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Background:

I was originally booked on WestJet from Boston to Glasgow through Halifax. This week, they informed me the BOS -> YHZ flight is canceled, and are wanting to route me BOS -> YYZ -> YHZ -> GLA, doubling the length of the itinerary.

I've called WestJet and they say they can't come up with anything better, so I'm looking for other alternatives.

One possibility is to book a flight on a separate airline from BOS -> YHZ, then take the original YHZ -> GLA flight (after telling WestJet that's what I'm doing, to avoid being seen as a no-show when I don't get on the plane in BOS; the agent I talked to said this would be possible).

The concern is that I will be traveling with checked bags, and these would be two separate tickets, so I'm assuming I will need to clear customs in YHZ, collect my bags, and then re-check them and go through security again, and I don't know how long that will take. Assuming nothing changes (and my faith in that is...tentative, at best), I will have 1 hour 50 minutes between the flights.

Questions:

  1. Are my assumptions correct? I will need to collect bags, clear customs, re-check the bags, clear security?
  2. How long does that process normally take? The flight from Boston is a small plane, arriving at 9 PM on a Sunday.
  3. How long might that process take in the worst case scenario? (I mean, I suppose the worst case is it takes days because something goes horribly wrong, so I guess I'm really looking for an idea of what's a reasonable upper limit...)
  4. It might be possible to get NEXUS before the trip. How much will that affect things?
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    Your best bet at this point might be to request a full refund from WestJet and book a completely new itinerary that's more convenient. Unfortunately, fares may be higher now than when you booked this in the first place, but you'd have to see what fares are available. – Zach Lipton Aug 25 at 2:53
  • I'd cancel the whole thing if I could find something cheaper, like Aer Lingus or Icelandair, which seems likely. – Michael Hampton Aug 25 at 5:32
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Personally I would not risk it. If all goes well, you may have a chance to make it but it is very risky and if you miss it you carry the full responsibility and may have to buy a brand new ticket on the spot. And you probably have to spend the night in Halifax too.

In addition to the steps you listed, you also have to pass immigration. Immigration, bag retrieval, customs are all notoriously unpredictable. I once had to beg my way through the long line at immigration in Ottawa. At 9pm they only had one booth open and it took forever. Since apparently I was the only one with a connection, the other passengers kindly passed me through.

You also need to do a full check in with WestJet in Halifax and the minimum bag check in time is 60 minutes. That gives you only 50 minutes for deplaning, immigration, bag retrieval, customs and getting to check in. Not impossible but way too risky especially if you fully responsible for the consequences of missing it

  • Thanks, I hadn't considered the minimum bag check time. That definitely moves it from "but, but, maybe it will be ok..." to "absolutely not worth it". – DisgruntledAndNervous Aug 27 at 0:01

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