I am currently booking a US domestic flight for my trip, and I was wondering about the minimum connection time to not miss my international flight.

My international flight is UA 90 which will be departing from Newark (EWR) and going to Tel Aviv (TLV) at 23:00 (Terminal C). The domestic flight I'm interested in booking is from Austin, TX (AUS) to EWR also on United.

United has multiple flights from Austin the same day, arriving to EWR at 11:32 AM, 1:32 PM, 3:38 PM, and 6:23 PM (UA 324) which should also be arriving at Terminal C.

I already have booked the international flight. I will have one checked bag and I do not have TSA precheck (I am not from the US). I was leaning towards 6:23 PM which will give me 4.5 hours for the connection, but with typical delays and unexpected weather delays it might be not enough.

Which flight should I take to comfortably make the connection?

Thanks everyone for the help, I have rebooked my flight with the whole trip in a single ticket!

  • Is there a reason for not booking the two flights together?
    – jcaron
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 11:13
  • Yes, I have booked the international flight, but I can still refund it. I didn't know I was flying united domesticly. I will check if I can rebook the tickets together now Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 11:42
  • 1
    Glad you were able to get everything rebooked on a single ticket; it should make life a lot easier. Have a good trip!
    – travelgasm
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 4:40

2 Answers 2


If it is an option, it would be wise to have both the Austin (AUS) to Newark (EWR) flight and Newark (EWR) to Tel Aviv (TLV) flight booked on the same itinerary as a single Austin to Tel Aviv journey. If nothing else, this should mean that United will make sure that you get on a subsequent flight at no extra charge if the connection doesn't work out.

Based on personal experience, I once had a United flight from Austin to Newark sit on the runway for at least a couple of hours due to "waiting for the arrival of a late inbound crew" and I missed the international connection in Newark.

It was supposed to be a comfortable layover of 3 to 4 hours or so, but it was not. It was a driven to the gate in a cart honking all the way kind of experience only to discover that the international flight still was on the runway, but it had closed and I was not allowed to board. Because it was booked as a single ticket, though, United put me up for the night in a hotel and then I departed from Newark the subsequent evening (after enjoying an unexpected day wandering around in NYC).

4.5 hours should be enough time if everything goes as intended. However, in the last 30 days, UA 324 out of Austin had its departures delayed 12 times and arrived late 7 times in Newark. Unless I'm missing something, UA 324 also appears to be scheduled to arrive in Newark an hour or so later than you specified in your question, so double check those times.

For UA 324, at least one of those delays certainly would cause you to miss the connecting flight. Others look like you could fall into the same not quite enough time trap I did. On the other hand, in the last 30 days, UA 90 also had its departures delayed 28 times, which might improve your odds a bit if boarding still is allowed.

Hope this helps you calculate your odds. If you cannot book the flights together on the same United ticket itinerary, it would be a good idea to instead book an earlier flight out of Austin.

  • Fortunately, I have booked the international flight today so I can still refund it. You said that I should have the aus -> ewr -> tlv in the same itinerary - does that mean I should book the aus -> tlv flight directly in my multi city search? Or should I split the ewr stop as an additional destination? The first option is more expensive than booking flights separately @travelgasm Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 12:39
  • @DavidBarishev If you can do that without a fee, it would be a good start.
    – travelgasm
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 12:42
  • @DavidBarishev you should book AUS-TLV. If you book multi-city, they usually consider each leg separately (this is mostly for the case when you actually want to stay in the intermediate city, so they may be more flexible if you arrive and depart on the same day, but they have no reason to sell more cheaply. The extra cost is sometimes just because they factor in the cost of possible missed connections. What dates are you travelling on? Is this one way or return?
    – jcaron
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 13:56
  • @DavidBarishev jcaron is correct; you should book a single itinerary from AUS to TLV and select a flight that has a transfer in EWR (if that is what makes the most sense/is most cost effective/most convenient, etc). If you can't rebook your existing ticket, you should double check those times, and shouldn't cut it too close on a self-transfer. It's your call, but I'd rather sit around in an airport too long than have to pay for another flight.
    – travelgasm
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 0:41

When you self-connect (book the flights separately), the issue is that if you do not check-in in time for the second flight (i.e. before the check-in deadline, which is 1 hour for UA at EWR), you're considered a no-show, and the airline is quite likely to cancel your ticket, including any further segments on the same ticket (e.g. a return flight).

In that case, you have to rebook a new flight, at your expense, at last minute prices (often much more expensive), and if you need to spend the night, any hotels, meals, transfers will be for you to pay as well. If the two flights were on a single ticket, all of that would be the airline's responsibility.

When the second flight is a frequent and cheap flight, one can easily take the risk. When it's an unfrequent and more expensive flight, the risk is quite different. It's up to you to decide whether you are willing to take that risk.

If all goes well, 4.5 hours to do this (which is really 3.5 hours from plane to check-in, which is usually the critical path) should be more than enough:

  • You have 3.5 hours to:
    • Deplane
    • Go to baggage claim and claim your bag
    • Go to departures
    • Queue and check-in
  • You then have at least around 30-45 minutes (United is not very precise about this) to:
    • Go through security
    • Get to your gate before boarding ends

Realistically, I would think that if the first flight is on time, even 2 hours should be more than enough.

The issue is what happens if the first flight is delayed or cancelled. With a total of 4.5 hours, you have a buffer of about 2.5 hours. That should cover most small delays, but not the larger ones, and probably not the case of a cancelled flight.

If you can, book the whole itinerary as a single ticket and make that the airline's problem. If the international flight is already booked, check with the airline if it can be changed.

If you cannot, it's up to you to judge whether you can afford the risk incurred. If you're travelling on any kind of peak period (holidays for instance), or during periods where significant disruption can be expected (snow storm in NYC for instance), the risk of significant delays and/or high costs to rebook can be quite high, so factor that in.

  • Given both tickets are with UA, they WILL check the bag all the way through to the final destination. There is no need to collect and re-check the bag at EWR.
    – Doc
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 14:16
  • @Doc Do you have a source/reference for this? This is not the usual behaviour for airlines if the two flights were ticketed separately.
    – jcaron
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 15:01
  • 1
    @jcaron I’ve seen this done in YVR (pre-covid) with AM operating one flight and WS operating a second flight sold separately (distinct PNR). Both airlines codeshare some flight so AM agents had access to the WS system and were able to check things through. Thus UA could do this. Now why someone booked things this way…🫣 Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 4:30

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