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mina

YVR return flight changed need advice.

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In October, we will be returning from yvr to phx on the 18th.  AA cancelled our direct flight at 8:15 am on a Sunday and have put us on a 5:45 am flight with a 41 minute connection through lax.  So a couple questions,

 

what time do we have to be a YVR on a sunday morning? I am reading that us customs does not open till 4:30 am, but also am reading that we need to be there three hours in advance.  So what do we do, stand in line for 165 mins till customs opens?  Is arriving two hours in advance appropriate for a Sunday morning at YVR?  Does US customs open earlier when there is such an early flight?  

 

Is the 41 min connection time in lax sufficient to get to the gate before boarding starts?   We travel with only carry ons, so do not want to be the last people on the plane. There is another flight that has a 90 min connection, that we could ask to switch to.

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Did you accept the change? I hope not.

 

The first thing I would do is research the options. See if they have a later flight that works better, and take that to them as the alternative you want...not what they assigned you to, which is going to be a significant challenge to make. 

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Aa only has one other reasonable flight and that leaves an hour or so  later connecting through Dallas.  That adds about three more hours of travel time to phx.    The rest of their flights leave too late in the day and would put us home later than we want.   Our alternatives are to change the flight and go home on Saturday night or reserve a new flight through princess on a different airline.  Both of these options would require refaring that will be about $450 more in total.  We have the flexible flights reserved right now through princess that are a great price, so the flights are not ticketed thru aa yet, just showing pending status.

Edited by mina

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I am not familiar with booking through cruise lines, haven't done that in decades. 

 

The current AA flight schedule is not going to be easy. So if you don't have a commitment to that schedule, I would be looking at the other options, even if they are less desirable. Your current itinerary is going to be very stressful.

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Thank you.  Does anyone know what time us customs opens at YVR?  We will modify the connection at lax to make it longer.

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OK then - YVR facts are that CBP does indeed NEVER open until 4:30am, and further they don't even start processing people right away (start of shift meeting). If you show up at 2:15am you will very likely be the very first people in that CBP line, but it's still an awful lot of standing around.

 

On the plus side you have two factors working for you. First, NOBODY wants you to miss that flight so you will get expedited to the head of the queue if there's a lot of folks ahead of you; second - if it were not possible for everyone on flights that early to reliably make it through prescreening in time, the flight would not be prescreened - it would go from one of the other gates rather than Transborder (we do have US-bound flights which are not prescreened, mostly redeyes, every single day as CBP close at 8:30pm). As long as you meet the minimum check-in deadline - usually 60mins before departure for US-bound flights - you WILL make the flight. Unless you almost never fly, I'm sure you've been peeved by the folks being escorted past you to the front of the Security line by airport staff many times - this time, you'll get to be one of the special snowflakes 😉

 

Caveat - if you're one of those unlucky sods who gets selected 'randomly' for secondary inspection, then you're basically hosed. But frankly even if you turned up three hours early that might also be the case - Secondary can involve anything from a few minutes delay to hours of grilling.

 

As to 41mins at LAX - remember that you are treated as a domestic flight if you are prescreened at YVR. Again, if pax and luggage could not be reliably transferred in time the connection would not exist, as the extra cost and hassle of reseating you or getting your bags to you if you make it and they don't is not something any airline wants to do. Personally I avoid LAX like the plague, and if forced to connect there I'd want more time in case there's an issue with the first leg - but it should be statistically likely you will be fine or it would not be offered. Given that you do want to be boarding early enough to have a decent chance of fitting your carry-on and have a 90min connection option, I'd go for that option instead of the 41min connection.

 

A close-to-four-hours Dallas layover is perhaps not ideal - but the odds of you missing THAT connection are minimal and you can plan for your downtime: bring another book or download an extra movie, have a leisurely lunch. So if you're at all nervous about the very-early-via-LAX flight, or would just appreciate an extra hour in bed, take the Dallas flight.

 

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Thank you both. I found another aa flight connecting thru Dallas that leaves at 7 am, with good timing.  so will call princess on Monday to request that return flight instead of the crazy early with a crazy connection time.  Thank you.

