Recently I received a question from a reader:
I’ll be taking my first flight in a few months time, which is both exciting and terrifying. Here is my problem: I am unable to find a direct flight — or even a one-stop flight. Instead, I am faced with two stop flights, which I will be needing to make alone. Is it better for me to make sure each connecting flight uses one airline but has less time between layovers, or for me to use multiple airlines that have longer time spans between layovers? If I fly with the first option, which would be through Delta, a problem is that one of the layovers is only 35 minutes. Is that enough time for me to get to my second plane? If I fly with multiple airlines, I’m allowed 2 hour layovers, but then have the hassle of dealing with checked bags — and, of course, the fact that the airlines might not work with me if I miss my next flight due to a late arrival.
Wow! That is very exciting. Congratulations on your first flight! And what a complicated scenario for your first time. You have a lot to think about. First of all, know that you are a capable person and you can absolutely handle this. I recommend that you take the same airline for all legs whenever you can, for the exact reasons you listed. If you miss your connector due to issues with the previous flight, who knows if they will work with you if the delayed flight is on another airline. Also, if you do have to check bags, it would be a huge hassle to have to pick up your bags and recheck, then go through security again, at each airport.
35 minutes is a tight connection, definitely, but in many airports it’s totally doable. Take a look online and see if you can find an airport diagram, which may make you feel more confident about being able to get from one side to another if necessary. Once you know your gates (which typically happens the day of your flight) you can actually plan your route. For example, here is the DFW airport and information on how to get from one terminal to another.
Good luck!! I hope you have a great and exciting time. And if not, well, I hope your flights go smoothly.