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Air Travel Concerns
Old 07-01-2022, 05:08 PM
  #1

My aunt is celebrating her 90th birthday, and we have decided to fly to the celebration. We have tickets to Rochester, NY on Thursday, Sept 1, returning on Monday, Sept. 5. Purchased in February.

With all the reports of delayed and cancelled flights, I am starting to get cold feet, and am almost to the point of insisting DH and I drive. There are a few issues that cause me concern. I would appreciate your input.

1. Because we do not live near a hub, we will have to take 3 planes. Missoula, MT to Salt Lake City, SLC to Atlanta, Atlanta to Rochester, NY. The return is Rochester to LaGuardia, LaGuardia to Minneapolis, Mpls to Missoula. Our flight plan has changed a MULTITUDE of times, even to the point that until this month I stopped reading them because they were making me crazy (i.e., Gee, your flight from Missoula will arrive after your SLC flight leaves, but we're working on it! Argh!)

2. The BIGGEST change was to switch us from arriving back to Missoula Sept 5 (Labor Day) at 3:30 p.m to the flight that arrives at 11:30 p.m. We live 3 HOURS from the airport. I was hoping for that afternoon arrival because the following day (Tuesday) we are driving to Albequerque for a wedding on DH's side and we need to be there Thursday.

3. And then there's the million dollar question: Will all the legs of our trip be viable?? Will we get stuck somewhere?? We are transferring planes at some MAJOR BUSY hubs.

There are just so many factors that could get screwed up! From the start, I tried to get DH to agree to a road trip to Rochester, go from there to Albequerque, and then north back to Idaho, but he doesn't want anything to do with driving east of the Mississippi. I even volunteered to do the driving once we arrived "East."

Usually I'm not stressed out about hiccups with air travel as we are retired and usually, our itinerary is flexible. But not this time.

We haven't been on a plane since the year before the pandemic, so unsure of what's going on at the airports these days.

Any pearls of wisdom? Thanks in advance.


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I feel your pain
Old 07-01-2022, 05:33 PM
  #2

We are flying July 7 and we're wondering what hell we'll experience.

On tonight's news, they had an "expert" say that things will get back to normal by mid-August.
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Old 07-01-2022, 05:41 PM
  #3

You are flying on a holiday weekend so cancellations are more likely overall. At major hubs you have a better chance of getting another flight. But these are very uncertain times in the airline industry. My dd recently flew from LA to San Francisco. You would think it would be ok since it is a major commuter route. But the last five flights were cancelled and she couldn't get a seat the next day, and there were no rental cars available.

Try to book the first flight out in the morning. You have a challenging itinerary. Can you fly from Rochester to Albuquerque? (Rochester-JFK-Atl_Alb).

If you have the time, driving makes more sense than trying to make all these connections.
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Old 07-01-2022, 06:00 PM
  #4

Your schedule is tight ó even if you flew home early afternoon.
Iím with Sonoma. Iíd think about flying from Rochester to Albuquerque. You could stay an extra day in Rochester and maybe get a cheaper flight because itís not on the weekend. (Plus I think there are one stop flights from Rochester to Albuquerque.) Youíd arrive a day or two earlier in Albuquerque which gives you time to rest.

There are cons. Extra hotel cost. Car rental? But, for peace of mind, it may be worth it.
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Old 07-01-2022, 06:07 PM
  #5

It would involve some driving, but here’s another possibility. I can understand your concerns about canceled or delayed flights.

Would it be possible to drive to Calgary? From there, I think there are direct flights to Toronto. It isn’t a tremendous distance between Toronto and Rochester, and I think train service is available (not sure how often it runs). There’s also Megabus.

Good luck!



Last edited by c6g; 07-01-2022 at 06:33 PM..
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Old 07-01-2022, 06:19 PM
  #6

Quote:
From the start, I tried to get DH to agree to a road trip to Rochester, go from there to Albequerque, and then north back to Idaho
I would continue to lobby for that. Three flights sounds grueling in the best of circumstances.

Quote:
Can you fly from Rochester to Albuquerque?
Or do this.
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:29 PM
  #7

Quote:
Would it be possible to drive to Calgary? From there, I think there are direct flights to Toronto. It isnít a tremendous distance between Toronto and Rochester, and I think train service is available (not sure how often it runs). Thereís also Megabus.
Donít do Toronto! That is the worst airport in Canada in terms of travel chaos these days. Iíd avoid it at all costs!
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Flying is unpredictable.
Old 07-01-2022, 07:52 PM
  #8

Flying out and into Montana is extra hard. My DD flew in and out of Bozeman. Much cheaper, but a longer drive for us to pick them up. Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2022, 08:39 PM
  #9

Holiday travel is always unpredictable but Labor Day weekend is probably one of the better holidays for travel. Kids are back in school so there won’t be a lot of families. I’m sure it will still be busy but not as bad as other high travel holidays.

As far as the airport and planes it is back to pre-pandemic travel. Crowded, no masking, and so on.

Changing planes at the busy hubs should be a benefit because there will be options if there are delays.

Both dh and I have had some tight travel days recently with no room for error. We had no issues with cancellations and delays. Just make sure you have plenty of time for connecting flights.

The blessing of being retired is being able to roll with whatever happens, even when you have a tight schedule.
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Old 07-02-2022, 04:46 AM
  #10

My concern would be all of the plan changes that you have to do, especially on a holiday weekend.

I would make it in to a fun road trip for both of your trips if you canít convince him to do it.


