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Friday, July 19, 2024
HomeTravel AdviceAt The Airport30 Minute Connection? How Fast Should You Walk?

30 Minute Connection? How Fast Should You Walk?

I was flying from Montana back to Arizona for the last time before I move to Puerto Rico. Instead of the direct flight on Allegiant, I flew Delta which required a connection in Salt Lake. I landed at the B gates, the outcast terminal of SLC, and had to make it to D11 for my connecting flight that was boarding as I was landing. After a delay in getting off the plane due to a malfunction of the door, I hastily made my way to the D gates. First, I had to walk through all of the B gates, then through C. “Is it faster to use the moving walkway or speed walk around it?”, I asked myself. The results were mixed. Ideally, I can speed walk on the walkway and increase efficiency. This is only true if people respect the walkway and stay to the right if they are standing. On one of the walkways, I encountered a gentlemen who was walking on the left while video chatting. I reprimanded him for being oblivious and made my way around him. When I got to D, my gate was at the very end of the concourse. My usual panic for missing a flight set in, and I began to pick up the pace. I arrived and saw a big crowd waiting to board. For all the dramatics, they were only boarding zone 2, meaning I had plenty of time for a detour at the Delta SkyClub SLC.

It took some hustle to go from B to D, leaving me to wonder what the airlines expect from passengers in these situations. Should we be expected to run from one gate to another? Should we be able to stop at the bathroom and walk at a leisurely rate? Do they know that I’m on my way, and if they do, will they wait for me? If I’m checking a bag, will that increase my chances of making the connection? On the one hand, if the bag gets on the plane, I believe that federal law mandates that I have to be on the plane with it. On the other hand, my bag might not make it in time, leaving me worse off even if I make the flight.

So many questions, so few answers. Any insight would be appreciated.

a map of a airport
Started deep in B gates all the way to D11.






  1. I seriously question the MCT in situations like this. I’ve had to sprint at SLC before while holding my carry-on, and I agree that it is decidedly *not* fun.I refuse to connect with less than an hour, these days (especially with all the fun weather sweeping the country). :/

    • But they charge much more in points or cash for longer connection. Why pay it? It’s their problem if I miss.

      • Oh – definitely their problem if you misconnect because their times were not reasonable. I just don’t like having to run through an airport if i don’t have to. 🙂 That’s all!

  2. If you figure that they “close the doors” 10 minutes prior to departure “officially” then you really only have 20 minutes. If you also figure that most airlines start boarding about 30 minutes prior to departure then if all goes perfect you are getting off your first flight (if your in the front of the plane) just as the other one starts the boarding process. I never book connections closer than an hour and think it shouldn’t be allowed. As far as the bags versus people process I’m not sure how they handle that. On the other hand it seems funny that you could make the flight yet your bag might not on a tight connection and they would still allow your bag to fly without you later.

  3. The normal way of things works like this: If you have to be someplace, then you run, get sweaty from running, look suspicious because you’re sweating, so they won’t let you board, then you get massively delayed. Accordingly, when pressed, I’ll try a quick walk. Between Delta and American, my bags have been sent to all kinds of places that I never visited, so I try not to worry about the baggage too much.

  4. In general, yes they know you’re coming (if it’s a connection and not a separate ticket) and no, they won’t hold the plane for you.

    PPBM is only done on intl flights.

    • PPBM is positive passenger bag match. Had to look it up and good to know. But really they won’t hold the plane for TPOL!

  5. Delta boards “40 minutes ahead of departure,” but they really pad that. I leave the Skyclub when the app pushes the “now boarding” notification and still end up waiting 10-20 minutes at the gate. Like the other people commenting, I won’t give myself less than an hour but that’s because I have to poo if I get nervous about missing my flight.

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