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Destinations / Itineraries Totally crazy! Minimum connection time varies by ticketing airline?!?!?!

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by SeattleTodd, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    I've never heard of this being a thing before!

    Alaska (and it looks like United too) have a minimum connection time in Dublin on Aer Lingus of 2 hours -- Alaska agents say Aer Lingus is imposing that on the tickets Alaska issues. But Aer Lingus and British Airways will ticket Aer Lingus itineraries with far shorter connection times. I've never heard of connecting times varying by the ticket issuer!

    Here are some examples:

    1) SEA-->DUB-->EDI

    Flight from SEA arrives DUB at 12:40pm.
    First bookable departure to EDI through Alaska or United: 4:40pm
    First bookable departure to EDI through Aer Lingus, Avios, or British Airways: 2:25pm


    2) SFO-->DUB-->EDI

    Flight from SFO arrives DUB at 11:45am.
    First bookable departure to EDI through Alaska or United: 2:25pm
    First bookable departure to EDI through Aer Lingus, Avios, or British Airways: 1:10pm


    What's up with this? Is something misconfigured in Alaska's (and United's) systems? Is Aer Lingus imposing this on their partners as a means of getting more folks to ticket through Aer Lingus (as Alaska agents claim)?

    This one is totally new to me, and given how easy connections in Dublin are, it's really insane to be forced to have a minimum connection time of 2 hours. Sigh...
     
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  2. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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    Don't know if this has anything to do with it or not, but the DUB-EDI leg is operated by Stobart Air, which I assume is like United Express/American Eagle/Delta Connection. Perhaps not all of those flights are bookable as partner awards?
     
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  3. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    That's definitely not it -- all of the Stobart Air operated flights are available as partner awards.

    I just flew SEA-DUB-EDI a month ago with 1hr 40 min connection time in Dublin, ticketed almost a year ago by British Airways using Avios. I called today to see if they would book the same itinerary again and they said no -- 2 hrs minimum connection time needed in Dublin. So something has changed. Now Alaska United, and British Airways all won't ticket less than a 2-hour connection time in Dublin. And from my 2 back-to-back experiences, you don't need 2 hours to connect in Dublin from the US.

    But oddly enough, Aer Lingus will ticket a paid itinerary for the 1hr 40 minute connection time. I didn't go all the way through to purchase, so I can't claim this with 100% confidence, but it appears in all of their search results.

    Another weird data point -- using Google Flights, the 1 hr 40 minute connection is listed in the SEA-EDI search results if "all airlines" are selected. If just Aer Lingus is selected, Google Flights imposes a 2hr connection time. Even though the itinerary is composed of all Aer Lingus flights.

    And it's definitely not a problem with just particular flight. If flying from SFO-DUB-EDI, the flight in question is ticketable by Alaska, British, and United because it's part of more than 2 hours connection time in Dublin -- but the earlier flight from DUB-EDI making less than 2 hrs connection time drops out (again, except on an Aer Lingus paid itinerary).

    Does anyone have any idea what's going on? Does it sound like a temporary issue or a new permanent policy that somehow Aer Lingus paid tickets gets around? I'm not sure if I should wait it out in the hopes that the minimum connection times get corrected, but that would be pointless if it's an intentional permanent change.

    Help! :)

    Many thanks as always,
    Todd

    @Tiffany @Lucky @Gaurav @MidSouth Skier
     
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  4. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    One more weird thing I just noticed --- Alaska, United, and British all allow less than 2-hour connections in DUB when flying to the USA! That makes absolutely no sense because in that direction you need even more time for US Customs Preclearance.

    How can they be requiring 2 hour connections in DUB on flights from the USA to Europe, but less than 2 hour connections in DUB on flights from Europe to the USA?

    Makes me even more hopeful the 2-hour connection is a temporary "glitch", but who knows how long it would take for this to be caught and changed.

