Q – We are taking only our second trip to Europe, doing a very nice cruise on Azamara. Our air schedule, which our agent handled, gives us an hour and ten minutes to connect at Heathrow for our flight to Copenhagen. But we can;t find out what gate we’re even flying from. This all sounds stressful. Should we be worried? Our agent says it is a “legal connection”.
A – We hate that term – it was invented by some intern ion the basement of an airline accounting department in the 1970’s. It means that the airline has data that shows that you will likely maker your flight. You might – but there are so many variables involved that we’re going to bet against your making it and so should you. Never schedule anything at Heathrow for less than three hours even if you are scheduling lunch with the cast of “Love Actually”. You will have to pass through the British equivalent of our TSA but theirs take tea breaks! Heathrow normally does not announce connecting gates until about 45 minutes prior to scheduled departure – so you rush to get through the inspection lines and then wait for the big board to finally announced your gate. Then you realize you have to hike over to Wales to board your aircraft. Meanwhile, your assumption that your luggage is actually going to re-connect with you at your final destination involves more faith than science. Nothing wrong with that – it works for most of the world’s religions. Even if you make it in an hour and ten minutes, you may be arriving in Copenhagen with one clean set of underwear and little else. But, as we think about it, that could be enough to enjoy Denmark. Whenever anyone in travel talks to you about a “legal connection” jump up on the nearest desk and start screaming “liar, liar, pants on fire.” Never try to do Heathrow on less than three hours.