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Old 07-02-2022, 04:49 AM
  #11

I live "east" and have travelled to Maine. We really didn't have any problems because we didn't hit major cities along the way. I say drive. It's a good way to see the country.
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Old 07-02-2022, 04:54 AM
  #12

Even in the best of circumstances and everything working perfectly, flying through Atlanta is hit or miss for about half the year I'd guess....thunderstorms can disrupt travel going through Atlanta often. Any time you have multiple legs to a trip, it makes things harder because it increases the number of times things can be disrupted.
If there's any way you can arrange for a direct flight, I'd do it. OR....is is it possible to drive to Albequerque and fly from there? Since you'll be there for a wedding shortly after your return? Many hotels have park and fly deals.
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Old 07-02-2022, 07:11 AM
  #13

I'd vote for driving if you can. I live "East" of the Mississippi and if you take the major road the drive is pretty easy. The only concern might be near Chicago, but even then it isn't too bad if you just make sure avoid going through the city.

If you do drive, make sure to check which states have tolls. Illinois no longer has toll booths, but you can sign up online to have the tolls automatically billed to you credit card.
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Old 07-02-2022, 07:19 AM
  #14

Yes, all of the connecting flights make your journey a nightmare possibility. I’d consider driving.
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Old 07-02-2022, 07:43 AM
  #15

Quote:
is is it possible to drive to Albequerque and fly from there?
After thinking about it, I really like cruxianís idea. You planned to drive this anyway. Since itís a family member wedding, there may a family member who would let you leave your car in their drive while you are in NY.

The big fly in the ointment is the already purchased tickets. Some airlines are being super flexible lately, others are not. Thereís no cost to find out about options.
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flying
Old 07-02-2022, 08:33 AM
  #16

I'm with those who suggest driving at least part of it. Your flight itinerary is way too complicated in these times especially. It seems like you have some time to check with the airlines on their cancellation or reschedule policy.
Good luck!
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Old 07-02-2022, 09:58 AM
  #17

Quote:
is is it possible to drive to Albequerque and fly from there?
I like Cruxian's idea too, as you were already planning to drive that leg anyway. You should be able to get from ABQ to Rochester with only one layover as opposed to two.
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Old 07-02-2022, 12:31 PM
  #18

And ABQ is a pretty good airport to get in and out of.
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Many Thanks for the Pearls of Wisdom!
Old 07-02-2022, 05:09 PM
  #19

Wow! I was thrilled with not only the responses, but some very real opinions and data to back them up! Thank you, thank you!!

Missoula and Idaho Falls ARE the closest airports to us. Both 3 hours away and both considered outliers on airline radar. Limited flights and airlines servicing them. Delta is predominantly the East/West connection. I believe Delta has 2 flights in the AM and 2 in the PM. I grew up in the Rochester area, and taking 3 planes has always been the norm to go when traveling home.

c6g - As much as I would love to see that city, Calgary is a 10 hour drive from our home in Idaho.

Cheerio - When I was single, living in southern ID, I did fly into Toronto a couple times. I'm sure sorry to hear it's not what it used to be.

DSLBUG - I checked into Butte and Bozeman when getting tickets because sometimes they are cheaper or have a better itinerary, but not when I checked.

elspeech - I have driven "home" a couple times, but no matter how one goes - I-90 or I-94, one must go through Chicago. Both trips I timed it mid-morning weekday. Whew! Reminds me of how rusty my city driving has become after living in rural Idaho and Montana!

The idea of driving to ABQ and flying from there to ROC is definitely intriguing!! I presented it to my husband, and he is actually considering that as an option. And I did a quick perusal of flights on Southwest - no non-stop, but only one change - in ATL. Cost is about what we paid for our Delta tickets in February.

kahluablast - thanks for the "barometer reading" for the ABQ airport!

DD2, our 29 year-old high functioning special needs DD, will need to fly solo if DH and I change our plans, as she does hold down a part-time job and is not invited to the wedding (a small affair). But I do feel confident that, if there is a hiccup in the trip for her, we can prepare her for it and help her navigate through any problem-solving.

We did purchase insurance, and with all the changes Delta has made, I feel optimistic we can get most of our money back. Peace of mind is worth whatever we lose!

Thanks again for your comments. You all are awesome! And if there are any other ideas... I'm all ears!
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Old 07-02-2022, 07:33 PM
  #20

I took your advice about flying out of Albuquerque, but ended up tweaking it to make it even easier.

Changing our flight plan required a couple of nights at both the Albuquerque and Rochester ends. I asked the mother of the bride (DH's cousin) for suggestions. (The wedding is actually in Ruidoso north of Albuquerque) She suggested we fly out of/in to Tucson. Then we can stay with them, saving on motel, and they'll be heading over to Ruidoso the same day as us. Perfect.

Delta couldn't have been nicer. Because DH and I were changing our flight, but not DD2, I didn't know how to do that online. And the Delta rep agreed. Then she booked our TUC-ROC flight. In the course of the conversation, she inquired about the change, and totally agreed that our decision was a good one. She'll hope for the best for DD2. But as I said, DD2 isn't under the time pressure we are.

I'm especially excited about our lodging near Rochester before getting the AirBnB we reserved. It's a delightful brick Victorian home that recently underwent a total restoration to become a B and B. And it's on the same street I grew up in a little Erie Canal village.

My heartfelt thanks to all who helped me think outside the box!
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Old 07-03-2022, 06:01 AM
  #21

Thanks for the update!
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Old 07-03-2022, 06:14 AM
  #22

Thanks for the update. Iím glad that Delta was easy to work with.
Now we keep all our fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly in September.
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Driving East
Old 07-03-2022, 12:01 PM
  #23

I live outside of Rochester and regularly drive the section from Cleveland to Rochester. It is not a bad drive- particularly in September. Yes, it can get a little busy with truck traffic, but for long stretches you can use cruise control. There are plenty of rest stops and easily accessible amenities. Flying lately is NOT fun, so when I have the chance, I opt for driving!
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