Whenever I book online, since I live near a small airport and must make connections in either Charlotte, N.C., or Atlanta, the online booking never allows enough time between arrival and connecting flights. How do I correct this when booking online? (It does not give you any options.)
–Sharon, Johnson City, Tenn.
This is one of the biggest gripes I hear when it comes to online booking―the inability to control layover times.
Now technically, airlines are supposed to schedule you to help you make your connections, but there is a big difference between what airlines consider a "legal" connecting time and a realistic, possible connecting time. In theory, if you miss your flight, the airline is responsible for getting you an alternate flight. Of course, some airlines have made the customer service process so onerous that this isn't exactly a great option. And sometimes with tight layovers, what happens is that you make your connection, but your bags don't. That, as I am sure you know, is also not an optimal situation.
So if you'd like to make sure you've got enough time for your connection, there are now a few Web sites where you can control this aspect of your plans. For example, Kayak.com allows you to set a minimum (and maximum) layover duration, between 30 minutes and eight hours. So if you aren't comfortable with less than 90 minutes, you can search only for that type of result.
To get this option, do your desired search first. On the Results screen, look on the left side for the "Layover Duration" option.