europe (CDG in this case, AMS for you):

Aug 2014: 2 hr 30 mins
April 2019: 1 hr 4 mins
Nov 2019: 1 hr 21 mins
May 2021: 1 hr 38 mins
Dec 2021: I bought a ticket with a 1 hr, 28-min layover. They cancelled the outbound Tulsa flight and rebooked me for all the next day ( New Year's Eve!) with a 3 hr, 48-min layover
June 2022: 6 hr 23 mins (I waited too long to buy my ticket, and that big layover brought the price down, so I sucked it up and went with it)
Nov 2022 (planned): 1 hr 11 mins

So -- I have never had a layover of less than an hour. Have had ones just over an hour that have gone perfectly fine.

Part of the thing with the 51 minutes that would make me nervous is, since you want to buy Premium Economy -- if you do have to catch a later flight out of Atlanta, will they have space for you in Premium Economy, the product you paid for ?

(It doesn't really make me any difference because I just fly main economy - all I would need is a seat. But if I had paid for Premium Economy, I would want to get that even if I got bumped.)

Posted by
8155 posts

Even if the AMS flight is in the same concourse -

And of course there is no way that this is going to be the case. Flights from domestic destinations arrive into A, B, C, or D, while International flights depart only from the International terminal.

Posted by
5405 posts

I knew there was a reason a little voice kept me from booking this flight. I hadn't even thought about the fact that the ATL-AMS flight would already be boarding when we arrived in Atlanta, and could well be in a different concourse. I was just uneasy, thinking of how many flights we've had in the last 5 or 6 years that were late leaving, or arriving, or both.

This flight is listed by Delta, KLM, and Virgin, so I kept thinking they must think it's doable... But there are other flights, other airlines, and other routes.

Thanks. I'll keep looking. I'd like to get this done this weekend, and I'm still hoping to find a good sale. We have another trip planned for next fall that I'd love to be able to book at a bargain rate.

Carol now retired, thanks for the suggestion. Thanks to all of you for pointing me in the right direction.

Posted by
2265 posts

As someone who flew through through Atlanta for decades, and still lives here, I would do it. But there are a couple of considerations.

One can you move quickly with your luggage. If you’re one of these people who is going to do carry-on but can’t really manage your luggage don’t try it. I see this a lot in ATL. “I’ve got my roller board, my back pack, my small bag,. I’ve got my water bottle, etc”. In other words they are hauling around a ton of junk anf have to stop every 10 feet to rearrange them. If that’s you, and be honest, this won’t work.

Two. No you don’t have time to stop at Chick-fil-A. Or the bathroom or the fast food, places etc. if you get to your gate and you have time then you go do those things. I have been sitting at the gate in Atlanta, more often than I can count, watching people come running up to tell the agent that they missed the plane because their preceding plane was late hauling a Chick-fil-A bag. In other words, their plane was late and instead of coming right to the gate area they stopped at Chick-fil-A to get a sandwich because they don’t have that at home and they missed their flight. 😂

If you do book this, watch your flight times. Delta has been changing them consistently over the past year. If it gets any shorter, you would need to call back and get your connection changed which they’re pretty good about.

Posted by
5405 posts

Carol, you made me chuckle. Honest answers to your observations:

We do carry on, and we can handle it. One backpack and one small personal item each.

We hate Chic-Fil-A. I don't give a rat's patootie about their politics, I would have to be staving off scurvy and ber-beri before I would eat their food. (Yes, I've tried it. Twice.)

Now the bathroom.. that could be a problem.

But wiser heads have convinced me that this would NOT be a good idea; I'm now looking at less convenient, but surer, routes.

Thanks for chiming in; I do appreciate your experienced comments, but there's no way I want to cut it that close. I was just looking at another flight, on another airline, that has a 49 minunte change. In Houston. Ummm ... no thank you.

