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Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Halifax, United...
Level Contributor
6 posts
5 reviews
Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

We have just booked with Virgin to go to Orlando in April 17. By booking a connecting flight we have managed to save some money. I am now however having a major panic about missing our connections. When I spoke to Virgin today the nice lady assured me they would not book such short connections if it was not possible to make them, but I am still not convinced! Has anyone got any advice?

We fly from Manchester to Atlanta, have a 2 hour stop over before flying onto Orlando (with Delta). Will we get through immigration, be able to collect and re-check bags and make the connection in under 2 hours?

Our return we only have an hour between flights but I have been told this is as easier connection as our bags will have been checked through and we don't need to go through immigration.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Carolynn

23 replies to this topic
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
53,412 posts
1,800 reviews
1. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Carolynn,

On the upper-right of this page, you will find the Top Questions, when viewed on a browser. There are three of those Top Questions, which apply to international arrivals, terminals and connections at ATL. The DE's have done a great job with those. They cover about everything that you need.

Personally with international arrival, I would want a 3 hr. Minimum connection, and I have both Global Entry, and TSA Pre-Check, which speed up the processes greatly.

Good luck,

Hunt

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
Level Contributor
12,356 posts
103 reviews
2. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Personally, I would want 3 hours. However, as there are frequent Delta flights to Orlando (and nearby airports), if you do miss your connection the odds are reasonably good that you'll be put onto another flight soon. That might mean, however, that you won't all be sitting together.

Fortaleza, CE
Level Contributor
9,183 posts
368 reviews
3. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Asking this a bit late. Flights are booked. What will you do if we say it's not enough time? Pay maybe $300 per ticket to change your flights? Assuming all flights are on the same ticket, Delta should put you on the next available flight to MCO if you miss your connection, but that's obviously the next flight with available seats (as noted above, no guarantee you'd sit together), not necessarily the very next flight. 1 hr. on the return is also tight, but you don't have to deal with immigration, bags or customs.

At least it's not a late arrival at ATL for your inbound flight. Friends missed their connection at ATL due to delays in immigration, in the early evening, and the next flight to their destination (Sarasota) wasn't until the next day. Since the inbound flight had arrived on time, and the missed connection wasn't the airline's fault, Delta wouldn't pay for a hotel that night. They did put them on a flight for the next day without extra charge.

Edited: 02 June 2016, 23:59
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
6,747 posts
17 reviews
4. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

"would not book such short connections if it was not possible to make them"

I wonder if the "nice lady" has ever actually made this flight herself (no need to answer that).

Yes it is THEORETICALLY possible to make such a connection, and you can probably find postings on this very forum from people who have made even *shorter* connections. However, that assumes a lot - arriving flight is on time, no delays at immigration and customs, etc.

What has happened in the past will have absolutely no bearing on what happens on the day you arrive - If you deplane at the same time as several other overseas flights, then you could be in for a long wait at immigration. If not, not - no way to know what the situation will be until you actually get there. That's why it's always a good idea to allow extra time.

Two hours is the absolute minimum I would accept for this, and three hours is really better (would give you a little more flexibility for unexpected delays). As others have said, there are flights every hour to MCO, so even if you miss the connection there is good chance you'll still get there that day.

What's done is done however - just have to hope for the best on the day of the flight.

-JimG

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
53,412 posts
1,800 reviews
5. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

JimG makes some very important points.

What you encountered is called "MCT," or Minimum Connection Time. This is a time, that is compiled by both the airline and the airport, and is what they feel is an absolute minimum, if everything goes perfectly. Unfortunately, things seldom go perfectly, and all it takes is a tiny glitch to throw it off.

While many MCT's might be doable, I feel that they are mostly pie-in-the-sky, and at the very best, I will have to run and pray, to make it work.

For those reasons, I have my own personal MCT's and try to stick with them, whenever I travel.

Best of luck, and do hope that you make your connection,

Hunt

Halifax, United...
Level Contributor
6 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Thanks all for your speedy replies. I guess we will have to cross our fingers and hope for the best, but I will now have some contingency plans ready and won't book such a flight again.

Cheers

Carolynn

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
53,412 posts
1,800 reviews
7. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Carolynn,

I do hope that all goes well, and perfectly.

If they do, then MCT should work. Any delay, and things go horribly pear-shaped.

Best of luck,

Hunt

S H
London, United...
Level Contributor
28 posts
5 reviews
8. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Hi Carolyn

I was just wondering how your connection went? We are doing a tight connection later this year and hoping we can make it! Thank you

Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta, Savannah
Level Contributor
19,605 posts
95 reviews
9. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Read post #2 to see the major difference between the OP's flight and yours.

S H
London, United...
Level Contributor
28 posts
5 reviews
10. Re: Flight connections at Atlanta airport.

Thanks for your help again onemoreroad - I am glad someone is keen to help me and make sure that my vacation is not spent crying in Altanta with my "big family".

Anyway not to get off topic, Carolynn, if you have any time, can you let me know if you made the connection? Thank you :)

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