Cardinal Rule When Connecting on Two Separate Tickets

We’re getting back into the swing of things here in Maine after having a wonderful trip to Europe. While hot, the kids are back on track with sleep and enjoying spending time with their friends. While chatting with family about a travel mishap that ended up being worse than I realized, I wanted to reiterate a tried and true rule when traveling on separate tickets that ultimately get you from your departure point to your destination.

Last December, I introduced a family member to the world of signing up for credit cards and reaping the benefits for travel around the world. This particular person was looking to go to Europe in the summer. And being from Maine, I knew the best option for them was the direct Aer Lingus flight from Boston to Dublin. From Dublin, you can connect all over the world with either a second award ticket or a paid ticket. We’ve done this many times and it’s worked out great.

So, fast forward to this week. This family member just happened to be on our return flight from Dublin to Boston and we ran into them in London as we were headed to board our flight from London to Dublin that we paid cash for. I had assumed that they were on our flight that left London at 12pm, and was to arrive into Dublin at 115pm. But they indicated that they were on the 140pm out of London. We parted ways and said that we’d see them in Dublin. Well, we didn’t.

During our walk to the gate, I did some quick math and assumed that if our flight was to be 1 hour and 15 minutes, their flight was probably the same. That meant that they would arrive in Dublin at a little before 3pm. Our onward boarding passes from Dublin to Boston stated that we needed to be at the gate at 240pm. That was going to be a little tight. Given that we’ve flown out of Dublin many times, we’ve learned not to go through that early. There is a very little waiting area with limited facilities so after visiting the lounge, we decided to head over to the US Border Control Pre-Clearance facility a little before 3pm.

After a leisurely pace through customs and border control, we found ourselves sitting on the floor at the gate area as all the seats were occupied. It appeared that all the flights headed to the US were going to be very full. Shortly thereafter, we boarded with the pre-boarders given the ages of our kids. And we watched the boarding door for our family members. Next thing we knew, they were closing the door and our family hadn’t boarded.

To make a long story short, they had missed the flight because their flight from London to Dublin was delayed. But even if it hadn’t been delayed, it was going to be a brisk walk to the gate given the amount of time that they had left themselves. So, there was no room for any mishaps and as we know, there seem to always be mishaps along the way both inside and outside of our control.

And to make the story worse, Aer Lingus didn’t re-accommodate them on the next flight out of Dublin free of charge so they had to pay. And they had to pay more than what their complete ticket would have cost had they not used miles. Big bummer. I’m still hoping to get more details because I am shocked that Aer Lingus didn’t put them on the next flight free of charge. I’m wondering if, because the passenger loads were so full, that there weren’t any seats for several days and that just didn’t work for them.

Because the tickets were two separate tickets (and probably an illegal connection), Aer Lingus didn’t have any obligation to put them on the next flight. Oftentimes they will, but usually only if there are seats available. Therefore, please, please, make sure that you leave yourself plenty of time for delays, etc. when traveling on two separate tickets. There is just so much that can go wrong and you don’t want to ruin your vacation by having to pay an exorbitant amount for airfare that was unplanned!

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