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Connections

I think I read somewhere that your first flight should at least get you across the pond and then connect to your destination if there isn’t direct from your home vs connecting through a US city- is that correct?

Also, how long, minimum should a connection be to reasonably be able to make the next flight?
Many thanks

Posted by
2765 posts
  1. I am not sure where you read this but... why would it matter where you connect? I generally prefer to connect in the US but don't see a big difference.

  2. The minimum connection time varies by airport. However, if you are buying your ticket from the airline and not some shoddy thrid party agent then you won't be sold a ticket that does not meet the requirements. Now posters on here often seem to want hours an hours but I just go with what works for the airline.

Posted by
11477 posts

Also, how long, minimum should a connection be to reasonably be able to make the next flight?

If you buy a ticket from the airline from home to your destination, they figure out how much time is needed at whatever connection point they use.

If you buy two tickets, then the consensus seems to be at least 4 hours. The majority here will advise against doing a 2 ticket self connect for US to Europe travel.

Posted by
6073 posts

The rationale behind getting you to Europe on the first flight is that if your flight is cancelled/delayed, you are at least in Europe where you will have access to other modes of transportation. That said, there are other considerations for choosing an itinerary--price would be one.

We most often connect thru Paris or Amsterdam. Our connect times usually have ranged between 50 minutes and about 4 hours. We've never missed a connecting, although a couple have been a bit stressful! We always, always, always have connected tickets so that if we miss a connecting, the airline (usually Delta) is responsible to get us on another flight.

Posted by
11480 posts

We always fly to Europe from the West Coast with no East Coast stops as we have found that too exhausting, both outbound and homeward bound. If you have to connect on arrival in Europe make sure you have that booked on the same itinerary, so one ticket. We like to stay where we land in Europe at least one night and not have to make a connection as the layovers can be long and very tiring and frustrating after a 9 hour flight. Those who live on the East Coast will have a different POV.

Posted by
283 posts

We fly from the West coast so our preferred 'connection' is in Europe. Typically we fly Delta through either Amsterdam (AMS) or Paris (CDG) and, typically, we make sure it is all one reservation. I say typically because this summer I'm testing a new route out via London and will need to change airports (I have 5+hrs) and I have two separate tickets. I know, I'm crazy. Hopefully it will all work...

In my opinion, the sweet spot connection time is 2hrs. I have, one time, had a connection of 1hr 15 via Amsterdam. The times and prices were great but I also knew that this flight usually lands 45mins early. It did, but I don't think I'd chance anything less than 1hr 30 again.

Posted by
4645 posts

It's a personal preference for me to do the long flight first--I am coming from east coast of US--but you should buy based on the best schedule and price.
If you are booking both legs together, the airline will give you a "legal connection time"--that means you have a reasonable expectation to make the connection. However, sometimes this can be really tight, so feel free to post questions about any specific schedules you are looking at. A decent rule of thumb would be three hours to be super safe, but it's not a requirement.

Posted by
1806 posts

I think most people from at least the Midwest (Chicago) eastward can usually get flights direct to Europe. However, to save money, you will find connections through East Coast airports.

I prefer to connect in Europe because as someone already stated, at least you are in Europe and there are alternatives like trains if something goes wrong so you can keep moving and not lose time.

Posted by
6669 posts

As a west coaster I prefer to fly straight to Europe so I have multiple options if I should miss the connection. But that isn't a rigid rule -- we're connecting in Reykjavik for Glasgow this summer, and I connected in Chicago for Dublin a couple of years ago. Sometimes a good fare or convenient timing is more important.

I agree, do it all on one ticket, bought from the airline. I like at least two hours at the connecting airport but I'll take less if the airline sells it. I guess I'd be uncomfortable with a short layover and no more flights that day, but I usually land in Europe in the morning.

Posted by
597 posts

We prefer to connect in Europe. There are many more flights within Europe compared to our options from Vancouver to the continent. We have had delays and because we try to book our entire journey with one airline, our connecting flight has sometimes been updated to address the delay, before we have left Vancouver.