If you are connecting to the same airline you can do it in about 30 minutes. If you are connecting with United/Continental, I would allow more time because the gates are far apart.
Also, if you are connecting on the same airline, the flight schedule will book you on a schedule with enough flight time (there are minimum connecting flight times that airlines must follow). Of course, there can always be delays due to weather, mechanical, etc, but the airlines will work with you on that and can put you on the next flight out.
If you rarely fly, you may be unaware of how often flights get delayed these days, thus causing problems with connecting flights. And, if you miss a flight, you aren't put on the next flight out, you are put on the next flight that has seats AVAILABLE and that could easily be a day or two later.
The best and safest route is to allow yourself more time that you think you will need for a connection. It's always better to sit around an airport for an hour or two thanhave to try to re-book a missed connection!
I have flown out of IAH many times, and since summer storms can be a problem in Houston, if it were me, II would allow myself at least 90 minutes for a connection.. (And, as Knr says, the flight schedule you'll see when trying to book a flight will show a "legal" time for connecting flights. I find some of those "legal" times ridiculous and they don't do you any good when your flight is late and you miss the connection.)Edited: 04 March 2012, 03:53
Another thing to think about when scheduling your flight--try for the flights that are earlier in the day. That way you can minimize the risk of delays and, at IAH in the summer, afternoon storms. I'm like longhorn74--I leave plenty of time in between flights, no matter what an airline thinks is legal and makeable.
I agree, I always try to allow 90 mins at IAH even for domestic flights. UA does schedule connecting flights for as little as 40 mins through IAH, this is really pushing it if you have to change terminals - which might happen if you are coming from the midwest as your first leg may well be on a small, commuter jet.
I would say 60 to 90 minutes.
The Iowa to California airline schedules will make this choice for you. Hopefully you are not trying to book two independent legs for this journey.
I always say that the more time the better... you can always find something to do in an airport... i normally try for two hours give or take an unforeseen events
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