Connecting Flight Questions

I’m on hold with Delta (they’re calling me back so I don’t have to wait on hold 2-3 hours) because I have a question about a connecting flight.

Ivylad and I are taking a vacation to West Yellowstone, Montana, in the summer. The flight has us landing in Salt Lake City with the connecting flight to West Yellowstone.

My question is we land in Salt Lake City at 4:19 and the flight to West Yellowstone leaves barely 30 minutes later. Will that be enough time for us to disembark and get to the next gate? Will that be enough time for them to transfer any checked luggage? Do we have to worry about going through security again? Ivylad is in a wheelchair so he will be the last to get off the SLC flight. We don’t travel that much (the last cross country trip with multiple connections was five years ago) so my memory is a bit fuzzy and this is the first time we’ve had such a short wait between connections.

I’m sure Delta wouldn’t do this if it weren’t feasible, but it seems like a rather quick turnaround with no room for error.

You shouldn’t have to go thru security again. But the 30 minutes could be really tight, unless the connecting gate is adjacent as opposed to on a distant concourse. Hard to say if the luggage will be an issue, but I’d be concerned.

Not really enough time given your circumstances. It’s a fairly large airport and the small plane gates are often a distance away. Also, it takes at least 10 minutes to unload your plane. If everything goes as scheduled, you’ll probably just make it. If your incoming flight is late a few minutes, you might be at SLC until the next flight out.

Are able to switch flights so you have a longer layover?

Last weekend, I had a round-trip on Delta that had short layovers (less than an hour) in ATL in each direction. After I booked, I got nervous that I wouldn’t have enough time. I called Delta and the person I spoke with rebooked me on an earlier flight for Friday, and they waived the change fee without me asking.

On the way home, on Sunday, I asked someone at baggage check-in if I could switch to an earlier flight and they said no. But, when I got to my gate, I realized that there was an earlier flight at an adjacent gate. I asked the gate agent if I could switch, and he ALSO let me switch with no change fee.

So, it’s worth asking if your schedule allows for it.

While Delta’s terminal here in SLC isn’t the biggest compared to other US airports, it’s not small and parts of it slope up for several meters; that wheelchair will be going slower than usual. Plus there’s construction that could still be going on in the summer, so I’d arrange an earlier flight into SLC if I were you. I know it’ll make for a longer day but less headache overall.

If you wind up w/ several hours to kill, the small bus the church runs to give free tours around Temple Square (downtown SLC) is wheelchair-accessible.

Salt Lake is a hub for Delta, so the flights could be in different terminals.

I give you about a 50-50 shot. Check to see if there is a later flight to Yellowstone; if you miss your booked flight, they will probably be able to put you on the later one. If not, definitely keep daily medications, contact lens paraphernalia, and phone chargers in your carry-on luggage. You might be spending the night in SLC.

The FAA has published recommended times for ConX in all US airports. If your conX doesn’t meet that recommendation, you don’t have to accept the flight. I used this once when I forget who booked me with 20 minutes in Hartsfield. They need to give you a work around.

30 minutes is pushing it, especially with the wheelchair. In addition to getting off last, you’re also going to be moving more slowly through the terminal, and SLC is a fairly large airport. And if the first flight is delayed even a little, you’re gonna have problems.

I’d recommend asking if Delta can switch you to a later second leg (or earlier first one) to increase the layover time. Make sure you mention the wheelchair. If you booked recently they may even waive the rebooking fee.

ETA: You definitely won’t have to go through security a second time.

As others said, it’s really pushing it. The 30 minutes is assuming your plane arrives on time. It’s also most likely the departing time and your seat could be given to another?

I say this because I arrived at my connecting flight with two minutes to spare and I was out of luck. It was the last flight, too. It also caused my luggage to be delayed 3 days. It was, to say the least, headache inducing.

Talk to the agent at the gate and they might hold the plane given your circumstances.

I note that eight and a half hours have passed since the OP was submitted. ivylass, did the Delta people come up with an answer for you?

She may still be on hold. :slight_smile:

Do you know this specifically for SLC? There are still some airports out there where you have to leave the secure zone and get rescreened again just to get from one concourse to another.

Not at SLC. The security btwn Concourse E and the rest of the world is b/c it’s dedicated to international arrivals. At present, Delta uses Concourses D and C.

I haven’t flown domestic in decades, but my experience is it takes at least ten minutes to even get off the plane once it lands at the published arrival time. Your second airline usually has a policy of closing the boarding gate 30 minutes before flight time, so there is no way you can make that.

But if the same airline is booking youj through as a single ticket with a flight change, it is there responsibility if they board you on your first departure and youj miss the connection. Not applicable, though, if you are flying on separated tickets that have been booked and paid for separately.

Bolding mine. Substitute 10 minutes for 30 minutes and you’ll be accurate.

Agree with all the posters above including jtur88 except as noted. In further detail.

30 minutes even at a small hub like SLC is very, very tight for able-bodied people.

Someone who can sorta-walk from their seat to a wheelchair waiting in the jetbridge can expect to deboard in the normal order. Much to the frustration of everyone seated behind them.

Someone who needs to be taken off the aircraft in an aisle chair by the staff will be the very last person off by several additional minutes above and beyond the normal last passenger off deboarding time.

Likewise boarding someone who can’t walk at all or who can barely walk is very slow and it’ll be real problematic if they arrive at the gate even 10 minutes before the time the gate agent intends to close the terminal-to-jetbridge door. Which is, for most US carriers, now 10 minutes before the flight departure time.

When you add these intervals together, you see that a 30 minute connection is really an “at most zero minutes of slack” connection.

Change that now.

The odds of you making this connection are very small. The odds of your luggage making it as well are zero. The best you can hope for is a high stress situation that results in being allowed on your connecting flight with seconds to spare.

Do yourself a favor and add some time.

And heaven forbid if either person needs to pee.

They did get back to me. Sorry, Ivylad and I had date night last night.

I appreciate all the responses. Delta did confirm 30 min is the least amount of time the FAA gives between connecting flights. He said flight times may change as we get closer, but the connection from SLC to WYS seems to be the only one. There is no direct flight into WYS.

He did give us seats close to the front of the plane, and as we board the flight to SLC I’ll tell the crew we have a bare half hour to make our connection, so maybe they’ll let us off first.

Would it do any good to call SLC airport and find out how close the gate is for the connecting flight to WYS?

Delta is more likely to have that info than the airport. But, gates change. I have flow Detal through SLC to Casper. Beg plane to small plane. The gates went not close. Not too far, but not adjacent by any means