    I'd love advice from the professionals! :)
     
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  5. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    Last bit of data I'll share -- ExpertFlyer shows itineraries with less than 2 hours connection time in Dublin, and looking at minimum connection times from EI (International) to EI (International) I believe it states 45 minutes (if I'm reading the data correctly:

    STANDARD.D/D...D/I...I/D...I/I.
    ONLINE .45 .45 .45 .45
    OFFLINE .45 .45 .45 .45

    But then it goes on to say this, and I honestly don't understand how the two fit together:

    ** OR * ARE ALL
    EI-EI II 1.40 EXT - ORD TRM 1 - 2
    EI-EI II 1.40 INV - MCO TRM 1 - 2
    EI-EI II 1.40 INV - YYZ TRM 1 - 2
    EI-EI II 1.40 SEN - MCO TRM 1 - 2
    EI-EI II 1.40 SEN - YYZ TRM 1 - 2
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 AUSTRIA - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 AUSTRIA - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 BELGIUM - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 BELGIUM - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 SWITZERLAND - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 SWITZERLAND - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 CZECH REPUBLIC - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 CZECH REPUBLIC - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 GERMANY - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 GERMANY - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 SPAIN AND CANARY ISL - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2
    SPAIN AND CANARY ISL - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - AUSTRIA
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - BELGIUM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - SWITZERLAND
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - CZECH REPUBLIC
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - GERMANY
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - SPAIN AND CANARY ISL
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - GREECE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - CROATIA
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - HUNGARY
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - ITALY
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - MOROCCO
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - NETHERLANDS
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - POLAND
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 FRANCE - PORTUGAL
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - AUSTRIA
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - BELGIUM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - SWITZERLAND
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - CZECH REPUBLIC
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - GERMANY
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2
    UNITED KINGDOM - SPAIN AND CANARY ISL
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - GREECE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - CROATIA
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - HUNGARY
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - ITALY
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - MOROCCO
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - NETHERLANDS
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - POLAND
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 UNITED KINGDOM - PORTUGAL
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 GREECE - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 GREECE - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 CROATIA - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 CROATIA - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 HUNGARY - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 HUNGARY - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 ITALY - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 ITALY - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 MOROCCO - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 MOROCCO - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 NETHERLANDS - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 NETHERLANDS - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 POLAND - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 POLAND - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 PORTUGAL - FRANCE
    EI-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2 PORTUGAL - UNITED KINGDOM
    EI-EI II 1.00 TRM 2 - 2 ALL - CANADA
    EI-EI II 1.15 TRM 2 - 2 ALL - UNITED STATES
    **-EI II 2.00 AUH - ALL TRM 2 - 2 ALL - UNITED STATES
    **-EI II 2.00 LCY - ALL TRM 1 - 2
    **-EI II 2.00 TRM 1 - 1
    **-EI II 2.00 TRM 1 - 2
    **-EI II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2
    EI-** II 2.00 ALL - LCY TRM 2 - 1
    EI-** II 2.00 TRM 1 - 1
    EI-** II 2.00 TRM 2 - 1
    EI-** II 2.00 TRM 2 - 2

    Any thoughts?
     
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  6. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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  7. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    Here's the last bit of new data I have. EI tineraries with DUB connections of less than 2 hours appear to be ticketable by Alaska, British Airways, and United until Daylight Savings Time ends. From that point on, it appears that 2-hour connections are required. This just gets weirder and weirder... why would the minimum connection time change for good starting in November?
     
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  8. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Active Member

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    It is probably just a function of different companies' software not 'talking' to each other perfectly. Does it change back to less than 2 hours sometime in December? Ireland and the UK change their clocks at different times in Nov and March. The software may not be taking that into account right now.
     
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  9. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    QUOTE="OCTinPHL, post: 66671, member: 4556"]It is probably just a function of different companies' software not 'talking' to each other perfectly. Does it change back to less than 2 hours sometime in December? Ireland and the UK change their clocks at different times in Nov and March. The software may not be taking that into account right now.[/QUOTE]

    Nope -- it stays the same through the rest of the schedule. I'm trying to fly next August and noticed the problem (and the difference from flying the exact same flights just a few weeks ago) when I was researching award availability for next August. Sigh...
     
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  10. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Active Member

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    @SeattleTodd - just out of curiosity, is an extra 75 minutes (on the SFO-DUB-EDI itin) really that big of a deal? (The SEA itin is a bit more frustrating, I'll admit, but much better than what AA often offers when connecting to BA - or itself! - on award tickets).

