American Airlines’ 25-Minute Minimum Connection Time

American Airlines’ 25-Minute Minimum Connection Time

116

While looking at flights, I was surprised to stumble upon what must be among the shortest minimum connection time in the United States….

American’s 25-minute minimum connection time in Austin

Airlines all publish minimum connection times (MCT). As the name suggests, this is the minimum amount of time that you need to plan for a connection at an airport, as an airline won’t sell you a shorter connection than that.

The MCT can vary based on the airline, the airport, and whether you’re making an international or domestic connection. MCTs are vastly different around the globe — for example, the MCT in Helsinki for a domestic to domestic connection is 20 minutes, while the MCT in Mexico City for an international to international connection is 120 minutes.

Keep in mind that just because you can book an itinerary with the minimum connection time doesn’t mean that you should. After all, if you book a really short connection, you’re increasing your odds of misconnecting.

Last night I was looking at an itinerary from Albuquerque to Tampa, and stumbled upon a pretty good option on American, which was both by far the cheapest, and by far the fastest. I saw it routed through Austin, which is a fairly new focus city for American.

American Airlines itinerary through Austin

There was only one catch — the connection time in Austin was just 25 minutes. That seemed really, really short.

Short connection in Austin on American

But I pulled up the rules, and indeed, a domestic to domestic connection on American has an MCT of 25 minutes.

25-minute minimum connection time in Austin

Why do airlines sell connections like this?

As a pretty frequent American flyer, I find that most hubs have a minimum connection time of 40 minutes, and of course that’s already pushing it. The exception is Phoenix, which also has a 25-minute MCT, though that’s a hub I generally avoid (just due to the geography, given that I live in Florida).

25 minutes seems extreme for Austin (where all the gates are close to one another), and it seems even more absurd for Phoenix, where you have a huge terminal.

On the most basic level:

  • It can easily take 10 minutes to get off a plane, especially if you’re seated toward the back
  • American Airlines advises customers that “boarding ends 15 minutes before departure”

So that leaves you (*gets out calculator*)… zero minutes to make your connection. Never mind that for Department of Transportation (DOT) purposes, flights are considered on-time if they arrive less than 15 minutes late. So you could arrive nearly 15 minutes late and miss your connection, while the DOT still counts that flight arrival positively toward American’s on-time performance.

On the one hand, a 25-minute MCT in Austin seems really aggressive. On the other hand, I’d probably view a 25-minute connection in Austin the same as a 40-minute connection in Dallas, in terms of risk of misconnecting. The difference is that when things go wrong in Dallas, there are a lot more flights you can be rebooked on to get to your final destination.

In general I think it’s time airlines overhaul their minimum connection times. I get that planes only make money when they’re flying, and that airlines have heavily banked hubs, and that customers want itineraries that look like they have the shortest possible travel time.

But then when things go even a little bit wrong, you see a half-mile long line at the customer service desks at American’s major hubs.

American allows 25-minute connections in Austin

Bottom line

American Airlines has a 25-minute minimum connection time at Austin Airport. While I can appreciate that the American gates are all close to one another there, the same MCT applies at Phoenix Airport, which is much more spread out. That seems a little aggressive to me, but then again, I also avoid 40-minute connections at other hubs.

What do you make of American’s 25-minute minimum connection time? Would you book an itinerary like this?

Conversations (116)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Seamus Stanton Guest

    The short connection times that AAL often books me in CLT always cause me to call and change, sometimes multiple times

    . Arriving on a commmuter flight and connecting internationally is impossible in less than 1 hour, especially if you are a disabled wheel chair user. This problem invariably occurs because of airline instigated changes as I book months in advance.

  2. Rob T Guest

    Just experienced this yesterday doing an AA international arrival and domestic departure at PHX. The connection time was 80 minutes. I figured I was OK because I was traveling first class, and I have global pass. While I was one of the first off the plane and through Global Pass in minutes, my luggage took forever to get on the conveyor. I was especially upset because even though it was tagged priority, AA didn’t seem...

    Just experienced this yesterday doing an AA international arrival and domestic departure at PHX. The connection time was 80 minutes. I figured I was OK because I was traveling first class, and I have global pass. While I was one of the first off the plane and through Global Pass in minutes, my luggage took forever to get on the conveyor. I was especially upset because even though it was tagged priority, AA didn’t seem to care and it came off towards the end. I’m not sure how I managed it since international arrivals and the departure gate were at opposite ends of the terminal but I did. I’m getting too old for this OJ Simpson dashes.

  3. Larry Ross Guest

    American Airlines is the absolute worst, run by brain dead fools. None of my flights on American Airlines were problem free! There was always some sort of issue. Including being in London and American Airlines had no plane to fly us home in.

  4. RTW Rob Guest

    AUS expanded to over 30 gates just before Covid, and the other day, I arrived on a flight from LAX at Gate 1. This is the first time I've EVER arrived home at a gate below 19 on AA - but I've frequently come into Gate 34 at the other end of the airport. You will NOT make a 25 minute connection. - Hadn't thought about the "trip delay" angle, but I'd be surprised if...

    AUS expanded to over 30 gates just before Covid, and the other day, I arrived on a flight from LAX at Gate 1. This is the first time I've EVER arrived home at a gate below 19 on AA - but I've frequently come into Gate 34 at the other end of the airport. You will NOT make a 25 minute connection. - Hadn't thought about the "trip delay" angle, but I'd be surprised if there weren't people who tried that. My minimum connecting time is an hour anywhere, and 90 minutes in most locations - if you're flying coast to coast, you otherwise have no chance of anything to get anything to eat. - That point about MCT in Frankfurt is SO accurate - I always book at least two hours entering Europe and 90 minutes on a return.

  5. Mikhail Guest

    Wrote the article but didn't try it :(

  6. Jj Guest

    These are horrible. I had one where I had 30 minutes in DCA to connect to my other flight never again. We were about 10 minutes late and I made it on the next plane just as they made the final boarding call and passengers on that flight giving me dirty looks thinking I'm just lollygagging and holding them up.

  7. Kevin Guest

    MCT has nothing to do with a passenger getting off the plane and making a connection. It is based upon the amount of time to transfer bags from one plane to another! We don't care if the passengers make the flight!

