Cutting It Close: Will I Make My JFK-HKG Connection?

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Cutting It Close is part of the TPOL Down Under Trip Report which covers the following places:


Living in Puerto Rico has many advantages. One of the best is the availability of direct flights to NYC. For 16k JetBlue points, I was able to leave SJU at the last minute for JFK. If everything went according to plan, I would leave at midnight and arrive in NY at 3AM. My flight to Hong Kong was at 9AM, affording me enough time if there were a slight delay not to miss my HKG flight and allowing me to skip staying in an overpriced airport hotel. On the other hand, if there were a substantial delay, I risked losing my first class Cathay flight and killing the last-minute itinerary that I meticulously pieced together (see HKG! AUS! NZ! Booking a Last Minute Trip Down Under). I went on flightstats.com to see the history of flight delays on this route. Delays were minor so I decided to risk it. 

The day of departure I kept refreshing the flight status screen while remaining fixated on the weather. It didn’t help that the windiest and coldest day in Puerto Rico was the day before my flight with the erratic weather spilling into the day of my flight.

In the end, there was no delay and I arrived at JFK at 3AM. I was not able to check-in until 5:30AM and had to wait in the freezing cold terminal debating if I should have taken a later flight. 

Would you do what I did or would you arrive a day earlier?

13 COMMENTS

    • Easy to say that now that it worked but had there been a delay and I missed my flight to HKG, everyone would say ‘youre stupid for not going the day before.’

  1. LOL TPOL, so when I was 26, I’d totally do what you did. I’m now 46 and I wouldn’t. The risk of getting sick after being a freezing cold terminal for three plus hours would more than outweigh the costs of spending a night at @ a JFK airport hotel. Then again, I make more money now that I’m older, but I also got sick plenty of times trying to save money so it’s a combination of experience and resources.

  2. Since I loves me some Cathay, especially in first class, and Cathay has somehow neglected to fly to any warm weather destinations in the eastern half of the country, my wife and I tend to fly through ORD. Award space is generally good, and there’s a lot of solid hotel options nearby, including the Hilton at the airport itself. I build us in an overnight in many cases, because it’s an extra safety margin and it sucks huge to have to wake up at 4-5 AM to build in some margin otherwise. In fact, were doing exactly this soon. Have fun, bud!
    And Happy New Year!

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