Ploys for planes & tactics for transits

STEPHEN SCOURFIELD gives practical flight strategies to smooth out the journey

It felt, well, a bit crazy.

There I was, leading a group of travellers, on the way to India, with an international transit of just 50 minutes in Singapore.

The plan seemed simple — connect at Changi International Airport, then fly on to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, in South West India. After time there, and in the Backwaters, fly home from Kochi. You can do nice “triangles” like that with Singapore Airlines, not backtracking.

But back to that connection.

Many international airlines book connections of “two hours or more” and most of us are used to that. It can take that long to disembark, go through security checks and get to the new gate, board and depart.

Goodness, many airlines have a “boarding time” of one hour before departure. But we were scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 7.30pm and depart at 8.20pm.

How would that work? I rang Singapore Airlines and they assured me it was plenty of time.

Were I travelling alone, well, I probably wouldn’t have thought about it again. But feeling responsible for others is a different kettle of fish.

I rang again and was assured again.

And then a few days before departure, I repeated the call.

On the day, we arrived in Singapore on time, the new gate was near our arrival gate, and we seemed to almost have too much time on our hands.


… and the point of the story is that good connections can dramatically reduce overall journey times. When considering flights, look carefully at times. Balance out choosing as few connections as possible (or direct flying) and the choice of flights at comfortable times. There have been odd occasions when I’ve chosen a slightly longer overall journey time for the sake of a smoother trip, arriving and departing at more comfortable times.

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