A RTC Maxim: connect where you shall be happily stuck

A RTC Maxim: connect where you shall be happily stuck.

For all but the devotees of the mileage run, the best connection is no connection, yet often they are unavoidable. In such cases I always endeavor to connect in a destination for which I will happily be stranded overnight.

On my international trips this means avoiding US connections, especially on return to avoid the additional ‘point of first entry hassle.’

On my domestic trips this means a Minneapolis connection above all for family, followed by cities where I have friends amenable to a sudden pop-in, such as Atlanta and Miami. Cities with excellent public transport connections to the airport are nice, too.

Today bore the fruits of such effort on a trip from New York to Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) where I do not need to arrive in XNA until midday tomorrow. Staying within Delta I could connect in several of their hubs and demi-hubs for roughly the same time and cost, so I booked Minneapolis with as tight a connection as possible in the hope of nature taking its course in the form of NY flight delays. Perfect weather and smooth operations derailed that plan, not even a broken fuel trucked stalled us more than a few minutes. Yet to my delight, MSP-XNA was oversold and I was the smiling volunteer collecting a $400 Delta voucher, $30 in meal vouchers, passing on the hotel, and off to meet my parents for dinner and a night at home.

Readers, where do you like to get stranded on connections?

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  • PAB

    HNL.

    I love the beach and the fresh seafood

  • Can I ask who you are working with in NWA?
    Pertinent to me considering those are my old college stomping grounds.

  • I haven’t officially had a stranding issue yet, partially out of sheer luck and partially because I try to pick airports that would offer backup plans/additional flights in case Plan A backfires. Twice I should have been stranded, but both times I was within 2-3 hours of my final destination and simply rented a car for the last stretch of travel.

    More important to me is avoiding the airports I hate, JFK & PHL.

  • bk3day

    SFO or CDG

    I’ve gladly endured more than a few delays that caused me to spend an extra day in San Francisco.

    That ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano unexpectedly grounded me in Paris so while the experience had some tense moments, I did my best to get out and enjoy the city.

  • Dan

    DCA is a good airport to be stuck in since you can be downtown in under 20 minutes on the Metro. Abroad I take Amsterdam. AMS is well planned, it has good public transit to the city and most everyone speaks English, which comes in handy when dealing with delays and missed connections.

  • AA

    How do you actually decide where you will have a connection? This must be airline specific. Would greatly appreciate a detailed post (tutorial for noobs!).

    Thanks.

  • @AA – I will think how to put it in a clear post. Looking at the main US airlines with hub models, they typically try to route itineraries through their hubs, and if you search for a particular trip if you check the fine print fare rules you can often see a list of allowed connection points between your destination and origin. In the case of my trip between New York and Arkansas, Delta allowed connections through Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis and Minneapolis. There can be quirks, but generally it would not work for me to try to route with them in a western hub like Salt Lake City or Los Angeles. If I had flown American or United the cities would have been totally different. And these can vary between revenue tickets and award tickets. A search on delta.com gave all the options, more clear are sites like ITA and Hipmunk that help visualize the connection options better.

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