I get asked a version of this question frequently. Substitute whichever airport you would like for Casablanca.
There is no hard and fast rule, but I asked my flight experts for some general guidelines to use when planning your flights.
First, a high level answer:
• Domestic transfers – 60 minutes
• International transfers – 2 hours
Below are more nuanced details on how to make sure you have enough transit time and tips for how to eliminate the stress of transiting.
There are minimum transit times required by airports for connecting flights, but know those don’t always reflect the reality of life. We know that when American has a minimum connection time in Dallas of 40 minutes, that’s often not realistic. When searching for a flight you may see one with a 36 minute connection and think that is enough because otherwise it wouldn’t be presented. That is not the case.
The time needed is often dependent on the type of transfer you are doing:
DOMESTIC TO DOMESTIC
It is airport and airline dependent. At a bigger airport it is possible you will arrive in one terminal and be flying out of another. Maybe it’s a walkable (or runnable) distance or maybe you have to get on a tram (ex: Atlanta, Miami). Those logistics make a difference.
INTERNATIONAL TO DOMESTIC
If you are transferring from an international to a domestic flight, depending upon the airport, you may have to pick up your checked bag, which takes time and/or your next flight may be in a different terminal.
However sometimes you are not required to pick up your bag, like on my recent flight into Bogota for a transfer to Cartagena. My bag was checked all of the way through and I was flying business class so I went straight to the immigration line and was near the front. By the time others from my plane arrived to immigration, another flight had also landed and within minutes the line was hundreds of people long.
However, I also had to exit the international terminal and enter the domestic terminal, requiring transiting through security again.
INTERNATIONAL TO INTERNATIONAL
Your bag would typically be checked the whole way through, enabling you to go straight to your gate.
TIPS for how to help eliminate the stress of transiting
Don’t check bags
This is better than checking bags. With a planned or unplanned short connection, there is always a chance you will make it but your bag won’t. Or you waste precious time on an international transfer waiting for your bag.
When possible, don’t check.
First/business class and the row you are seated on the plane
This matters almost all of the time for two main reasons. If you are off the plane first…
- and flying internationally, you are closest to the front of the line for immigration/customs lines. On a big plane this could make a big difference.
- and you are simply transiting from a domestic flight to another domestic flight, you are saving a few precious minutes not waiting for others to exit the plane.
VIP meet and greet, departure service and transit services
These are available in most airports. You will have an on the ground attendant who speaks both English and the local language, and often has access to special lines – diplomatic/VIP (this varies based on airport/country laws), saving you time and stress.
Try to always book a flight that has at least one later flight that day just in case.
Engage a flight expert
Most often when I am flying I engage my flight experts to assist me in planning. I can’t possibly know the nuances of each airport and flight pairing, but they do. They know how every airport works, what recent experiences have been (like the chaos of many European airports in the summer of 2022) and can give you insights into what is realistic. And in the event that your flight is delayed and you miss your connection, they are already troubleshooting or double booking you before your first plane even lands.