Traveling in itself can be stressful. International travel for the first time is even more so. We hear people speaking of connection flights, layovers, stopovers, and more and it all just becomes so confusing. A first-time traveler has come to the right place. Today we are clarifying everything a traveler needs to know about connecting flights and layovers.
What is a connection flight and layover?
In a sense, both of these terms are quite self-explanatory. A connection flight is when a traveler will board more than 1 flight to reach the final destination. They get off of one flight and connect to another flight to carry on the journey. The layover is the time between these connection flights.
Benefits of a connection flight
Why don’t all flights just go directly to the destination? Well, in most cases they do. Different flights carry different price tags, and the longer the flight, the more it costs. To fly directly to a destination abroad will be an extremely long flight in some cases. Sometimes it is worthwhile to spend a little extra and fly direct, but that is not what this article is about. Breaking up a long haul flight can sometimes save a traveler thousands of dollars. This is where it pays to know about connecting flights and how to get creative about the layovers. If a traveler is journeying to a smaller city or town, the international flight will not go there directly and will land at the country’s international airport. This means that a connection flight is the only option.
How to plan a layover
For first time travelers, we would highly recommend going to a travel agency to help in booking these flights. The shortest time we recommend for a layover is 3-4 hours from when the first flight lands to when the second flight is due to depart. This covers the traveler for slight delays and gives them plenty of time to find the next boarding gate. It is important to note that sometimes the next boarding gate can be very far away or even in another building altogether.
Sometimes a short layover is not possible and a traveler will have to wait up to 15 hours for a connecting flight. It is important to find out if the airport has lounges, storage facilities, and is open 24 hours. Sometimes a traveler can catch a few hours of sleep in a lounge if they are lucky. Smaller airports aren’t open all night and a traveler might find themselves having to check into a hotel or wandering the streets for a while.
Another way for a traveler to make the most of a layover is to rather make it a stopover. They can extend the stay by a day or two and get even more out of a trip by exploring the city they have landed in. This is such a good option with the connection flight is another country altogether. Just make sure to find out about the visa requirements, but most countries will issue a day or weekly pass from the airport.
The flight details will tell the traveler if their luggage will be offloaded or go straight through to the destination. Make sure not to miss the connecting flight. Happy travels.