What is Minimum Connection Time?

Don't get stranded because you didn't know about Minimum Connection TimeUpdated August 26, 2016.

How long do I need to make my next flight?

Every commercial airport in the world has what's known as a minimum connection time (MCT). MCT is the amount of time the airport has determined is the absolute least amount of time an able-bodied person needs to make a connection to a continuing flight.

The time period for MCT is chosen bearing in mind variables like airport layout, security and whether the connection is between combinations of international and domestic flights.

Most online booking engines and airline websites will not offer flights with layovers that break the minimum connection time rule, although there are always exceptions.

When booking a series of one-way flights on your own, however, it is possible to arrange a connection that does not meet this requirement. For domestic flights in the U.S. minimum connection times range from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and for international connections, from 1 to 3 hours. If you miss a flight with a connection that does not meet the MCT, airlines don’t have to, and generally won’t offer assistance such as a free seat on the next flight or pay restitution, monetarily or otherwise. This is particularly true for flights on different airlines, as they aren’t obliged to help you rebook when you miss a connection because of a problem with another provider in the first place.

In other words, if the tickets you put together don’t meet the MCT and you miss your continuing flight, you’re on your own to get to your final destination.

AirTreks keeps minimum connection time in mind when putting together multi-stop itineraries without exception. We also take into account the passengers’ needs. Families traveling with small children, older adults, and travelers with health or mobility concerns may need a longer connection time in some airports, and we’re happy to advise and accommodate them to make their itinerary as easy to navigate as possible.

The only reason AirTreks would offer an itinerary with a connection that breaks the MCT is when there’s no other reasonable option (i.e., no later flight that day or if it increases the total price of the air ticket dramatically).

In this situation we always advise the passenger, informing them on alternatives, and giving them the final choice whether take the flight or not. Some travelers don’t mind the risk (missing their flight) and running from one terminal to the next, carry-on in tow. Others would rather pay a little more, and rest easy with time to spare.


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