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3 hours ago, mina said:

Thank you both. I found another aa flight connecting thru Dallas that leaves at 7 am, with good timing.  so will call princess on Monday to request that return flight instead of the crazy early with a crazy connection time.  Thank you.

7am is perfect - you can even take SkyTrain (first one arrives 5:09am) and have ample time even if you don't have Global Entry/NEXUS, especially since you won't need to check a bag. In fact I'd recommend not showing up until ~5:15am, as that way CBP have time to clear the backlog of all the other folks who are on early flights but haven't done their research so showed up 3 hours early... 😉

 

Really the only time YVR ever needs folks to show up 3 hours ahead is on busy cruise mornings when the hordes start heading straight to the airport - but the earliest any cruise transfer can get there is well after your flight has already left so there's no chance of you getting caught in that mess. Best guess is if you show up at 5:15am you'll be at your gate before 6am, with the queue at Tim Hortons likely the longest one you will face!

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thanks for the advice.   We are staying at the Pan pacific and were not sure if the sky train runs that early on a Sunday.  We both have global entry, so arriving around 5:15 am will put us exactly two hours before the flight and give us a bit of cushion.  

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As fellow folks from Phoenix, just wondering why you are limiting your travels to AA? If you have status with them, understood. Otherwise, Delta (our preferred mainline carrier) has flights that might work, connecting thru SeaTac. What about Alaska Airlines? It might be worth a look to balance "cost" vs "comfort/accomodating schedule."

 

Even though PHX is an AA hub, we avoid them like the plague.

Good luck!

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, DogLover said:

As fellow folks from Phoenix, just wondering why you are limiting your travels to AA? If you have status with them, understood. Otherwise, Delta (our preferred mainline carrier) has flights that might work, connecting thru SeaTac. What about Alaska Airlines? It might be worth a look to balance "cost" vs "comfort/accomodating schedule."

 

Even though PHX is an AA hub, we avoid them like the plague.

Good luck!

 

 

 

We usually use southwest or delta.  However, we booked AA through Princess flexible air cause they were the only ones with direct flights to and from YVR for about 250 per person round trip.   Aa has now cancelled the direct return flight on Sunday and put us on a really bad timing/connection flight.  So In order to keep the great price I have on these flights, I will need princess to contact AA and move us to a different flight for free.  Hence, the questions.  

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4 hours ago, mina said:

We usually use southwest or delta.  However, we booked AA through Princess flexible air cause they were the only ones with direct flights to and from YVR for about 250 per person round trip.   Aa has now cancelled the direct return flight on Sunday and put us on a really bad timing/connection flight.  So In order to keep the great price I have on these flights, I will need princess to contact AA and move us to a different flight for free.  Hence, the questions.  

 

Both Air Canada and Westjet operate non-stop YVR-PHX; in addition to the YVR-PHX on AA (which as  you state is going away)

Have you checked the airlines directly ?

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43 minutes ago, scottbee said:

 

Both Air Canada and Westjet operate non-stop YVR-PHX; in addition to the YVR-PHX on AA (which as  you state is going away)

Have you checked the airlines directly ?

I have a great price thru aa and princess.   The air canada flights are much more expensive direct or thru princess.   I did not see westjet, so will check that out since I can still cancel the aa flights with no penalty up thru August. Ty.

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17 hours ago, mina said:

thanks for the advice.   We are staying at the Pan pacific and were not sure if the sky train runs that early on a Sunday.  We both have global entry, so arriving around 5:15 am will put us exactly two hours before the flight and give us a bit of cushion.  

It's good that you mentioned these specifics! While SkyTrain opens at the same time every day, and since it would be the first train you want the lower frequency on Sundays won't make a difference, you will need to use a different entrance to the station. The regular advice to walk along Howe then Cordova and enter the main station doors does not apply that early - those doors don't open until 5:30am! While it does involve a wee bit of uphill walking from the PP, it's still only ~400 yards/5mins walk to the Hastings/Granville entrance from the PP. There's even an elevator right at sidewalk level if you have a lot of bags.