  8. DSL Guest

    I won’t book a flight with less than a 60 minute connection time. It’s just not worth the stress and hassle.

  9. Mike Guest

    Your example itinerary is even scarier since it's an RJ to a mainline jet. I recently waited for my valet checked bag at PHX with quite a few silly people that were trying to make a tight connection.

  10. CORINNE Guest

    This is so u reasonable especially if your a senior citizen. If your trying to get a plane in dallas or LA it takes more than 25 min. I have American Advantage n have switch to another airline

  11. Eugenia Ellsworth Guest

    I have decided to stop flying American Airlines because of other things they did which to me seemed quite abhorrent. The short connection times have just reinforced my reasons for avoiding American!

    1. RTWRob Guest

      Good luck trying to connection with United in Houston, Newark, or Dulles - or on Delta in Atlanta or Minneapolis... It's not just AA. If you book it, be prepared to run.

  12. WinnieThePooGas Guest

    AA just doesn't care. Never has.

  13. Rich R Guest

    How about when the first leg is 2 hr late?

  14. Denise Guest

    I don't agree with it. The Charlotte Airport it takes at least 19 minutes to get to your next gate and that has been for every flight I have taken from there. You have to be trackstar to get around there.

  15. Hector G. de Lara Jr. Guest

    GO AA .. the on-time machine..!!

  16. Cindy Hammack Guest

    The individual airlines all have a certain set of gates they lease and they're all clumped together. So, you could get off at one gate and your connection maybe 3 or 4 gates away or right across the walkway. It's not like you'd get off an AA flight and have to take the tram to another concourse for your connection.

    Also, if I'm going to have to have a layover I look to see what...

    The individual airlines all have a certain set of gates they lease and they're all clumped together. So, you could get off at one gate and your connection maybe 3 or 4 gates away or right across the walkway. It's not like you'd get off an AA flight and have to take the tram to another concourse for your connection.

    Also, if I'm going to have to have a layover I look to see what the connection time would be based on arrival/departure. If it's less than an hour I move on and check the others.

    For some people a longer layover works better for them if there's a layover at all.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is you don't have to have just 25 minutes. You can basically choose (based on their schedules) how much time you want in between flights.

  17. Anonymous Guest

    For the longest time I refused to fly on American because of the nasty attitudes of their staff (angry black bitches) and how they screwed me over multiple times. I was going from LGA to ORD with 30min connection in PHL. Everyone boarded the LGA flight on time but there was delayed takeoff due airport traffic. And it was one of their tiny ass planes where any roller suitcase gets valet sticker at gate. We...

    For the longest time I refused to fly on American because of the nasty attitudes of their staff (angry black bitches) and how they screwed me over multiple times. I was going from LGA to ORD with 30min connection in PHL. Everyone boarded the LGA flight on time but there was delayed takeoff due airport traffic. And it was one of their tiny ass planes where any roller suitcase gets valet sticker at gate. We land late and the cranky lady takes her sweet time taking the suitcases off the rack. There was a passenger in a rush to avoid missing her connection and pleaded with the lady to let her get her case and the bitch wouldn't do it so the passenger shoves her aside and grabs her suitcase and rushes off. I see the attendant bypass my suitcase multiple times and politely try asking for it and the other passengers gently told me to just wait and I explain that my connection will be leaving soon and it's in another terminal. I eventually get my case and run to shuttle where there's a wait and then I get on what felt like the slowest moving vehicle in the world and then at the terminal I run to the gate and get their 7 minutes before gate closes completely out of breath and practically wheezing because I have asthma. The passenger from the previous flight is at the counter and she tells me they gave our seats away. I turn to the agent and say but you knew we were here because we checked in and boarded the first flight and it landed late but did arrive before this one was departing so why would you give away our seats. The agent says well next time don't book flights so close together. I was like excuse me?? I just put in my origin and my destination and then have to pick from the options offered by AA, why are you offering such short connections if it is not adequate time to connect!! Then she gives us our new flight which goes to BOS first so completely wrong direction and then we won't arrive in ORD until 6 hours after our original landing time and I miss all the events I had that day. When we tried to request a different option she sends us off without the slightest bit of sympathy to go look for customer service desk which of course was empty. I give up and head to my new gate where all the other passengers have already arrived and sat down and I try to ask the agent for proper boarding pass because what I was given had no seat listed and of course she gives me attitude and doesn't help. Then still out of breath from running with heavy backpack with underlying asthma I sat in one of the MULTIPLE empty handicap seats nearby because I was too exhausted to go any further hoping to finally rest and catch my breath but of course the bitch decided AA hasn't ruined my day enough and comes over and tells me to vacate the seat as it's for handicap, I move to another seat and course never ever does come occupy those seats. Seriously the entire flight had already arrived at sat down before me so I knew I wasn't stealing a seat from someone who needed it more and again there were multiple empty handicap seats right next to it.

    And if you think that's bad, let me tell you about the time AA kept us on plane on runway for hours then cancelled because I quote they were not permitting overtime for the pilots and then when I called to rebook the moron mistypes and books me for 12/26 instead of 2/26. I realize it the next day when checking flight status using flight number and it came up as that route not starting until a month later. I call again and yet another A.B.B. gives me attitude even though it's AA that screwed up and insists there's nothing available until evening. I go to the airport anyway and go to AA counter and tell a white guy what happened. He doesn't say a word just starts typing away then he hands me a ticket for a flight leaving within the hour. No earlier flights available my ass. Just have to get past the A.B.B. with their bullshit.

    Note to American (and all other) hiring managers: Angry black bitches who hate everyone and everything do NOT belong in customer service roles. I have not against black people in general but you all know exactly the type of person I'm talking about with their distinct tone if voice full of cold hearted attitude.

    1. Joe Guest

      Sounds like you just have a racism issue.

    2. Sam Guest

      Agreed. “Anonymous” needs to work through their issues with racism.

    3. Jj Guest

      Entitled much? First of all just check your bag instead of being one of those annoying people trying to cram a huge bag into the overhead. Also check your racism while you're at it as well.

