I bought a ticket from United, includes 3 itineraries:

(a) domestic flight operated by United
(b) international flight operated by United
(c) international flight operated by Lufthansa

The connection between (a) and (b) is very very short (45 minutes at IAD). In case I miss the (b) flight, would United be responsible for all itineraries (both b and c)?

I'm very worried about it, would love to hear that I'm not going to stuck in the middle of my way.

1 Answer 1


Yikes, this is tight.

If this a single ticket starting, United is responsible for getting you to your final destination if you miss a connection without being at fault. So if you miss connection United will rebook you to your final destination but you may end up on a different routing and not on a Lufthansa flight.

Chances are, if you miss it, they will just put you on the same flights the next day, so you need to decide whether that would be an acceptable outcome. They may give you hotel and food vouchers, they may not (depends on a lot of complicated factors and is partially in the discretion of the gate agent).

The flight is within the legal connection time for IAD, so you have an ok chance of making it, if everything goes well. Your bags will be checked through to your final airport. It's basically a domestic connection: you get off your plane, run like heck to the gate for your departure and hope you get there in time to still get on. Since it's an international departure, there may be an extra doc check along the way. There is really no room for error and delays.

The actual chance depends on your exact itinerary: I would check what gates/terminals the flights typically arrive and depart and what the on-time record of the incoming flight is. If you have to ride the train from Terminal A to Terminal C or D, you are unlikely to make this.

  • International connections typically wait for most domestic passengers from the same airline. I have sat dozens of tines in the plane for an hour (in IAD, EWR, etc), waiting for some five people on a delayed connection. The international flight have that extra hour planned in the schedule, so nothing to worry about.
    – Aganju
    Oct 27, 2018 at 18:31
  • Maybe a good idea to try to get a seat close to the exit on the first two flights, to get out quicker. Can make a few minutes difference.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 27, 2018 at 18:34
  • @Aganju: United does NOT do that. I have seen gate agents slamming the door in front of passengers that showed up 30 seconds after gate closing time. Including super long hauls like LA to Melbourne or Singapore. I was lucky in one case: We were about 8 people all on the same delayed inbout standing at the window and frantically waving at the captain who was luckily looking straight at us. The captain radioed in and had the gate re-opened. But that's a lucky exception
    – Hilmar
    Oct 27, 2018 at 18:56
  • Guess it depends on the day and mood of the gate agent. My (positive) experiences are mostly United too. And note: I talked about passenger connecting from other United flights - not passenger coming late to the gate from home or wherever.
    – Aganju
    Oct 27, 2018 at 20:06
  • @Hilmar United does indeed hold flights - just not always. The decision is occasionally made by the gate agents (but only for a few minutes delay), but normally by United Operations who will take man factors into account (such as takeoff slots, weather, and potentially flow-on delays/misconnects). The flights absolutely do NOT have extra time build into the schedule for this (especially not an hour as claimed above)
    – Doc
    Oct 28, 2018 at 6:07

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