One Way to Avoid Tight Connections

Bob and I are just back from a trip to Botswana and South Africa, with quick visits to Egypt and Zimbabwe (more on our visit to these countries in our print newsletter, coming out next month!). Our flights to the African continent were long, and we had many stops. But as you’ll find out next month, it was well worth it. It’s not easy though to get many places from our little airport in Medford, Oregon. And when you’re headed all the way to Africa it gets even tougher. There are direct flights to cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and Denver, but if you want to travel further afield, you know you’ll have to stop at least one other place before your final destination.

We had booked our tickets for this trip on United miles, and the best option for us was to book two separate mileage tickets for each of us, the first going from Medford to New York (via Denver), and the second from New York to Johannesburg. Now, booking two separate tickets always gives me pause, because if your entire trip is booked on one ticket, and your first flight is delayed long enough that you miss your second flight, the airline is obligated to rebook you on another flight. However, if you have two separate tickets and the same thing happens, sorry Charlie, you’re on your own to purchase another flight. Thus, for this trip, we chose to fly the day before on one ticket to New York, then stay overnight in a hotel, and fly on our second ticket the next day to Johannesburg. We figured it would keep us safe from any delays that might cause us to miss our long flight to South Africa, and indeed that was the case. We did the same thing on the way home, and although it took us a day longer in travels each way, we were also able to sleep fairly soundly for six hours in a hotel bed in New York, and not have to sit for hours and hours in an airport waiting for a long connection either.

The older I get (I feel like I’m saying this a lot lately, but I digress), the more I want to de-stress my life and my travels, and tight connections are a big stress bomb, at least for me. A good night of sleep, in a real bed, is worth a lot to me too.