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I had a coworker come up to me this morning with a tale of woe that turned out to be an intriguing story.  He was flying on American Airlines from Florence South Carolina (FLO) to Cincinnati (CVG), connecting in Charlotte (map courtesy of gcmap.com)

He had a tight connection in Charlotte and ended up missing his flight.  He was angry with American, though as any set of good coworkers would do, we blamed him instead!

How to miss your flight

I’ve written before about 3 things you should do if you DON’T want to miss your flight, but unfortunately my coworker seemed to follow a few of the rules you should do if you DO want to miss your flight 🙂

  • Despite a pretty tight connection, he was not in a super hurry to get to his connecting gate
  • He had his headphones on walking through the airport, so he didn’t hear any announcement over the intercom

He didn’t realize that the departure time was the actual pushback / takeoff time and that the doors / gate closed (at least!) 10 minutes before that.

(SEE ALSO: Why I just sprinted through the airport for the first time)

Violating the Minimum Connection Time (MCT)

Since I’m a skeptical kind of guy, I looked up his flight on Flightaware, and saw that his two flights landed and departed 29 minutes apart (arrived 3:29, departed 3:58).  His flight from Florence WAS late but they also held the departing flight to Cincinnati by 8 minutes (ironically, probably literally waiting for him 😀 )

Then, looking it up on Google Flights, I saw that American sells a ticket with only a TWENTY FIVE MINUTE connection time

I know he has only (mostly?) himself to blame and probably has no recourse from the airline (this isn’t Europe and EU261 people!) but I was still surprised that American would sell a flight with such a short connection.  According to Flyertalk, the minimum allowed connection time for domestic connections at Charlotte is 40 minutes. (EDIT: A few commenters have mentioned in the comments that between certain flights the MCT is 25 minutes, which makes this a legal (though INCREDIBLY tight!) connection)

In any case, let this be a lesson to you – if you have a tight connection, hustle to your connecting gate!

Has anyone ever been booked on a flight through CLT with such a short minimum connection time (MCT)?


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