The best flight option is a non-stop flight, however, when flying to or from smaller cities chances are, you’ll have to make a connection. Doing so requires a bit of planning.
First, know the airline and airports minimum connecting time. This is a designated time between two flights that the airline has set and is required to make the transfer at your connection. If your connection is less than the minimum connecting time, you’re almost certain to miss your flight and the airline is not responsible. I always give myself more than the minimum connecting time to allow for delays.
Second, reserve your entire reservation on one or the same ticket. If you make separate reservations, the airline is not responsible and you probably won’t be able to check your bags through to the next flight, especially if you’re on different airlines.
Try to avoid booking the latest flight out for the day, if there are delays you could be stuck in the connecting city.
Know the connecting airport and if it’s known to be a problem with delays, avoid it if possible. For example, in the winter months, I’d avoid connecting at airports in destinations that are prone to snow, in the summer months, I’d avoid airports that are prone to storms and during peak periods like holidays, I’d avoid airports that are busy and known for delays or apply some of my earlier rules like extra connecting time and avoiding the last flight.
Unless absolutely necessary, carry on only, do not check a bag! If you check a bag, give yourself extra time!
Lastly, try to get a seat closer to the front of the plane so you can get off the plane sooner.