We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Short layovers... Is this doable?

Saratoga Springs...
3 posts
Save Topic
Short layovers... Is this doable?

My flights not until February, so this could very well end up changing between now and then, especially as it's already changed once since I've booked it. I had longer layovers originally, but then the flight schedule changed, and my layovers got shorter as a result.

Flight there:

Albany to Dulles - 1 hour and 36 minute layover. I've never been to Dulles Airport, so I'm slightly nervous about this one. It seems like a really short layover. Flying United for this one.

Dulles to Vienna - 1 hour and 15 minute layover. Also very nervous about this one, but I've been told that it's easily doable. We'll see. This flight will be with Austrian Airlines.

From Vienna, I'm going to Prague, which is my final destination.

For the flight home, I fly from Prague to Brussels, for an hour and 45 minute layover, before heading back to the US.

I'm one of those people who like to have long layovers just so I don't have to rush, so I'm panicky about all of these short ones. Obviously, no one here can tell me "it'll be fine, don't worry," because flight delays happen, especially when flying in the wintertime, but maybe someone can offer some thoughts or some tips?

Thanks in advance!

Edited: 19 November 2017, 14:07
9 replies to this topic
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
7,190 posts
46 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

Well, everyone is going to ask are these tickets all one ticket, i.e., one confirmation/PNR/booking or are they flights you cobbled together yourself by purchasing different tickets for the different flight segments. So it would be good to illuminate that point.

And besides that you may want to post the question about the Vienna connection in the Vienna forum and ditto for the Brussels connection in that forum. Most local forums include 'experts' with lots of specific airport experience.

Since you don't want to hear, "Don't worry it will be fine" or I presume, "Don't worry if you miss a flight it is the airline's responsibility to get you on to the next available flight" IF these are all protected connections on one ticket, then the best tip for part of the journey is to look at the websites for Vienna and Brussels airport and read up on the transfer processes there, look at airport maps to orient yourself, check out flight information for your flights to see in general what gates they seem to arrive at and depart from. European airports have perhaps a bit more consistency in gate patterns for flights given the whole Schengen and non-Schengen thing. But don't worry, it will be fine ;)

Edited: 19 November 2017, 16:21
London, United...
Level Contributor
3,654 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

Even if his is all in one ticket, the connection at Vienna sounds a bit tight as you will have to clear immigration there. It's been a few years since I flew to Vienna and I have never made a connection there, but I would probably want at least a two hour window given the logistics involved.

The Dulles transfer should be a piece of cake in comparison (assuming you are travelling on a single ticket). On the way out, all you need to do is get off your plane and look at the screen to find your next gate.

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
14,279 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

Vienna is very efficient transfer airport. I believe the MCT is 30 minutes or so. I wouldn't worry too much and unless you're booked on the last flight to PRG of the day chances are you can be rebooked and arrive the same day should you miss your connection. Of course, this is all assuming you are on a single ticket.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
7,190 posts
46 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

Re: Vienna (and in general for that matter Brussels on your return) - if this is indeed one ticket than those times will certainly match or exceed the minimum connection times, which means that the vast vast majority of travellers make those connections. The last thing airlines will do is plan connections which they know will saddle them with large numbers of passengers who have missed their connections. As mentioned, Vienna has very efficient minimum connection times, perhaps fastest in the world - as low as 25 minutes for some types of flights. And as stated you will pass immigration in Vienna since you will be entering the Schengen zone there (your bags will be tagged straight thru to Prague; no collection and redrop like the first port of entry in the USA; hence no customs in Vienna either- again assuming this is all one ticket). But do not follow the signs for baggage, just follow the signs for your next gate. This will at some point take you to the non-Schengen to Schengen passport control barrier. This is generally a very quick passport control, especially for Americans and non-Schengen Europeans etc. In many airports, there will be a priority passport control lane for flights which are coming up soon. If that is the case then there will be an electronic board displaying the priority flights. Some airports also require passing thru security in addition to the passport control. Some, like Schiphol at least, have eliminated the security check for flights arriving from 'safe' countries such as the flights from the USA. These are all questions you can ask in the Vienna forum.

Milford, Ohio
Level Contributor
2,495 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

IAD is where I'd be concerned. Although you have an hour and 36 minutes, if your incoming flight is delayed, you may have to run. Your flight to Vienna will most likely start boarding 50 minutes to an hour before scheduled take-off. At IDA, you will need to change terminals which includes a tram ride. I've take the IAD to Vienna flight a few times. (We go to Vienna annually from Cincinnati - CVG-IAD, IAD-VIE.)

The transfer is Vienna will be easy. They just remodeled the airport and it's very efficient. You will go through passport control and then on to your next flight. You will NOT collect baggage or 'declare' anything in Vienna.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
449 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

It's very doable. I'd buy such a ticket. Plenty of time in Vienna. The only thing I might worry about is that the Albany to DC commuter jet must take off as scheduled.

Saratoga Springs...
3 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

Thanks for all of the comments so far, everyone. This is all booked on the same ticket, yes.

I'm seeing if there's anyway the airline can get me an earlier flight to Dulles. If not, I'll make sure I pick a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible and I suppose just hope for the best. Also, I'm going to purchase trip insurance, just in case.

The last time I flew, I had a 9 hour layover, and still ended up missing my connection and being stranded overnight in Newark due to issues with the flight crew... So I guess there's no guarantees no matter how long a layover I have.

Saratoga Springs...
3 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

Does the tram at IAD take very long? Will I have to go through security again after switching terminals there?

Milford, Ohio
Level Contributor
2,495 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Short layovers... Is this doable?

#8 - the tram takes roughly 5 minutes because there are 2 or 3 stops. I did not have to clear security again after getting off the tram. After you exit the tram, you go up a huge elevator and my gate (both times) has been to the right. Of course, not a close gate, but one at the end of the terminal :)

Reply to: Short layovers... Is this doable?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted