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Question Regarding Flight To Europe

I found a May ’08 Dallas-Venice flight that finally meets my price point. The airline is US Airways, and the connection is in Philadelphia, where I have a 1 hour 10 minute wait. I also travel with one piece of checked luggage. Can anyone see a problem with this particular situation (maybe poor airline reputation, too tight a connection, current airport construction, etc.)? Just trying to gather all the facts before booking a flight - thanks for any help.

Posted by
486 posts

USAir is probably average. As long as same airline is used for connection, they are usually good for handling delays. Make sure they have a way to get a hold of you before you check in (register a phone number where you can be reached even while on the way to the airport). If your flight is known to be delayed, they may contact you to take a different set of flights.

A few years ago, we were scheduled to take Delta to Europe out of Atlanta. The direct flight was not available to use FF miles so we were scheduled to fly to LGA, get ourselves to JFK and then head on out. Well, while on the way, they called to say our ATL->LGA flight was cancelled so they rebooked us on direct ATL flight to Europe. It left 3 hours later than our original flight but got us to Europe 2 hours earlier. (Yeah!)

Posted by
1317 posts

I haven't flown US Airways, but based on other comments here on the Helpline, I'd say you have two problems. The first is VERY poor airline reputation (there was a thread not long ago on rude US Airways flight attendants).

The other is, even on the best airline, a little over 1 hour connection is too tight. If your plane gets delayed even slightly or you have to change terminals, you're sunk, and worse yet, still in the USA where it's pretty unlikely there will be another flight to Venice until at least the next day. And with checked luggage, even if you make it, there's a good possibility your luggage won't.

Posted by
710 posts

If you take advantage of this, be sure to put a luggage tag and a copy of your intenery INSIDE you luggage if you know where you will be staying in Venice.
In your carry on put a change of clothes and underwear, etc. Make sure any meds you take are in your carry on. If you arrive in Venice and your bag did not make the connection, go immediately to the USAir lugguage help desk, and give them the address and phone number of where you will be in Venice.
We flew out of Philly on Air France in Sept for Rome and our bags did not make the connection. We were taking advantage of free miles, otherwise we have flown non-stop from Philly to Rome on USAir.
We went Philly to Paris, and Paris to Rome. I had things prepared. My husband did not, and had to buy a new shirt, etc. I had our hotel # and address on me.They delivered our luggage late the next night.
I ran into people on our flight home from Vencie who went on a tour and never got their luggage. It is better to be prepared, just in case.

Posted by
354 posts

Thanks for the great advice. On US Airways' own website, the DFW-PHL flight shows a 40% on-time record. The odds do not favor a successful connection in Philadelphia, so I'll pass. For the same price though, I also found a Northwest Airlines Dallas-Venice flight with a 2 hours 5 minute connection at Amsterdam-Schiphol. On this route, Northwest uses KLM planes. Are there any major problems with this second option? Thanks again for any help.

Posted by
67 posts

I flew US last May on a trip to Paris and was a little nervous because of their reputation. I had no problems and will fly with them again. However, it dosent take much for me to be satisfied and I am not easily upset. On the other hand, I have vowed never to fly Northwest again. I only used them once and had many problems, as have many other people I have talked to.

Posted by
12040 posts

I've been bitten by US Airways too many times. I simply don't trust them, either to make connections on time, or to help out when the connection is missed. And having grown up in Philadelphia, I can tell you that the airport is overall below-average in reliability.

Posted by
12132 posts

A 1 hour 10 minute layover is pushing it. If it's first thing in the morning, the flight originates where you are catching it and it's a non-stop to Philadelphia you may be okay.

If the flight starts later in the day or has intermediate stops, I wouldn't try it. It's not worth ruining your vacation because the plane is an hour or two late and you couldn't make your plane.

Posted by
5191 posts

When I have a connecting flight to Europe, I always try to connect in Europe rather than in the U.S. If you miss your trans-atlantic connection, you might have to wait an entire day before you can get to Europe. However, once you are in Europe, if you miss your connection, you usually can get on another flight within the same day.

Personally, I would choose the option connecting in Amsterdam over the connection in Philadelphia.

Posted by
22861 posts

We connect on US Air in Philly this past summer -- both ways. I have vowed to NEVER to fly through Philly again and to avoid US Air at all costs. I would not recommend it.

Posted by
12 posts

A 1 hour connection in Philly could be a serious problem. That is particularly true when returning
from Europe & you would go through customs in Philly
before changing planes. I flew US Air to Europe in
May with a connection in Philly I allowed 2 hours for
the change outbound and 2.5 hrs when returning. We
barely made the return connection.

Posted by
4555 posts

Just to add to the chorus....PHL has to be one of the most disorganized airports I've been thru. 1:10 MAY be enough to make the change (providing you're switching to a US Airways or codeshare flight overseas), but you have to know the airport pretty well, and know all the tricks of getting from one terminal to another without going out and back thru security. Of course, as others have noted, one slight delay in your arrival from DFW, and your connection is shot.

Posted by
354 posts

Thanks again for all the fantastic information. My second option involves KLM Airlines, and a 1 hour 15 minute connection at Amsterdam AMS-Schiphol airport as I return from Rome to Dallas. Would my Italy-Netherlands segment require clearing AMS immigration? And, would an airline sell a ticket with an impossible connection?

Posted by
9 posts

I've flown USAir many, many times over the past several years and to Europe a couple of years ago. I have never had a problem.