Posted by
11045 posts

I always wonder how "they" work out minimum connection times. I did take a couple of flights connecting in SLC with a 28 minute connection. One time I actually did it in 14 minutes going down and out to the E concourse, including making a comfort stop but I knew that airport really, really well and knew where the non-crowded potties were, lol. I decided after taking that kind of connection a couple of times it stressed me out too much so I just wouldn't book it.

I know you'll find something that works for you - both time-wise and budget wise!

Posted by
5405 posts

Just booked our trip, NOT through Atlanta, and NOT with very short changes. Not as convenient, either, but better safe than sorry. Or so I've heard.

Posted by
2265 posts

SLC has incredibly short minimum connection times for some reason, but... I Have always made them

Posted by
8155 posts

Glad you have your solution Jane.

My flight out of Tulsa Tuesday evening was sufficiently delayed to make me miss my Paris-bound flight (the last of the night). So Delta put me up overnight in Atlanta and rebooked me for the first afternoon departure the next day. Not fun, but for me it "only" means a missed day of work (and another day of leave to take). For you, it would mean missed vacation day, which are far fewer in number ! You've done the right thing going a different route - saved yourself a future headache.

Posted by
11045 posts

Kim! Sorry you had a delay! Do you mind saying which hotel Delta put you up in?

Posted by
3515 posts

Good call, Jane. To make Carol laugh, last summer when returning home from London after 3 weeks there(courtesy of the ridiculous Covid test requirement that was ended 4 days after I got home), I had to choose between a 4 hour layover in ATL and a shorter one in JFK. I chose ATL because 1) If all the flights to Charleston were cancelled(as happened to my husband this year) I could drive home if a rental was available or family could come get me in a worst case scenario 2) Chik Fil A - nothing says back home in the South like Chik Fil A!

EDITED: Two of the concourses in Atlanta have Chik Fil A's and on one of them, the Chik Fil A is close to the escalator that goes to the plane train. (No, I don't work for Chik Fil A, but one of the students at the private school where I taught borrowed the outfit and headphone from them and wore it for career day.)

Posted by
8155 posts

Pam - they put me and several other people in the Sonesta Atlanta Airport North. The rooms (like walls and bathrooms) were a bit tired, but the bed was comfortable and it was clean. An easy shuttle ride from the domestic terminal.

I didn't try the hotel restaurant or breakfast or anything so can't report on that. Luckily I had brought my usual cheese, crackers and grapes - instead of being my overnight meal on the plane, they became my late-night meal in the hotel room!!

Posted by
11045 posts

Cala....that is pretty funny. I agree with your reasoning on choosing an airport that might be drive-able to home.

Kim...good to know. I don't know why I'm obsessed about having a Plan B for the Atlanta airport as I doubt I'll fly thru there again unless I go to FL but there you have it. (Well, actually...you do know why, hahaha!!!)

Posted by
8155 posts

Pam I saw the SWAMP again on Wednesday and thought of you!

On the way TO Tulsa, I stayed at the Radisson. It was more expensive and a bit nicer but not really that much nicer for the money (when I was looking for hotels, I don't remember seeing the Sonesta, so it might have already been booked; I am basing my price guess over what the Sonesta appeared to cost the night after I was staying there (the Radisson was cheaper then, too, but still not as low as the Sonesta).

Both were a nice quick drive from the airport and I didn't have to wait long for either shuttle.

Posted by
11045 posts

I'm glad you enjoyed "my" swamp!

And good to know about the Radisson. Glad they both had shuttles.

Posted by
8155 posts

There are about a million hotels around the airport, all with shuttles. It is mind-boggling when you get on your shuttle to go to your hotel and see just how many hotels there are. And of course you only go in one direction — there are hotels just about every direction from the airport - NE, N, NW, due west, SW . . . .

one thing is that as far as I was able to figure out, only the Kimpton shuttle goes to the international terminal. So yo have to go to the domestic terminal to go to the shuttle pick-up/drop-off space. There is then a shuttle that runs from the domestic to international terminal or Vice versa — but I just used the underground train to “shuttle” myself along.