If it’s your first time going on a longer trip with a layover, you may wonder how long your layovers should be. Is a 2-hour layover too short? Or will you have plenty of time to yourself? What about a 7-hour layover?
Is my layover too short?
When planning your trip, you have to understand that layovers/stopovers come in a few different flavors.
For domestic layovers, you can plan less time. When we look at the experience of our travelers, 75-90 minutes is enough for a layover at domestic U.S. airports. The smaller number is more suitable for regional airports. Planning for at least 80-90 minutes is preferable for significant hubs such as Dulles Airport or JFK.
Plan a layover of at least 90-120 minutes if traveling internationally. The reason you need more time is that you’re likely to be flying through a hub airport. You sometimes need at least 45 minutes at large airports to go from the terminal you arrive at to the one on your connecting flight. Many airports will also have you go through a security check, which will bite at least 15-20 minutes into your layover.
You must also remember about the considerable distances between terminals if you’re checking in luggage. Plan a layover that’s too short, and you may make your flight, but your luggage won’t.
- For domestic flights, plan for 75-90 minutes for your connections;
- For international flights, plan for at least 90-120 minutes.
Is my layover too long?
When travelers call our travel agents to book flights, they sometimes worry that their layover is too long. Some think a 2-hour layover is too long. For others, a 5-hour connecting flight seems too lengthy.
Like with shorter layovers, this is also an issue about the airport you’ll be connecting at.
If you’re flying through a small regional airport, you probably don’t want to spend more than 2 hours there. But if you’re on an international flight, 3-5 hours might be suitable. It’ll give you enough time to go through all the procedures, such as security checks and changing terminals, and not stress about time. Then, you can enjoy a meal and get some shopping done. Moreover, it gives you some peace of mind, knowing that even if your flight is delayed, you’ll still make your connection. And so will your luggage!
At major airports such as Changi Airport, Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt Airport, or Istanbul International Airport, you’ll be fine with a 7-hour layover. There’s so much to do and explore.
What should I do during my layovers?
On longer layovers, you can choose to rest or explore.
Some airports are so conveniently located that you could have a mini vacation. For example, Zurich Airport and Changi Airport are so close to the city, and getting to the city is easy, so you might even consider looking for an extended layover on purpose!
Your other option is to relax at an airport lounge or book a capsule hotel for a few hours.
Many people enjoy shopping at airports, and some fine dining options are available at the world’s airports, although it will usually cost more.
What factors should I consider when booking a connecting flight?
It’s perfectly normal to want to book the shortest possible trip and aim for a short layover. But remember that not all flights depart on time. A hiccup in the weather or another delayed flight may affect your departure.
This is why we don’t recommend layovers that are 60 minutes and under. It’s best to plan for a layover that’s at least 75 minutes long on domestic flights and 90 minutes internationally.
If you’ve booked your flight on two different tickets with different airlines, you’ll need to collect your luggage and check it in at the connecting city. If you opt for this kind of trip, we strongly suggest booking a layover that’s at least 3 hours long to offer some protection.
How do I protect my trip in case I miss my connection?
Your best bet is to make sure your entire journey is booked on a single ticket. Remember that even if you’re traveling on different airlines, it’s possible to book a single ticket. Carriers that code-share routes or are on the same alliance allow you to book flights on one ticket.
With a trip booked on a single ticket, the airline will rebook you on the next available flight if your first flight is late. If you’re only slightly delayed, you may be greeted by airline staff at your arrival and fast-tracked through security to let you make it to your next flight.
The other issue is making sure your luggage arrives with you. As mentioned, the longer the layover, the more chance your luggage will make it on time. You can also ask your ASAP Tickets travel agent about the Lost Baggage Protection that we offer. Should the unfortunate happen, ASAP Tickets will act on your behalf to get the luggage back and pay you a premium if the luggage does not arrive within 48 hours.
Finally, travel insurance usually covers flight delays and cancellations, but make sure you purchase the insurance at least a week before you travel. Your credit card provider may offer travel insurance if you pay for your trip with the card. Call your bank and ask if it’s included. You can also inquire with your travel agent for insurance because ASAP Tickets provides the full spectrum of travel services.
Mastering the art of layovers is essential for your seamless travel experience. Whether planning a domestic or international journey, you want to prepare for the right layover time. A balance between efficiency and flexibility is key. Longer layovers offer opportunities for exploration, relaxation, and unexpected discoveries.
Remember to opt for a single-ticket itinerary to safeguard your journey or plan for a long layover. Also, explore your travel insurance options. With careful planning and the support of ASAP Tickets, your trusted travel agency, layovers can be an exciting way to travel and save.
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