  18. Pat Guest

    Would be nice but impossible to connect bags in that short of time company has too many unrealistic expectations

  19. Ken Guest

    I live in Austin and fly every week. I would say you could do a 25 minute connection if your flight was on time. One of my regular flights is LAX to Austin. There are always people on the flight connecting to New Orleans and almost every time we are asked to let these passengers off first because of the tight connection. I also flying through Phoenix and agree with the author. A short connection...

    I live in Austin and fly every week. I would say you could do a 25 minute connection if your flight was on time. One of my regular flights is LAX to Austin. There are always people on the flight connecting to New Orleans and almost every time we are asked to let these passengers off first because of the tight connection. I also flying through Phoenix and agree with the author. A short connection is asking for disaster. Worse case with practically running it could take you 20 minutes from the 2 farthest gates. Unless you’re in 1st, always give yourself an hour between connections.

  20. John Ray Guest

    You need to be Using Bolt to make connections in some airports!

  21. Antonio Bellamy Guest

    I did this once going to Los Angeles from Raleigh with only a 30 minute connection time in Atlanta. I started not to book it because of such a short connection time, but it was the only flight I could book where I could get to Los Angeles before 11am. I debated and thought well delta around 70% of the time will get to Atlanta around 30 minutes early which would bring my connection time...

    I did this once going to Los Angeles from Raleigh with only a 30 minute connection time in Atlanta. I started not to book it because of such a short connection time, but it was the only flight I could book where I could get to Los Angeles before 11am. I debated and thought well delta around 70% of the time will get to Atlanta around 30 minutes early which would bring my connection time up to 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes. However even though the plane did hit the tarmac 20 minutes early it took us all of that just to get to the arrival gate throw in the time for us to get off the plane and our 30 minute connection time dwindled to just 20 minutes with just 5 minutes to make it to our gate before they close the doors. Luckily by the grace of God our connecting flight was directly across from our arrival gate and all the gate attendants were doing was waiting the last few minutes to close the doors as boarding had completed. We made it by a hair. But I don't think I will ever try that again even though I said I will never do less than a one hour connection.

  22. Mike Jackson Guest

    We had almost the same problem with American Airlines coming from the Bahamas to Miami ! When we landed in Miami ,we had 56 minutes to go from arrival , check passport , collect bags , thru customs ( 25 minutes) to boarding desk ! Naturally we didn’t make our connection back to O’hare ! When I called American Airlines , their response was if they scheduled it , you can make it ! If...

    We had almost the same problem with American Airlines coming from the Bahamas to Miami ! When we landed in Miami ,we had 56 minutes to go from arrival , check passport , collect bags , thru customs ( 25 minutes) to boarding desk ! Naturally we didn’t make our connection back to O’hare ! When I called American Airlines , their response was if they scheduled it , you can make it ! If you’ve been to Miami International Airport , you know damn well you can’t make that connection !

    1. Wilson Alers Guest

      My take is, I choose my flight connections. I won't book a connection of less than 45 min. domestically and not less than 2 hours on international connections, 3 hours if going through London's Heathrow. I also try to take the first flight out of any city to insure that most likely that flight will be on time and many times "early" into the arrival gate. I'm usually in the first cabin or close to the front, so that helps for sure.

  23. Alex Guest

    An advantage of this would be access to cheaper fare inventory when the system creates a connecting itinerary. If the connection had to have 30 min in Austin instead of 25, you might not get that low fare you wanted. I’d rather get a plethora of connections than just a few that price me out of the market. If anything goes wrong, then AA could just send me through Dallas. I have also seen 30...

    An advantage of this would be access to cheaper fare inventory when the system creates a connecting itinerary. If the connection had to have 30 min in Austin instead of 25, you might not get that low fare you wanted. I’d rather get a plethora of connections than just a few that price me out of the market. If anything goes wrong, then AA could just send me through Dallas. I have also seen 30 min connections on DL in Atlanta. It takes at least 10 min to get anywhere on the skytrain. Gotta run, I guess.

  24. Sweeny Guest

    Never again. Tried it, too stressful

  25. Carrie Member

    Travelling with Miles? Either you could play the 'I have a baby and I'm coming through' card or allow so much more time than you ever had considered reasonable as a singleton/couple.

  26. Paula Guest

    Nos ha pasado 2 veces viajando desde Orlando hacia Bogota. Ellos hacen conexion en Miami y se nos ha retrasado el vuelo de Orlando entonces cuando eso sucede , nos quedamos de la conexion. Llame y me queje y dije que la conexion es muy corta , pero a ellos no les importa.

  27. Nancy Guest

    We have a minimum at Charlotte and have to run across a large airport. Don’t know if we are going to make it. It’s about 40 min which includes getting off the plane. It stinks.

  28. Bill Guest

    Try the connection in Chicago.
    You land on time, but it will take you over 20 minutes to get to your gate. Running to your next gate, which is two or three terminals away, is the only option.

  29. Andy Diamond

    This is a general issue, not limited to AA or to AUS airport. For instance CM at PTY does 40 min connections, including to some US destinations (e.g. IAH), which have to go through an extra security check. At FRA, LH claims that International to Domestic (Schengen) connection are doable in 45 min ... which is completely unrealistic, in particular for non EU passport holders.

  30. Adam Simmons Guest

    In a word, no. I won't normally book connecting flights between any two points without at least 90 minutes' layover. If the second leg has plenty of substitute flights in case of late arrival, I might go as low as 60 minutes, but no less.

  31. FlyerDon Guest

    I would hesitate to check a bag or two.

  32. Alex Sansky Guest

    If you are a frequent flyer, you know the 25 minute connection time is unrealistic. Let the buyer be ware!

  33. Ben Guest

    What I have observed is that if you want a longer connection time, then there is a cost increase associated with that convenience. I fly every other day some weeks and constantly lookup ticket prices. The flight with the lowest connection time is usually cheaper by a fair margin.

  34. Richard Guest

    It depends.

    To the destination the layovers are rather conservative; but from the destination the layovers are rather liberal. For layovers of under an hours the plan A is to miss the flight and the plan B is not to miss the flight.

    Not difficult for the airline to accommodate one person; but for a family of four, not so much so.

    On more than one occasion the short layover resulted in a "free"...

    It depends.

    To the destination the layovers are rather conservative; but from the destination the layovers are rather liberal. For layovers of under an hours the plan A is to miss the flight and the plan B is not to miss the flight.

