RDU Terminal 2

RDU Terminal 2

Monday, January 12, 2015

Travel Story - A Close Call

Location: San Francisco and Dallas-Fort Worth Airports

I was traveling from San Francisco (SFO) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) on my way home to Raleigh-Durham (RDU).  My original schedule gave me 1 hour and 40 minutes to connect in DFW for my 8:25 flight home.  I had to change terminals at DFW, as shown below, but with 100 minutes between flights there was plenty of time - or so I thought.

Unfortunately it was foggy in San Francisco, so we were delayed in departing.  I received the first update at 11:45 am PST, and it dropped my connection time to 1 hour, so no panic yet.

I started to worry when I received the next one at 12:27 pm PST.  The 8:05 pm CST arrival dropped my connection to 20 minutes, which would be difficult to make.

I received another update 7 minutes later, and my connection time dropped to zero.  I felt that my chances of getting home that night were shot.

That was my last update before boarding.   While in flight I checked the AA.com web site and saw that my departing flight was delayed to 8:35 pm, and that we were scheduled to arrive at 8:20 pm.  15 minutes to make a connection between terminals?  Unlikely, but it turns out that I made it.  Here's how:
  • I had gotten and upgrade, so I was the very first person off the plane when we landed.
  • The flight attendant asked the gate agent to call the departing gate and ask them to wait for me.
  • Both gates were reasonably close to the stations for the DFW "SkyLink" train.  I ran to the station and caught a train almost immediately.
  • Upon arrival I ran to the gate, but the plane had already pushed back.
  • Best of all, the plane came back to the gate!  Maybe they came back because there were 3 of us at the gate, or maybe it was my status on AA.  In either case, that is unprecedented in my experience.

Here is a summary of the updates.
Time of Update
Depart SFO
Arrive DFW
Depart DFW
Original Schedule
1:20 pm PST
6:45 pm CST
8:25 pm CST
100 minutes
11:45 am PST/1:45 pm CST
2:00 pm PST
7:25 pm CST
8:25 pm CST
60 minutes
12:27 pm PST/2:27 pm CST
2:40 pm PST
8:05 pm CST
8:25 pm CST
20 minutes
12:34 pm PST/2:34 pm CST
3:00 pm PST
8:25 pm CST
8:25 pm CST
0 minutes
4:00 pm PST /7:00 pm CST
3:00 pm PST
8:25 pm CST
8:35 pm CST
10 minutes

8:20 pm CST
8:41 pm CST
21 minutes

Note to self: Even when things look grim, don't give up.