Connecting flightsBack to Forum
Anonymous27 May 2011
This is a topic partially covered by Alex (“Ask Alex”) but not fully. So I have two questions for you today:
1/ What is the key criteria for connecting flights to be guaranteed (in case of delay for instance): same PNR (aka booking reference – the 6 digits thing) or same ticket number?
2/ Same question for checked-in luggage to be sent directly to the final destination (even if in some country like the US custom must be done at the entry airport as then it is a simple drop of).
Thanks27 May 2011
I think (and emphasis is on think) that from a legal perspective (Ts&Cs) you have to be on the same ticket. Second best is to be on the same PNR which I have done many times.
I’ve had mulitple tickets and multiple PNRs and asked staff to manually add luggage to final destination with no issue.
Once, on a dometic flight from a small rural airport in Norway to Oslo I was fed to the dogs, and been forced to pay for my own accomodations in Oslo due to their cancellation. However, SAS (who I missed) did re-book me the next day free of charge despite not being their fault.
I have also been stranded by carrier A in Europe, not making it home for travel the next day. In these cases, they have dealt with carrier B and I have been re-booked free of charge.27 May 2011
Agree, beyond the legal and regulatory aspects, there is the practice. Me too, I could register luggage through to the final destination using different pnr & ticket numbers. As long things are going well, it is all right. But when there is an issue, suddenly regulations are making their coming back… Hence my question.28 May 2011
I don’t think there are key criteria for guaranteeing a connecting flight. If your incoming flight is delayed, the onward flight will go without you and you will be re-booked on the next available flight.
Twice when the plane has been late incoming Swiss had a car waiting at the aircraft which has whisked me (and two other pax) to the outgoing plane for direct boarding. The only problem with this, at Zurich anyway, is if the connecting flight is to NY or London, you have to go through extra border / security controls and then you will miss the onward flight as has also happened to me.
The only exception is if a large number of people on the incoming flight are also booked to go on the outgoing flight, then they will usually wait, but of course you won’t know if that is the case or not.
All this assumes you are through checked of course, and that is the main criteria, as you will then hold the relevant boarding passes.
I have never had a problem with onward connections being rebooked, hotel accommodation if applicable, transport to / from hotel and meals, but I have been in the premium cabins when this happened.28 May 2011
My experience is that most of the long haul flight will wait for a reasonable time if there are a lot of connecting passengers. Singapore airlines even annunce that some time. For connection to another short haul, wait is very rare. I had misconnections at least 10 times with all kind of airlines (SQ, United, BA, Swiss, LH) and in all cases booked promptly next flight with hotel accomodation where applicable. Although these are mostly with business class, but I received same treatment at Zurich in economy class from Swiss.28 May 2011