    Not difficult for the airline to accommodate one person; but for a family of four, not so much so.

    On more than one occasion the short layover resulted in a "free" stopover. The airline may or may not provide a hotel. I am traveling via SFO end of week and wouldn't be update with a day in San Francisco.

    As noted in the comments, the staff unfortunately pay the price of the poor planning. Blame the airline or the passenger but the staff pay the price.

  35. Pam Guest

    I was stunned when I realized I had booked Palm Springs to Boston through Phoenix with the 25 minutes MCT. I was willing to pay more and change my seat for 1 in coach closer to the front with extra leg room. Flight attendants tried to calm me but....they confessed that it was just a couple of gates shy of the longest distance I could walk between the terminals. They advised me to not stop...

    I was stunned when I realized I had booked Palm Springs to Boston through Phoenix with the 25 minutes MCT. I was willing to pay more and change my seat for 1 in coach closer to the front with extra leg room. Flight attendants tried to calm me but....they confessed that it was just a couple of gates shy of the longest distance I could walk between the terminals. They advised me to not stop for bathroom or to buy food/beverages. The anxiety was almost crippling as we landed in Phoenix. We landed on time but with them closing boarding before the 25 minutes connection I was a mess. I had a carry on roller suitcase and a large personal bag. I wasn't going to check anything because of the short connection. I made it with a 3 minutes to spare before them closing boarding but was soaked in sweat and felt like I had fast walked a 5k. I will never do it again.

  36. Joan Guest

    I would NEVER book that. I don’t even trust a one hour connection time. I always make certain of at least 1 hr 20 minutes - and I mostly fly Southwest!

  37. Van Guest

    Absolutely absurd especially now when such a large percentage of flights are late. I've been electing for at least 90 minutes in hubs. The shortest published time isn't necessarily going to pan out that way. I'd rather not be sitting there with blood pressure rising waiting for doors to open on the inbound flight which often takes more than 15 minutes to deplane.

  38. Deborah Guest

    We also have short times coming out of Roanoke VA and most flights are a terminal away in Charlotte. Have to go running thru to catch connections it is crazy

    1. Jj Guest

      Been there! And try running through Charlotte with the crowds of people who take their sweet time. Not an easy task!!

  39. Jay Guest

    Experienced flyers look at a connection like that and say "nuh uh, not way". Inexperienced flyers don't look closely at the connection time and book the flight. Those are also the passengers most likely to be sitting in the back of the airplane. And even if they make the connection, will their bags? Not very damn likely! American's ground staff get stuck dealing with the chaos. It's just dumb.

  40. Betina Guest

    Hell no! Years ago I was coming back from Argentina to Dallas. The fly was 1 hour late so when we arrived I had 45 minutes to pick up my luggage, go through customs and check it in again for my second fly. When I grabbed my suitcase from the carousel due to trying to hurry, I dropped it right bellow my knee and broke my leg!!! Needles to say the pain was unbearable and...

    Hell no! Years ago I was coming back from Argentina to Dallas. The fly was 1 hour late so when we arrived I had 45 minutes to pick up my luggage, go through customs and check it in again for my second fly. When I grabbed my suitcase from the carousel due to trying to hurry, I dropped it right bellow my knee and broke my leg!!! Needles to say the pain was unbearable and had to take time off and deal with medical bills. Thank you American for making me feel so miserable!

    1. Steph Guest

      Hahaha are you seriously blaming an airline for your lack of coordination? That's sad and what's wrong with the world

  41. CZ Guest

    I haven't checked lately but LAX used to have a very low MCT for flights at the Eagles Nest. This seemed ok to me.

  42. Jesse Guest

    These types of connections work out great when you have trip delay insurance and you don't care when you reach your final destination.

  43. Gale Guest

    I want 90 minutes with a domestic.connectio. and 3 hours for international. Unfortunately, if I take a packaged tour I can't always get what I want. I had a flight land I. Chicago at 8:36 p.m and a flight at 10:05 p.m. I had to be on board at 9:35 p.m
    I got wheelchair service and got to the gate at 9:20. I'm able bodied.I

  44. CAP Guest

    Correction…takes AT LEAST 15 minutes to get off an Airbus 321 if you’re seated near the back!
    A 25 minute connection is ABSOLUTELY absurd! WHY they do that is just stupid!! And as a flight attendant..we’re the ones that deal with the unhappy fliers! GRRRRRR….

  45. Donna Diamond

    My personal policy outbound on international itineraries is 2 hours +/- 15 minutes MCT given that my international flight, if a misconnect occurs, forces a 24 hour delay. Inbound on international itineraries into DFW I book around an hour because there are flights every hour back to my home base if I misconnect there. Often, after booking, AA will change my outbound flights forcing a tight connection and I have to phone to change it...

    My personal policy outbound on international itineraries is 2 hours +/- 15 minutes MCT given that my international flight, if a misconnect occurs, forces a 24 hour delay. Inbound on international itineraries into DFW I book around an hour because there are flights every hour back to my home base if I misconnect there. Often, after booking, AA will change my outbound flights forcing a tight connection and I have to phone to change it back. It’s highly annoying and happens frequently.

  46. ryan Guest

    Basically making this connection requires (your inbound being on-time or early AND you're in row 1-3 AND your connecting flight is an adjacent gate) OR your outbound flight is delayed. Just setting yourself up for failure to take these 25 minute connections.

  47. Darren McCoy Guest

    I avoid booking an intinerary that does not have at least an hour connection scheduled. My American flights out of Knoxville usually connect in Charlotte, Dallas, or Chicago. If I have been on a given route and have reason to believe I won't have to change terminals, I might risk booking a slightly shorter connection. However, having flown "the back of the bus," and having experienced "my plane made it to the gate, but no...

    I avoid booking an intinerary that does not have at least an hour connection scheduled. My American flights out of Knoxville usually connect in Charlotte, Dallas, or Chicago. If I have been on a given route and have reason to believe I won't have to change terminals, I might risk booking a slightly shorter connection. However, having flown "the back of the bus," and having experienced "my plane made it to the gate, but no one is there to operate the jetway," I prefer to book a longer connection. It lets me stretch my legs (which is good for anyone), and minimizes the chances of being among the folks running through the terminal.

