Ask Airfare Watchdog: More Time Needed Between Connecting Flights

Q: I am planning on flying with my elderly father from New York to Charlotte. Then he would need to catch a plane 35 minutes later to Augusta on the same airline. Will he have to go through security again or, since he is catching a flight on the same airline, can he just walk to another gate in Charlotte? Will he make it on time?

A: Thirty-five minutes, especially if leaving from New York's delay-plagued LaGuardia Airport, isn't enough time to make a connecting flight even for a marathon runner. Airfarewatchdog doesn't understand why airlines schedule such tight connections. Many airlines require you to be on board and in your seat 15 or 20 minutes before scheduled departure or your seat is subject to resale, so a 35-minute connection actually leaves as little as 15 minutes to make the next flight. This makes no sense to us. When planning connecting flights, you can usually build in up to four hours between flights, but you might need to do this using a real live agent or travel agent rather than booking online. Your dad will not need to go through security again, but he still might miss his connecting flight. You can play the odds by researching the historical on-time records of your flights. The airline should be able to tell you what percentage of the time flights are on time (from zero to 90 percent or more).

Q: If you have a voucher from an airline and it has to be used within a year of issue does that mean that the flight has to be booked within one year of issue and you can fly after the date; or does it mean that you have to use and fly within the time period?

A: In most cases, it means that all travel must be completed within one year of the voucher's issue.