Connections are built into airline itineraries
Mondays, at 2 p.m., The Washington Post’s travel writers and editors discuss your travel stories, questions, gripes and more at live.washingtonpost.com. Here are some edited excerpts from a recent discussion:
I am booking my first international flight in almost a decade. How much time would you recommend between my return flights connecting at Chicago Midway, given the need to go through customs? Also, would TSA Precheck work on the first leg of my departing flight, which is a domestic layover?
Airlines calculate minimum connect times and factor them into your itinerary. You might want to check out my Navigator column on the topic from a few years ago, which has a lot of useful pointers on how the system works. When you return to the country and go through customs, you’ll have to get screened by the TSA again for your next flight. — Christopher Elliott
Four friends (two from the West Coast and two from the East Coast) and I would like to spend a weekend together in Quebec City. Are there any direct flights? Do you think you think it is worth it or would we waste too much time stuck in transit/customs, as compared with meeting in Chicago or some other central location?
If you mean a nonstop flight (direct flight means you stop at least once but don’t change planes), then no. You will have to connect. Most airlines stop in Toronto from the East Coast and in NYC from the West — though it all depends on the airline and departure city.
Customs isn’t much of an issue but your West Coast friends will need two days for travel — not the best use of time when you only have a weekend. You can reach Chicago much faster on a nonstop flight. — Andrea Sachs
I am considering traveling to Argentina with my boyfriend in October. I have never been to South America and would probably travel only eight or nine days. Is that enough time to see some of the country’s highlights?
Also, do you have any experience with LATAM, Copa or Avianca? I like to fly the flag carrier if possible, but I’m not sure how good South American airlines are. Also, how safe is Argentina? Any and all thoughts on this would be welcomed. Thank you!
I have flown LATAM and love the airline. No joke, the pilots could land on a the wing of a hummingbird if necessary. I have heard good things about Avianca. Some passengers complain about Copa’s service, but you need to take such complaints with a grain of salt.
The new president has been working hard to make the country more attractive to tourists. Argentina recently waived its VAT on hotels and eliminated the visa fee. Safety is still an issue, but the crimes are typical of this region of the world. Street smarts will keep you safe. Stay alert on public transportation, for example, and keep your phone or other valuables out of sight. Express kidnappings have happened, so don’t travel with your debit card. And alert your credit card companies about your upcoming trip, so they can flag any suspicious transactions. Read the State Department’s background on the country, as well as Canada’s. — A.S.
I am joining a river cruise in Amsterdam in late July, but will arrive two days early to see some of the city’s sights on my own. What besides the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum should I not miss during my stay?
I recently did a river cruise that offered a full day and overnight in Amsterdam. Favorites included wandering around Vondelpark, a visit to Stedelijk Museum (if you like contemporary art) and a canal boat cruise.