  48. Marc Guest

    No the mct is not enough at
    Austin

  49. CS Neil Guest

    A couple thoughts after reading this piece.

    While deplaning in ten minutes - then, taking zero minutes to walk and board your connecting flight fifteen minutes prior to boarding - and making a connecting flight departing 25-minutes later may smack of a need for a power to time travel, let’s view this through the prism of reality.

    The airline knows you’re arriving where and when before you do. They know if any others...

    A couple thoughts after reading this piece.

    While deplaning in ten minutes - then, taking zero minutes to walk and board your connecting flight fifteen minutes prior to boarding - and making a connecting flight departing 25-minutes later may smack of a need for a power to time travel, let’s view this through the prism of reality.

    The airline knows you’re arriving where and when before you do. They know if any others are booked to your itinerary, and whether you have checked luggage that requires consideration.

    The airline will most assuredly not give your seat away to a standby passenger in this scenario. They will more likely be paging you a final boarding call that you hear as you’re walking up to your connecting gate. So if your connecting flight is scheduled to depart at 1:00, the airline will have that door open for you up until 1:58, as you have your ticket scanned, saunter down the runway and through the airplane door at 12:59, and while you’re doing the passenger shuffle to take your seat, the forward cabin crew will be saying their “thanks a bunch see ya soons” to the ground crew as they shut and secure the planes door.

    If you’re a family traveling together in this scenario, they may delay gate departure for 5-10 minutes so you have time to make your flight. The airline doesn’t want to pay you a family full of vouchers and potential hotel stays if they can avoid it.

    A good rule of thumb when booking a connecting flight:
    • check connecting times and be aware of your layover length before purchase.
    • take your overhead into consideration. This includes whether you’re alone or have others in tow. If you’re traveling with a five year old who MUST “go potty”, the most irrational and foolish gambit one take is to minimize that urgency and contend with the consequences on the next airplane. You’ll make no friends.
    • 25-minute layovers aren’t well suited for your checked luggage. This is a carry-on only proposition.
    • WILDCARD: if you’re traveling alone and are worried about your connection, try to book a seat in the front half of the plane. If you have the dreaded 33B chair, ask the gate agent if anything has “become available” closer to the door. You may end up with a bulkhead seat behind first/business class.

    With a little thought and planning, a 25-minute l connection time will be easy and seamless as a brisk walk around the neighborhood.

    1. George Romey Guest

      Clearly you don't fly American because American rarely will hold a flight. A few months back I was connecting in MCO to MIA (after being rerouted through MCO) and the inbound was late. Right across the hallway at T-20 and I was first off the plane. Even as an EXP they were closing the door at T-20. Had I been 30 second later it would have been too late. And behind me were another 25...

      Clearly you don't fly American because American rarely will hold a flight. A few months back I was connecting in MCO to MIA (after being rerouted through MCO) and the inbound was late. Right across the hallway at T-20 and I was first off the plane. Even as an EXP they were closing the door at T-20. Had I been 30 second later it would have been too late. And behind me were another 25 passengers.

      And with flights still full it's doubtful there's going to be an open seat towards the front of the plane available at the gate.

    2. Brad Guest

      What a lovely planet you must live in. Wow !

    3. Richard Guest

      Pay vouchers and hotel for what? Unless the delay is hours and the cause of the delay is the airline, expect nothing. An airline may "delay" a flight for 5-10 business class passengers on an international flights; but not so much so for domestic flights.

  50. Dennis baran Guest

    My wife needs wheel chair service to the plane, although I would prefer a short connection I normally need at least 1 hour depending upon the airport, in Phoenix I book minimum 90 minutes

    1. JB Guest

      It has taken us a very long time on AA recently when you have your own device (we have a mobility scooter). It took about half an hour after the door opened for it to get to us the last 6 times we flew AA. It's especially a problem at MIA, where they don't have elevators at every gate, so they have to take it a few gates away and then bring it from there...

      It has taken us a very long time on AA recently when you have your own device (we have a mobility scooter). It took about half an hour after the door opened for it to get to us the last 6 times we flew AA. It's especially a problem at MIA, where they don't have elevators at every gate, so they have to take it a few gates away and then bring it from there (other airports carry it up the jetbridge stairs, it only weighs 120 pounds, and can be disassembled).

      It's taken so long since COVID that we are often the only ones on board with the FAs and they serve us snacks from First Class, and the cleaners are on board and have to clean around us. Eventually they have to deplane us and we wait in the terminal since it's time to board the next flight. AA can do turnarounds faster than deliver mobility devices to the gate. I could never book a layover less than 1.5 hours.

  51. Michael Guest

    The big difference between a tight connection in Austin vs Dallas is Austin has far too few gates and you often are delayed waiting for your gate to free up from the last departing flight. That alone makes a 60 minute connection necessary.

  52. Joseph See Guest

    First off, I want to thank you for your efforts on this blog. I’ve read it for years, and I really should comment more as much as I travel. Keep up the excellent writing!

    Regarding this topic. It’s an interesting one. I fly a lot. For the 2022 year, I’m currently Diamond with Delta as well as Exec Plat with American. I can say I’ve had many 29 minute layovers at ATL with Delta and...

    First off, I want to thank you for your efforts on this blog. I’ve read it for years, and I really should comment more as much as I travel. Keep up the excellent writing!

    Regarding this topic. It’s an interesting one. I fly a lot. For the 2022 year, I’m currently Diamond with Delta as well as Exec Plat with American. I can say I’ve had many 29 minute layovers at ATL with Delta and had zero issues. If I do miss a connection, every incursion, they see my status and assist in getting me where I need to go. In some cases, they rebook me and get me to my destination even quicker than my originally scheduled flight.

    American (who I was forced to start flying with since Delta pulled out of my home airport (DAY) due to covid but has since returned. It’s so frustrating flying with them. Most of their hubs are so poorly designed, making a connection on time is a nightmare. If you miss your connection, I’ve been told twice that they cannot rebook you on a new flight that flies through a different hub than your scheduled flight. Likewise, they won’t even consider an adjacent airport to fly you into (like DAL vs. DFW, or EWR instead of JFK).

    The percentage of Delta flights that have gotten to my first hip on time is easily over 90%. That percentage drops to maybe 50% on American. It’s not the 25min MCT that kills you on American. It’s their lack of actually getting you to your gate on time.

