View Full Version : Atlanta to Bonaire - Go For It?

12-10-2013, 12:52 PM
Overnighted in Atlanta in September to catch the Delta Flight the next day to Bon. Thought that was an expensive pain as well as forcing me to give up a vacation day so I'm now thinking about tempting fate with the 40 minute connection time in April/May. Wife's not going on this trip so if it blows up in my face at least its only me....wondering if anyone has any recent expirience making it from the domestic terminal to the international terminal OK given the short connection time? Thanks in advance.

Bill K
12-10-2013, 01:12 PM
We have flown down to ATL on Saturday AM four times and always made it, but only one had such a short stop. If all goes well, you can do it; Delta knowing you have a short change will also help. If the price is good, go for it! Enjoy.

12-10-2013, 01:19 PM
Thanks for the reply. Would you mind clarifying what you mean when you say "Delta knowing you have a short change will also help." Appreciate it.

12-10-2013, 01:59 PM
I fly thru ATL on Delta almost every week. 40 minutes is thin. Figure 20 or so minutes to get from A/B (probably where you'll come in from IA) to F, depending on the arrival gate, and that doesn't leave much room. Any little hiccup on the tarmac - routine events at ATL, things like no gate agent to drive the ramp, no ground crew to park the plane, wait on a parking space when you arrive, 3-4 planes ahead of you trying to get parked, you land on the southern-most runway, etc. etc. - and you're toast.

And Delta couldn't care less whether you have a short turn.

It's not impossible, and I have done it many times. I just don't risk it going to Bon. Examine your alternatives carefully before committing to the 40 min turn. What is the backup plan for getting there if you miss?

12-10-2013, 02:19 PM
I'm about to fly my 6th Delta flight to Bonaire out of ATL. I also fly 75K+ miles a year on Delta for work, including connections through ATL. I wouldn't risk a 40 minute connection in ATL for a domestic flight that flies once or twice a day, much less a Caribbean flight that only flies once a week.

I have yet to see Delta hold a departing flight due to late arrival of passengers on an incoming connection. You should be aware that Delta starts boarding the 757 aircraft ~45 minutes prior to the departure time. As posted on their website Delta expects passengers to be in the boarding area no later than 15 minutes prior to departure. I've seen the gate closed and passengers turned away (or seats given to standby passengers) 10 to 15 minutes before departure. It's also very likely that the last group of passengers to board won't have room in the overhead bins for larger carry-on luggage. If you're in this group your carry-on will be placed in the baggage hold with the checked luggage and you'll get it on the carousel at BON. Be sure to pack accordingly.

The biggest unknown factors, which you won't be able to determine until day of flight, are: 1) Is your connecting flight into ATL on time? and 2) How far apart are the assigned gates for your incoming and departing flights in ATL? It's very common lately for Delta to refrain from announcing the specific gates until a couple of hours prior to the actual flights.

You might make it. But as you correctly noted above, you're tempting fate and it might blow up in your face. I don't mean to sound all gloom and doom, but that's how things are these days. My personal minimum connecting time at ATL is 60 minutes for domestic and 90 minutes for international. Of course even then there are no guarantees.

Good luck!

12-10-2013, 08:13 PM
We were forced to do this short connection time last year after missing our connecting flight to IAH. My experience went very smoothly & I was very impressed with how quickly we were able to navigate thru ATL. If you do try this connection I hope you have the same experience we did.

12-10-2013, 08:50 PM
Hey there,
It depends where you are flying in from and where your flight from your original destination in Iowa is coming from.
I have had to make the connection from Norfolk Va to Atlanta with only 45 min between and was able to make it,
every minute counts and of course it also depends on how fast you can deplane and how well you know Atlanta airport.
Sometimes we arrive in the same terminal as we take off which is weird, but very convenient, other times, we have to go the distance.
If Delta is willing to take the gamble, then they are the ones responsible to get you on that plane.

12-10-2013, 10:23 PM
As Brad mentioned previously, Delta couldn't care less whether you have a short turn. They're a big global business run by computers that tell their employees what to do. Delta isn't obligated to make sure you're on the plane before it departs ATL for BON. You are. What happens to you after a missed connection depends on why you missed it.

"Minimum Connecting Time" (MCT) is set and regulated by the International Air Transport Association. IATA defines MCT as "the shortest time interval required in order to transfer a passenger and his luggage from one flight to a connecting flight, in a specific location or metropolitan area. MCTs must be observed by all ticketing and reservations outlets all over the world and also are used as input for automated reservations systems."

This means:
1) Airlines are only permitted to sell tickets with connections that meet MCT guidelines for the particular route, and
2) Airlines aren't obligated to accommodate a missed connection if you booked flights on separate tickets with connecting times shorter than published MCT, and
3) Airlines will book you on the next available flight if a missed connection was within MCT guidelines and meets predetermined criteria (e.g. delay due to weather or mechanical problem.)

In the case of the Delta Bonaire flights: 40 minutes is a legal MCT, but Delta is under no obligation to make sure you are on the plane. If your originating flight is delayed due to weather or mechanical problems, and you miss your connection in ATL, you can expect to be booked on the next available Delta flight to Bonaire.

It's great that some of you have successfully made short connections at ATL in the past. You gambled and won, and you might be able to do it again too. But I personally don't like the odds for a 40 minute connection in the world's busiest airport to a once-a-week flight. I wouldn't be willing to bet my vacation on it.

12-10-2013, 11:03 PM
?...I wouldn't be willing to bet my vacation on it.


i do short turns all the time. But I also know that if I miss all I have to do is wait a couple of hours - what the Crown Room is for. No way I'm starting my trip to Bon with that kind of stress.

I'd look into a late-night Friday arrival in atl (if getting off early Friday is a problem) and then cab/shuttle to a hotel. Might not work for your circumstance, and if not then you do the crapshoot and hope for the best.

I did have one flight where we were late and DL met me in the jetway and drove me from C to A.

12-10-2013, 11:43 PM
Hi Sidemount,
We go thru ATL all the time for our trip to Bonaire. Early November was our latest trip and no problems. Only time we had an issue was when they changed gates last minute. So just do the Delta messenger or get text alerts to your phone to be safe:) We go back at the end of January and we arrive late into ATL on Friday night, stay at the Embassy Suites (close to the airport, free shuttle to/from, and not too expensive) just because we leave from New England. Last thing we want is a snow delay, we want to get to Bonaire asap:) Enjoy your trip!!

12-12-2013, 12:41 PM
Thanks for the great input....the thing that concerns me the most is, if I miss the connection, Delta has nothing out of there to Bon until a week later.....so, taking all this posted info into consideration, I reckon I'll keep showing up in Atlanta on Friday night....thanks again....

Philip Gelber
12-12-2013, 04:28 PM
The Marriott Gateway is on the monorail from the airport to the car rental center. Take a flight arriving the night before and it's real easy to get yourself and your dive gear into the Marriott. There are elevators on both ends if you don't chose to take the escalator. The monorail leaves you at the front door to the hotel.

Regrettably, since the delta flight to Bonaire on Saturday morning leaves from the international building you will need to take a cab from the Marriott. The hotel guy will also take you for a donation. It's about a 20 minute cab ride.

You will not be able to check your bags in to Bonaire on Friday night.

Of all the ways to Bonaire over the years, this has proven to be the most stress free. You can get to Atlanta from anywhere in the USA that Friday and count on making the flight Saturday morning nonstop to Bonaire.

You would need to be very lucky, particularly in the winter, to make the flight without staying over. Delta will not wait for you.


12-13-2013, 05:30 AM
I think you are making a wise decision to stay over night.