One of the biggest frustrations about taking connecting flights is the uncertainty. Connecting flights raise questions like: What happens if there is a weather delay, a mechanical delay, or some other reason that prevents you from getting to your connecting flight on time?
I recently got an “emergency” call from my non-elite status flying brother who was on a Southwest flight with one connection bound for home. The first flight of the itinerary experienced a weather delay and he only had a 5 minute connection time to make his connecting flight. It didn’t look good so he asked what were his options.
Not asking too many questions I started down the path of searching for a later flight. I explained to him that since the airline wasn’t going to cover his hotel cost, and if another airline had a low fare, he should consider picking up that ticket and saving the money on the hotel. No dice, his flight was the last of the day to his city, on any airline.
My second suggestion was to find an alternative flight to another city near his home town. This looked very promising. There was a cheap fare to a city about 1 hour away from his town. All he had to do was fire up an online booking engine and purchase the ticket, check-in when he arrived at the connecting airport and wheel his carryon bag to the new plane. It was a done deal in my mind until he said “Wheel My Bags!!! How Am I Going To Do That?!!”
Yep, he had checked his bag on a weekend trip to the mountains. This was a FLM. Flight Limiting Move. Since he checked his bags, I quickly summed it up for him. Stay put at the Hyatt Place near the airport for the night and catch the flight the airline booked you on in the morning. The chances of his bags being transferred with a 25 minute connection were too slim for it to make any sense.
Have you ever had to answer a question like this to a friend or family member? What would your advice have been?