    I could rant all day long about American, but in the end, if I did not have status and flying for personal reasons, the cost is always the #1 factor. People don’t ever look at Connection times when they can save cash.

  53. John Baggott Guest

    My home airport is Phoenix, 25 MCT is crazy if you are trying to get from the High number A gates to any of the B gates or vise versa, even if your 1st class it would still be a dash.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      I’ve never missed going between high A and high B gates when on time. Typically first or first few rows of economy. Usually time for a bathroom stop and that’s it.

    2. Jan Guest

      And if you get an aggressive TSA female who refuses to believe you have pre-check and puts you back through the x-ray and pat down the swabs for drugs you've no chance.

    3. CS Neil Guest

      And when would this occur during a connection? Were you flying international or domestically to a smaller service airport?

      Thank you. I ask because I’m wondering why one would be going through additional TSA screening while on connection, from one secure area to another.

    4. Mike Guest

      There's nothing to "believe" about Pre Check. It's either listed on your boarding pass or it's not. Plus there is no trip though security on a connection.

  54. RAS Guest

    The main reason I quit flying American.

  55. Vic Guest

    If you book far enough in advance you'll almost certainly get a schedule change that makes the window less than the minimum connection. If the newly selected flight doesn't work then AA will re accommodate... I have good luck chatting through the app and I am not an elite. Have booked some really cheap awards and ultimately ended up getting a much more favorable schedule.

  56. JetSetFly Guest

    You gotta be stupid if you are trying to connect in a large urban airport for under an hour domestically. You are just asking for misconnection! My rule is two hours minimum for domestic and three hours international as you never know if the first leg will fly on time or if you can deplane in a timely manner so you can try to catch the second leg. Traveling is stressful enough most of the time. There’s no need to add to the stress by having short connection time.

    1. Ben Guest

      This sounds like a leisure approach. As a counter(data)point, I've had hundreds of connections <1hr and misconnected fewer than ten times.

  57. Red Guest

    25 minutes is enough time to get a meal on your Austin connection before boarding your next flight tbh

    1. AA70 Diamond

      Until there's no ramper shortage or no available gate. Happened to me twice and sat for an hour on the apron

  58. Dale Guest

    The Austin airport is the most ridiculous airport I've ever been through and I've traveled for years...their people are NOT helpful there's no posted signs for gates...if there's a change IN GATE by the time you get to the other gate it's too late to go backwards. I try to avoid Austin for any traveling

  59. George Romey Guest

    AA typically will offer a great fare but a short connection. Now AA does warn you about the connection time. So if you want the cheaper fare you take the risk. Not just the rebooking risk but that you go from seat 11F on a 321ceo to seat 32B on a 738.

    As Dirty Harry said, "do you feel lucky punk." Because if you have to be re-accommodated unless you have top status or perhaps an AC membership the experience with AA will make you feel "punked."

  60. Kevin Guest

    I almost got run over by a fellow passenger after arriving in PHX last week. She claimed she only had 20 minutes before her connecting flight, I saw her boarding pass..and she was telling the truth. To make it worse, we were a couple of minutes early, and then had to wait 5 minutes for them to put a jet way on and open the door, giving her only 20 minutes, and we were around row 17..really absurd policy.

  61. DLPTATL Diamond

    I would never book this, I think my average delay time on AA is >25 minutes, unless you assume your connecting flight's pushback is also subject to AA's MDT ("Minimum Delay Time") of 25 minutes. If it pushes back then sits for the required 25 minute delay I'd be really mad sitting there looking at it on the ramp. :)

    1. AA70 Diamond

      watching your plane sit at the gate going nowhere with the jetbridge disconnected is pure heartbreak

  62. FoxtrotMikeLima Guest

    Yes absolutely. Usually aa arrives early into aus and most likely the sane plane goes to the connecting destination. It's great that mct is 25.

  63. Mike S Guest

    We have been commenting/complaining about this for years during numerous crew/employee town halls. We know it sets the passengers up for failure and disappointment but no one in upper management seems to care. It just leaves the front line employees there to clean up the mess… I guess upper managements version of “going for great / taking care of people on life’s journey” is a lot different from ours

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      To be fair to you - assuming you're a front-line employee - literally ALL of the US3's policies that involve cost savings or "efficiency" are at the expense of the customer and leave front-line employees as the first/only line of defense against (rightfully) irate passengers. I'd be pissed if I was an AA employee, too.

  64. Randy Gold

    No - your flights are late in the afternoon and evening. Pay more and book through DFW.

    Only way would be if there were other flight options from AUS-DFW-TPA that would work if you miss connection and those flights had lots of empty seats.

  65. AA70 Diamond

    I live in a non hub city and the best priced and timed itineraries from PSP involve a minute connection in PHX. If there was a second daily frequency I would risk it, but missing my flight home involves waiting for the next day's flight, or being funneled through DFW. I'd rather not have to 2 stop a domestic trip.
    To make matters worse, PSP-PHX is a Mesa flight which is not at all...

    I live in a non hub city and the best priced and timed itineraries from PSP involve a minute connection in PHX. If there was a second daily frequency I would risk it, but missing my flight home involves waiting for the next day's flight, or being funneled through DFW. I'd rather not have to 2 stop a domestic trip.
    To make matters worse, PSP-PHX is a Mesa flight which is not at all likely to be delayed :)

    Can you reach out to them to comment on these absurdly low connection times?

    1. AA70 Diamond

      a 25* minute connection in PHX

      wish we could edit comments

    2. grichard Guest

      It works either way. A 25 MINute connection is definitely a miNUTE connection!

  66. RE Guest

    As a New Mexico resident that flys out of ABQ or ELP on AA often, I was confident you would be talking about a ticket leaving from one of these airports.

  67. Medina Guest

    American has always been weird this way. From Chicago to Europe they often sell flights via New York.
    Only the domestic portion goes into LGA and the international portion in and out of JFK.
    I've seen flights with connection times as short as 25 minutes. I'm guessing for them rebooting is easier than dealing with more complex computer programming.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      Yes! This is so obnoxious. We're part-time European residents and our nearest (truly) international airport is ORD. I'm a free agent for US3 flights anymore because, well, they all generally suck for one reason or another - product, miles, whatever - and AA insists on doing this to us. Home->LGA/JFK->European Home. Luckily it's a 6-hour layover so you have plenty of time, but also...it's a 6-HOUR LAYOVER AND YOU CHANGE AIRPORTS. It's ridiculous. But it's...

