You would think after over 6 years in the air I would have this connection thing down. I’ve seen the gradual reduction of direct flight options and am almost forced to take connections no matter where I go. I hate sitting at an airport unnecessarily, but buying tickets with only a 30 minute connection can actually be a really bad decision.
Let’s take this week’s flight from Boston to Greensboro as an example. I purchased a Delta flight through Detroit with a 30 minute connection. Did you know the Detroit Airport is a mile long? And as luck had it I came in at A51 and my connection gate was C32. There is no train to connect the terminals. I never ran so fast in my life. Now the way home was even trickier as my plane out of Greensboro was about the size of my car. So I had to gate side check my carry on. On my way back it was the same distance to run, but I had to wait for my carry on bag for about 15 minutes. Thankfully, my connecting flight was delayed 45 minutes, because I arrived at the gate 5 minutes after departure time.
Lesson learned, know your airport and expect the longest distance possible for connecting gates. Check out http://www.iFly.com for maps, distances between gates, and other helpful facts.