 

With GE you should be in the Timmies queue even faster - just remember your actual cards, as the Security minions don't scan passports so the only way into the short queue is to display the card itself!

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45 minutes ago, mina said:

I have a great price thru aa and princess.   The air canada flights are much more expensive direct or thru princess.   I did not see westjet, so will check that out since I can still cancel the aa flights with no penalty up thru August. Ty.

 

Lastly, there's also a couple of times / week from the Bellingham airport on Allegiant to IWA/Williams airport in Phoenix, and QuickShuttle do stop there.

 

Without knowing your exact dates, it's hard to pin down what might be the best option for you.  If you're willing to take a flight that isn't a non-stop, there's a bazillion options with changes in pretty much any city on the west coast.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, mina said:

I have a great price thru aa and princess.   The air canada flights are much more expensive direct or thru princess.   I did not see westjet, so will check that out since I can still cancel the aa flights with no penalty up thru August. Ty.

Since Westjet is a Delta partner, you could earn some SkyPesos. You certainly have an awesome fare thru Princess so I can understand wanting to keep it. I was simply throwing out options if the AA arrangements don't work out. Our preference is convenience of schedule over bottom line fare - pay a bit more for a better connection and eliminate stressors (especially at the end of vacation!) To each their own 🙂

 

The Pan Pacific is awesome! We stayed there for 2 nights prior to our cruise in August - enjoy your stay!

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1 hour ago, martincath said:

It's good that you mentioned these specifics! While SkyTrain opens at the same time every day, and since it would be the first train you want the lower frequency on Sundays won't make a difference, you will need to use a different entrance to the station. The regular advice to walk along Howe then Cordova and enter the main station doors does not apply that early - those doors don't open until 5:30am! While it does involve a wee bit of uphill walking from the PP, it's still only ~400 yards/5mins walk to the Hastings/Granville entrance from the PP. There's even an elevator right at sidewalk level if you have a lot of bags.

 

With GE you should be in the Timmies queue even faster - just remember your actual cards, as the Security minions don't scan passports so the only way into the short queue is to display the card itself!

Thanks so much.  We will bring our cards with us.   Good info on the sky train entrance.  We would have went to the main entrance and panicked.

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1 hour ago, scottbee said:

 

Lastly, there's also a couple of times / week from the Bellingham airport on Allegiant to IWA/Williams airport in Phoenix, and QuickShuttle do stop there.

 

Without knowing your exact dates, it's hard to pin down what might be the best option for you.  If you're willing to take a flight that isn't a non-stop, there's a bazillion options with changes in pretty much any city on the west coast.

 

 

 

We leave. Weds. Oct 6 after work and have an  AA non stop that leaves around 5 pm and we are staying at the  pan pacific that night s well, so the direct flight is desirable so we can get in time to have a nice dinner.  I checked westjet and no direct flights on our dates and the cost was a bit more.  At least if AA does not cancel the direct flight on the way there, we will keep these flights.  But I will keep watching for lower fares and other direct flights.  Thank you.

 

dog lover, we are excited to stay at the pan pacific!  Glad to hear you enjoyed it.  

Edited by mina

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On 1/20/2020 at 4:04 AM, mina said:

We usually use southwest or delta.  However, we booked AA through Princess flexible air cause they were the only ones with direct flights to and from YVR for about 250 per person round trip.   Aa has now cancelled the direct return flight on Sunday and put us on a really bad timing/connection flight.  So In order to keep the great price I have on these flights, I will need princess to contact AA and move us to a different flight for free.  Hence, the questions.  

 

Since the flight you were on was cancelled you can also ask Princess/AA to rebook you on the flight by another airline. That should be for free.   Alaska is an AA partner,

 

AA interlines with both AC and WestJet.  That means that AA can issue tickets that include flights from both those airlines.  There preference will be to use AA or Alaska operated flights, however if they can't they will re-route you onto a competing airline. 

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