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Flight conundrum, non-stop vs connection, with a twist

mister moose

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This is in my wheelhouse, and I don't have a very good answer. I could give you dozens of things not yet mentioned to consider, and on the day of the flight something else could affect the departure. Think of it this way - On March 15th should I ski Snowbird, Big Sky, or Fernie? Sure there's historical averages, but you can get hosed anywhere, anytime, by weather, by equipment, by overbooking, by crew.

Your real variable is weather, and it's impossible to predict how that's going to affect those airlines. Yes those airlines have differences, but the timing and spread of that weather event (Combined with aircraft and crew positioning) will determine the winners and losers. In general a morning flight on an airplane that got in the night before is a good play, but what if the weather is down the tubes the night before, the airplane diverted, and no other flights are scheduled... That's how life is in aviation.

And sure, an airline can rebook you if they cancel, but there may not be any room on any outbound flight for the rest of that day. If you really want to cover your bet, find out the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th options if your first flight fails. Then have the 800 number of those back-up airlines (and flight numbers) on speed dial. The second your first flight cancels, start walking towards the gate of your second airline while the phone is dialing. Oh, you do travel carry-on right?... No? You're hosed again.
 

Edd

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Avoiding a connecting flight is a solid variable you can eliminate. No brainer if the flights are similarly priced.

The weather and the rest you’ve no power to eliminate.


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abc

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Upon further reflection (thanks for all who contribute) I realize I basically have to gamble between

1) lowering the odd of complication (direct flight)
vs
2) lowering the "consequence" of complication (airline having limited substitute flight).

Insurance is a good suggestion, which may accomplish #2 in limiting the consequence if someone does go wrong. Looking into it...
 
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machski

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Look, that flight continues after Vancouver to Hong Kong. Cathay will be trying to do that trip every time as reliably as possible between the end points and the mid stop (Vancouver). I would think it is solid. Also, Cathay is tied to OneWorld (American) so there may be recovery options on that route. If you have any OneWorld status, that would help you with any potential interruptions on Cathay.

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abc

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Look, that flight continues after Vancouver to Hong Kong. Cathay will be trying to do that trip every time as reliably as possible between the end points and the mid stop (Vancouver). I would think it is solid. Also, Cathay is tied to OneWorld (American) so there may be recovery options on that route. If you have any OneWorld status, that would help you with any potential interruptions on Cathay.

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Good point, I hadn’t thought of that.
 

djd66

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Look, that flight continues after Vancouver to Hong Kong. Cathay will be trying to do that trip every time as reliably as possible between the end points and the mid stop (Vancouver). I would think it is solid. Also, Cathay is tied to OneWorld (American) so there may be recovery options on that route. If you have any OneWorld status, that would help you with any potential interruptions on Cathay.

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Completely agree with above. I travel to Asia a ton,... Cathay is an awesome airline - I would take that flight without ANY hesitation.
 

abc

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Thanks for the chorus singing the praises of Cathay Pacific.

For those whom I never met in person, I’m originally from Hong Kong. So the airline is a familiar one. I have no problem flying them.

My initial hesitation was their sparse resource here in North America, in the event of any hiccups. But I’m now convinced they would be extra motivated to get the flight off the ground to get their passengers to Hong Kong. I’m just a hangers on who will also likely benefit from it.

I’ve also looked into the annual travel insurance. I think I’ll get it. That should help in defraying any expense in the event I get delayed. Not just this trip, but it’ll also cover the Tahoe trip in March too. As well as secondary medical coverage (my health insurance covers worldwide)

Again, thanks to all. This is a very helpful thread. I’m glad I asked. I hope others find the information useful too.
 

mister moose

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But I’m now convinced they would be extra motivated to get the flight off the ground to get their passengers to Hong Kong.
This makes absolutely no difference whatsoever in crew, safety, mechanicals or weather. None.
 

abc

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This makes absolutely no difference whatsoever in crew, safety, mechanicals or weather. None.
Sure. But you left out “profit margin” from your list of “whatsoever”!

I’ve seen it in budget airlines where they simply cancel the flight and made their passengers wait for 3 days!

You can believe your way. I’ll make my decision on what my believe.
 

abc

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Flights booked, on Cathay.

(I also have 3 days to back out, instead of just 24hr. Like, if another airline came out with a significantly lower fare tomorrow)
 
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mister moose

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Sure. But you left out “profit margin” from your list of “whatsoever”!

I’ve seen it in budget airlines where they simply cancel the flight and made their passengers wait for 3 days!

You can believe your way. I’ll make my decision on what my believe.

If you mean will a certain carrier make a customer service based decision and keep a scheduled flight going even if the load is insufficient to be profitable? That's not one of the criteria I referred to and yes, you are right in that regard.
 

abc

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That was machski’s point that convinced me. The flight’s final destination is Hong Kong. They have every financial incentive to fly instead of cancel.
 

VTKilarney

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The odds of a complication involving connections is greater than the odds of a complication with the Cathay flight. You made the right call.

The flight involving connections involves worrying about not just the weather in New York City, but the weather at the locations that airplane is coming from before coming to New York City and the weather at your connection airport. It is also risking other reasons for delays at those other airports. A weather delay for a flight coming from Hong Kong and Vancouver is not a huge risk, at least as far as snow is concerned. You need to double that risk when you are taking a connection because you don’t just need one flight to be operating on time, you need two flights to be operating on time. Then you have the problem of transferring your bags from one flight to another, etc.

While Cathay Pacific may not have as many options to accommodate you if there is a problem with your scheduled flight, the odds of a problem with the Cathay Pacific flight are less than half of the odds of a problem when you were take a connecting flight. And, to be frank, if there is bad snow in New York it’s going to be a shit show one way or the other.
 

abc

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Been sweating it out the last couple of days. Damn that coronavirus! The travel embargo in Asia is scary.

The incoming flight have left Hong Kong! :)

My chance of catching the virus has shot up just like the plane too.
 

tumbler

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Sounds like it's time for the surgical mask. Hopefully you can find one in stock...
 

abc

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Sounds like it's time for the surgical mask. Hopefully you can find one in stock...
Can't see myself wearing it for the whole 6 hr flight.

So not super motivated to go hunting for masks. Will just have to trust my own immune system. :)
 
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Skrn

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Good decision that you chose Cathay. When possible, I go out of my way to fly them, they operations are leaps and bounds better than US carriers, better flight products too. The odds that you get delayed because of their own operation is super low comparing to US carriers who frequently mess up. It will be very unlikely your travel will be interupted because of weather at YVR. So weather at JFK is your main concern.

And if delays do happen, they may be able to book you on America or Alaska as they are partners.
 
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