    I get the airlines have crazy rules, but often (as I think in this case) it is sometimes software not talking to each other *and* the fact that most airlines don't make all flights available to its partners. Is that nefarious (trying to get you to pay $ or book directly with it)? Maybe... but it may also be that these airlines have so many interacting pieces (reservations, ticketing, awards, baggage) that crap sometimes happens.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
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  11. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    I get it, believe me. In part I'm just fascinated by these things and would like to understand what's going on. But I'll most likely be flying from SEA (due to nonexistent award availability from SFO) so it'll be a 2hr 15 min extra layover, when I'm trying to rush to get into town for a huge theater festival (the Edinburgh Festival Fringe). So it will be painful to be cooling my heels in DUB for no reason.
     
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  12. Tiffany

    Tiffany One Mile At A Time

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    These are the relevant parts. The defaults of 45 minutes are overridden by any of the below conditions, which in addition to the various city pairs have these blanket EI International to International rules requiring 2 hours, regardless of whether or not there's a terminal change.

    So I don't know why it has changed (though it may have something to do with the various concerns Ireland has around their border and Brexit), but that's why you're getting the 2 hour answer.
     
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  13. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    Thanks, @Tiffany

    But there are a few things that still don't square with that:
    • The 2-hour minimum connection times aren't enforced until Daylight Savings Time ends in November
    • A much-less-than-2-hour minimum connection time is permitted in the opposite direction (Europe to Dublin to USA) throughout the schedule
    • Aer Lingus will ticket a paid itinerary with a connection time of less than 2 hours in the problematic direction (USA to Dublin to Europe) throughout the schedule
    Now that you've explained what that data means, it seems inconsistent with the above facts. Any other thoughts?

    @Tiffany
     
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  14. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Active Member

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    Ireland actually goes off DST the last Sunday in October; where as the US goes off it a week later on Nov. 3.

    The reality is that the MCT is two hours for the flights you listed - as the EF data shows. As @Tiffany said, that overrides the "standard" 45 minutes. Anything different is the exception, not the other way around.
     
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  15. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    Yes -- I was referencing US DST. That's when the permitted connections change.

    The EF data does not address the inconsistencies with the facts I listed above. Plus I just flew the itinerary in August with a less-than-2-hour connection time. So somehow EF is listing MCTs that don't take effect until November.

    And at the very least everyone is ignoring the 2-hour MCT for flights from Europe to the USA, even though, unlike the USA to Europe, that direction has the additional time sink of US Customs Preclearance. Doesn't make any sense.

    It's fine if the answer is irrational. My brain wants it to make sense.
     
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  16. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Active Member

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    It could be software. It could just be that Aer Lingus is changing the MCT come Nov. 1. It may be that they are screwing with award inventory. AA does it all the time. It is what it is.
     
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  17. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    But wouldn't the MCTs apply to all airlines? How can Aer Lingus impose those MCTs on everyone but themselves? (They will sell USA to Europe DUB connections with less than 2 hours. I can't tell about awards through them because Avios.com doesn't show the availability that UA, BA, and AS see. But you can certainly buy tickets through AerLingus.com through the schedule with < 2 hour MCTs.
     
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  18. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Active Member

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    Dude, I don't know. We've tried suggesting some reasons. Call EI?

    As far as MCTs, it's not these are government regulated. If EI wants to have different MCTs for partner tickets, they probably can. It's their prerogative.
     
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  19. SeattleTodd

    SeattleTodd Member

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    Hey here, no need to get testy! Like I said, I'm fascinated by this and have learned a ton from Lucky's blog and this forum. If you've exhausted your interest in this topic, no need to reply. I know it's 99% likely some reason that's completely beyond my control. Just find it fascinating, and a small-to-medium part of me is curious how likely it is to revert back, based on what the true cause ends up being. Thanks for your suggestions -- I really do appreciate them. :)
     
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  20. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Active Member

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    Sorry, I'm not. But my point remains - people have offered multiple reasons. And like I said, it's completely up to EI. Who knows? What I was trying to point out is that according to this:
    EI-EI II 1.15 TRM 2 - 2 ALL - UNITED STATES
    The MCT is 2 hours. Not 45 minutes. Anything else is the exception, not the other way around. But regardless, EI can sell a ticket with less than a MCT if it wants to do so.
     
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