      Yes! This is so obnoxious. We're part-time European residents and our nearest (truly) international airport is ORD. I'm a free agent for US3 flights anymore because, well, they all generally suck for one reason or another - product, miles, whatever - and AA insists on doing this to us. Home->LGA/JFK->European Home. Luckily it's a 6-hour layover so you have plenty of time, but also...it's a 6-HOUR LAYOVER AND YOU CHANGE AIRPORTS. It's ridiculous. But it's also the most reasonable price by a not-insignificant amount. I have the highest status on AA and would prefer to fly them for upgrades and such, but we end up flying DL more because it's much easier to fly Home->ATL->Europe and definitely worth the $400 or so more to not just be sitting around or playing logistician to get from LGA to JFK. Such a disaster.

  68. JB Guest

    I recently booked a ticket with Qatar Airways from the U.S. to Asia on the same flights that I have flown on a few times before and normally had a connection of 3 hours. So I booked the same itinerary again for this Thanksgiving, but I recently looked at it again and it only had a 45 minute connection time in DOH! I don't even think that is allowed for Int. to Int. connection where...

    I recently booked a ticket with Qatar Airways from the U.S. to Asia on the same flights that I have flown on a few times before and normally had a connection of 3 hours. So I booked the same itinerary again for this Thanksgiving, but I recently looked at it again and it only had a 45 minute connection time in DOH! I don't even think that is allowed for Int. to Int. connection where I have to go through transit security. This is because of daylight savings time ending (moving the arrival one hour forward) and because of QR changing my connecting flights timings to 1 hour earlier (presumably because of the world cup and aircraft availability). But the flight numbers are still the same, so I guess I must have not noticed the connection time, or QR may have changed the 2nd flights' timings after booking without informing me (which would make sense, since then I would have had a 1:45 minute connection time, which I believe is the MCT at DOH).

    Now the problem is that this is the only QR flight of the day during the world cup, and they reduced the equipment to an A320 (they ordinarily have 18x weekly flights, or 2+ a day on 777/787/A350s). If I miss the connecting flight, I will have to wait 25 hours at DOH, and I cannot enter the country for a hotel because of the World Cup.

    1. Morgan Diamond

      I would contact QR and say due to them changing your flight you request your flights to be changed or refunded and point out that the connection time is probably in violation of rules (even check on them) or you could ask them to have someone meet you at the plane and get off first and have someone drive you through maybe.

  69. M. Casey Guest

    The “Fun Fact” about MCT is the time is from the arrival to the “actual departure” time. If you read your boarding passes, boarding on most carriers ends :10 minutes before the scheduled departure. Recently, I had a :36 minute connection time at LAX - :26 minutes if you factor when boarding ends. My arrival was :06 minutes late. Down to :30 minutes to make the connection - or :20, to boarding ending. My arrival...

    The “Fun Fact” about MCT is the time is from the arrival to the “actual departure” time. If you read your boarding passes, boarding on most carriers ends :10 minutes before the scheduled departure. Recently, I had a :36 minute connection time at LAX - :26 minutes if you factor when boarding ends. My arrival was :06 minutes late. Down to :30 minutes to make the connection - or :20, to boarding ending. My arrival gate was :01 minute walk - the next gate over (score one in the WIN column). There were 8 of us making that same connection 3 FC, 5 Y. We all made the connection!! The departure was delayed waiting for 8 late connecting bags, the same amount coming off our flight.

    MCTs should be based on the when the boarding times of the connecting flights start and NOT their departure time!

  70. Sabari Guest

    I had a 55 minute connection in Charlotte this week. Even though we boarded the first flight on time the captain said charlotte had closed two runways and our connections will also be delayed. But the time we landed, the connection flight departed. And the terminal itself was huge to travel from one extreme concourse to another. I believe atleast 1.30 hrs connection time is safe for big terminals.

  71. Joseph Story Guest

    Why don't you ask AA for comment? Live and Let Fly would have done on this. It would have likely prompted them to change their connection time to at least 40 minutes

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      In Ben's defense, the ROI simply isn't there. This is one of those internal operations things that AA wouldn't actually answer because some Lean Six Sigma'd it, customers be damned, and that's just the way things are. AA'd likely give some BS non-answer about customer feedback and ensuring passengers get to their destination "quickly and safely" yet completely ignoring that if customers miss flights because of short MCTs, they're getting NOWHERE quickly and safely. Also,...

      In Ben's defense, the ROI simply isn't there. This is one of those internal operations things that AA wouldn't actually answer because some Lean Six Sigma'd it, customers be damned, and that's just the way things are. AA'd likely give some BS non-answer about customer feedback and ensuring passengers get to their destination "quickly and safely" yet completely ignoring that if customers miss flights because of short MCTs, they're getting NOWHERE quickly and safely. Also, Matthew at LALF gets lots of non-responses in addition to the canned responses when he does get one. Not sure what's better...no response or bullshit response.

  72. Kcamack Guest

    Learned yesterday that MCT is based upon time to transfer bags from one plane to another, has nothing to do with people getting off one plane and onto another!

  73. George Romey Guest

    No way would I ever do a 25 connection with AA. You can land early but the time you get to a gate that's open and the jet bridge gets attached you're 10 minutes late.

  74. Bgriff Guest

    I’ve always thought that the airlines can have short MCTs if they want but then they should warn you if you try to book a really short connection and offer you a longer connection option (“if you want to be more sure your travel won’t be disrupted…”). Though maybe it wouldn’t help since the inexperienced travelers most likely to need that steer are probably booking via third party channels anyway.

  75. Hiro Gold

    Once I had a 35-minute Int'l to Int'l connection at ADD. The incoming flight was delayed by 15 minute so technically there was only 20 minute transfer. Was very glad my check-in bag did make it to the final destination.

  76. Rob Guest

    AA sold me a MCT in ORD changing to Madrid on Iberia.

