Travel

How much savings would a long stopover be worth it?

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  • Feb 17th, 2020 11:19 am
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Oct 1, 2004
6146 posts
601 upvotes
Toronto

How much savings would a long stopover be worth it?

Looking at some flights around Christmas YOW-FLL MIA, or MCO for 5, direct flight 3hrs is at least $3500. If we take a 8hr stopover each way in PHL it’s below $2000?

$1500/16 hours = worth it? Pretty much losing out two days of time on travel, since the stopover is in the middle of the day, and we will reach our destination at night.
19 replies
Jr. Member
Nov 26, 2012
193 posts
157 upvotes
Toronto
it depends on how long you are going and why you are going...like if you are going a month...1 day at each end is nbd. For a week vacation, to me, it's not worth the savings. Vacation days are precious.

Since it is winter and Christmas time, you have to not be surprised for the worst; that your flights may get delayed/canceled/rescheduled and you may get a worse route or stuck in Philly for an extra day. I have a sibling in the US, every Christmas, her flights home are messed up....It's apparently just a normal part of flying experience.
Deal Guru
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Dec 20, 2003
11039 posts
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Ottawa
Regarding the pricing, that's pretty standard - direct flights usually have a premium, and you can usually find a savings by taking connections. Airlines know that most people want to travel as quickly as possible, and can charge for it.

The question you ask is the key one we all do - how much is my time worth, and who am I travelling with? If it's just me, I take connections due to the savings and extra miles for re-qualifying for elite status (my best ones so far have been YOW-IAD-IAH-EWR-BOM // BOM-ORD-BOS-EWR-LAX-IAH-IAD-YOW and YOW-YYZ-YHZ-YUL-YYZ-EWR), but I realize I'm more on the outlier. I like flying, and I'm happy to spend time in airport lounge hopping and getting work done.

When I travel with my young kids and wife, it's the fastest and least connections possible - probably not $1500 worth, though. Don't forget about regional airports, like RSW, for options - Naples / Bonita Springs / Fort Myers is great, or it's a two hour drive to Miami. Had a 45-60 minute connection this past Christmas at IAD, which can be nerve racking, but worked out.

As for winter flying, yes, it's risky. I've had 8 mis-connects in the last 12 months, one of which left me in NYC for an extra 2 days. Weather, deicing delays, ATC delays, etc., they can happen any time.
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Oct 27, 2004
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niche54 wrote: it depends on how long you are going and why you are going...like if you are going a month...1 day at each end is nbd. For a week vacation, to me, it's not worth the savings. Vacation days are precious.

Since it is winter and Christmas time, you have to not be surprised for the worst; that your flights may get delayed/canceled/rescheduled and you may get a worse route or stuck in Philly for an extra day. I have a sibling in the US, every Christmas, her flights home are messed up....It's apparently just a normal part of flying experience.
I don't think I've ever agreed more with a single post.

I swear, some people are so hung up on saving every nickle that they end up with a way worse product/experience than they should. As with most everything -- travel in particular -- you get what you pay for.

As for the OP, you would save time and money by driving into the US and flying out of your nearest airport which I believe is in Watertown NY. If there's no flights to FLL/MIA out of Watertown, you could probably try Syracuse, Rochester or Buffalo even. Any of those options are 2-4 hours from Ottawa (better than an 8 hour layover!), and I guarantee Jet Blue or Southwest will be 30-50% less than Air Canada.
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Jan 9, 2011
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Vancouver
greg123 wrote: Looking at some flights around Christmas YOW-FLL MIA, or MCO for 5, direct flight 3hrs is at least $3500. If we take a 8hr stopover each way in PHL it’s below $2000?

$1500/16 hours = worth it? Pretty much losing out two days of time on travel, since the stopover is in the middle of the day, and we will reach our destination at night.
I'd do it. 8 hours in Philly? That's a city that's on my bucket list to visit. With a 30 minute train from the airport to downtown, an 8 hour layover is plenty of time to explore some of the city. And if it saves me $1,500, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
Is it worth it for you? Only you know the answer to that.
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2015
2505 posts
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Mississauga, ON
Personally, there are a lot more weather related issues in PHL that could possibly derail your trip. I would never as the savings aren’t worth it.

With a long layover (8 hours) even if upon arrival in PHL the weather is decent but takes a turn for the worst later in the day do you really want to be stuck there? Remember in weather related incidents airlines have to book you on the first available seat .... if it’s Christmas and the seats aren’t available for 3 days then so be it.

If you want cost saving measures I would look at a charter flight out of Montreal or Toronto or drive to the US. There should be more flights / inventory from those gateways and more flight options. Transat flies to FLL and Sunwing flies to MIA with the majority of the passengers on those flights meeting cruises (hence a big incentive why those flights arrive on time).

If it was summer time sure I would look at that .... and given its winter it’s not like you can have a pleasant day in PHL.
Member
Aug 3, 2017
245 posts
130 upvotes
Your flights will likely change several times and you can probably benefit from the schedule change to remove the long stopover. Because you’ll be on AA metal I assume, you won’t get the non-stop but should be able to get better flights.
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Jul 14, 2006
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8 hour connection during a 3-hour direct flight.... times two?

Hard pass.
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Aug 19, 2010
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Pay the extra $$ for a direct fight if you can afford it. End of story.

The amount of time you lose is just such a waste of time you could be spending on your trip.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 11, 2005
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Mississauga
greg123 wrote: Looking at some flights around Christmas YOW-FLL MIA, or MCO for 5, direct flight 3hrs is at least $3500. If we take a 8hr stopover each way in PHL it’s below $2000?

$1500/16 hours = worth it? Pretty much losing out two days of time on travel, since the stopover is in the middle of the day, and we will reach our destination at night.
In my opinion yes. You could do a lot with $1500.00 when you get there.
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Feb 9, 2003
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Langley
dolfan1980 wrote: Your flights will likely change several times and you can probably benefit from the schedule change to remove the long stopover. Because you’ll be on AA metal I assume, you won’t get the non-stop but should be able to get better flights.
This is true. There's a very, very good chance that they'll change the schedule and you'll end up with a shorter layover. If it stays as-is, then it's like you're making $100/hr to explore philly.
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Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
A couple of things you could do is go take a look at the liberty bell (manufacturer is still in business) and have a Phillie cheese steak sandwich (Pat's and Gino's IIRC).

Not too sure what the schedule for the train is but it might be better to cab/taxi or even rent a car with the time you have. Airport is a little bit south of the city (used to work right by the airport and lived in the city near the main/AmTrak station in the early '90s.)
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Jr. Member
Aug 12, 2014
146 posts
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Toronto, ON
greg123 wrote: Looking at some flights around Christmas YOW-FLL MIA, or MCO for 5, direct flight 3hrs is at least $3500. If we take a 8hr stopover each way in PHL it’s below $2000?

$1500/16 hours = worth it? Pretty much losing out two days of time on travel, since the stopover is in the middle of the day, and we will reach our destination at night.
I would see that as a plus, since you can have a day trip to see another city.
Deal Addict
Jul 26, 2007
1166 posts
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Calgary
anything >6 hours is not worth it for me. Unless the savings is really really significant... like going from $1000 to $300 in fare price but that never happens so...
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Jul 29, 2005
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Have you considered flying out of Montreal?
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