  77. Euro Member

    AA has been offering itins with ridiculously short "please misconnect me" itins to me for months now, including 25-minute connection times in PHX and 35 to 55 minute connection times elsewhere. There are reasons why I have avoided flying with them for a while now, it's too close for comfort.

  78. Bruno Guest

    ADD had some 10-15 min MCT’s loaded for ET-ET connections. Not sure it still the case.

  79. Jim Guest

    I suspect another consideration to MCT is the padding of schedules. (Which I'm not inherently against, though some have gotten patently ridiculous.) So, 25 minutes on paper is likely to be more like 35 minutes in practice, and in AUS specifically you're not going more than a few dozen feet gate-to-gate.

    The only question is, do they have a protocol in place to alert the connecting gate agent that you're coming right off another plane,...

    I suspect another consideration to MCT is the padding of schedules. (Which I'm not inherently against, though some have gotten patently ridiculous.) So, 25 minutes on paper is likely to be more like 35 minutes in practice, and in AUS specifically you're not going more than a few dozen feet gate-to-gate.

    The only question is, do they have a protocol in place to alert the connecting gate agent that you're coming right off another plane, so they don't just declare you've missed the flight and close the door.

    1. Nelson Member

      Well, don't know how that works in the US but back in time I was Flying BRU-LIS-GRU with a theoretical stop over in LIS of about 2hrs (which in practice was/is always much more). We departed BRU with 2hrs delay due to a technical issue and once I arrived at LIS they where just starting the boarding for the LIS-GRU and I was allready out of their system to continue my flight. LIS was adviced...

      Well, don't know how that works in the US but back in time I was Flying BRU-LIS-GRU with a theoretical stop over in LIS of about 2hrs (which in practice was/is always much more). We departed BRU with 2hrs delay due to a technical issue and once I arrived at LIS they where just starting the boarding for the LIS-GRU and I was allready out of their system to continue my flight. LIS was adviced by BRU that we had that delay and so suspend our next leg. I bet you, they didn't had their best day at LIS. Of course, the gate agents aren't in fault but I asked to speak to their superiors to which I told I had a wedding that evening in GRU. Which happens to end good for me and 5 other people who I invited as my "friends" to board the flight. I'm pretty sure my FF Status with them and an article of me and my business publiced that time in their inflight magazine opened a few doors. Once I was seated in the plane it took one more hour for departure. Of course, just as I suspected, my luggage hadn't arrived at GRU. Good I didn't have that "wedding" that evening. The day after I got my luggage.
      Don't know in the US but here if you are i.e. a group, let's say representing 1/10th of the seats they will delay your connecting flight for that purpose but not if you travel alone. In that case you can only hope that they have more than one daily flight. And if legaly booked you can apply for the EU261 rule and get some nice money.

  80. cas New Member

    Agreed, they need to redo these. For example, American connections in Dallas are a joke -- short connection times that are always missed (at least by me, and I sit in the front of planes). Often, selecting better connection times (1+ hour) result in higher fares (again, at least in my experience), which is annoying.

  81. Nelson Member

    Wow, not so familiar with US Airports but i.e. at FRA the MCT is 45min. for all kind of connections. Albeit I never was in Austin, I'm pretty sure FRA is quite bigger than Austin. The times I had those connections (with checked luggage) I never missed one connection neighter luggage at arrival. But I need to mention, never ever the flight departed on time.

    1. Ben Holz Guest

      @Nelson lucky you... Fortunately based in MUC with most of my travels being intra-EU to hubs (so usually little need for connecting), but the 2 times I have connected in FRA with less than 1h in between, I have always ended up having issues and missing the connecting flight. Not too big of a deal if there are other frequencies later on in the day, but if that isn't the case it can be a...

      @Nelson lucky you... Fortunately based in MUC with most of my travels being intra-EU to hubs (so usually little need for connecting), but the 2 times I have connected in FRA with less than 1h in between, I have always ended up having issues and missing the connecting flight. Not too big of a deal if there are other frequencies later on in the day, but if that isn't the case it can be a nightmare. Learnt my lesson and now I refuse to connect in FRA if the layover is less than 90min unless there's another convenient flight later on the day.

    2. Nelson Member

      Ben, I agree. I have to admit, if I can connect in MUC then I never use FRA. But starting at BRU I don't have always the option MUC to connect. MUC is undoubtedly my favorite airport to be in, regardless what I want. Unfortunately I don't have always the choice but for sure, in Europe my favorite airport is MUC. And I'm talking as flying about an average of 400k miles a year, so yes, I have had some luck.

  82. BeantownFlyer Guest

    I am routinely seeing ORD connections of 30 minutes too. It’s ridiculous. I avoid booking any connection where - assuming my flight is on time - I won’t be able to get to the gate before boarding starts.

  83. Sel, D. Guest

    I’m pretty sure PHX is also 25 minutes for AA, with potentially a much longer walk. Sad considering there are 3 closet-sized admirals clubs to chose from, the worst centurion in existence (not run by Amex) and it’s sister escape lounge.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sel, D. -- Wow, good catch. Will update the post to reflect that, thanks.

    2. physicsmajor Guest

      This is the same for:
      CLT RJ to RJ (flights 3000-6399)
      LAX RJ to RJ

      ORD RJ to RJ seems to be 29.

      AA seems to do this quite a bit everywhere with RJ's which is kind of interesting since stepping off the jet time is replaced by waiting for your valet bag, unless you were smart enough to check it through and let it be ramp transferred from tail to tail.

    3. Mike Guest

      I would only call the high A gates club closet-sized.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Mike S Guest

We have been commenting/complaining about this for years during numerous crew/employee town halls. We know it sets the passengers up for failure and disappointment but no one in upper management seems to care. It just leaves the front line employees there to clean up the mess… I guess upper managements version of “going for great / taking care of people on life’s journey” is a lot different from ours

5
Andy Diamond

This is a general issue, not limited to AA or to AUS airport. For instance CM at PTY does 40 min connections, including to some US destinations (e.g. IAH), which have to go through an extra security check. At FRA, LH claims that International to Domestic (Schengen) connection are doable in 45 min ... which is completely unrealistic, in particular for non EU passport holders.

2
Jesse Guest

These types of connections work out great when you have trip delay insurance and you don't care when you reach your final destination.

2
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT