If you've ever wondered what a layover is, then here is everything you need to know, before you fly.
A layover is a stop between flights, also called a connection. While non-stop flights go straight from Point A to Point B, when your flight stops somewhere else en route to your final destination, it’s called a layover.
Do i have to go through customs and security again?
If you fly domestic for example within US, or in Europe within the Schengen countries then no, you do not have to. You most likely will go just from one gate to another.
But if you have flight across continents for example, then yes and you will need more time for that as you often times need to change even the terminal. Some big airports have even trains between terminals - like this we almost missed our flight in Frankfurt.
Do i have to check my luggage in again?
If you bought one ticket from one company, then no. The information is put into the code on your luggage and that gets transferred to another aircraft so you do not need to worry about this. BUT if you bought two separate tickets and you travel with a big luggage, then you will have to. Then you have to count with the time for luggage pick up, check-in counter queue and another security check.
Can I leave the airport during a layover?
Depending on how much time you have between flights and where you want to go. We did this in Amsterdam, where our layover was 5 hours, the train took 20 mins from the airport to the center and so we had almost a 3 hour walk through the city.
So, do your research on traffic, transport AND if any visa requirements are needed in that destination.
What to do during a long or night layover?
Depends on the airport you are at and the length of your layover, but you can try to ask your airline upfront, as sometimes, you might be eligible for a free night in a near by hotel - there are some rules and every airline has it different, but it never hurts to ask. You can also book a stay in an on-airport hotel or try to take a nap in a quiet zone - just make sure you have an alarm clock for your flight and locked and secured belongings. Another thing to do is to take advantage of the airport lounges to eat something and rest, or simply find a bistro, to eat something else than the aircraft food.
What’s the difference between a layover and a stopover?
Layovers can range from 30 minutes to a full day and longer layovers (generally at least a day) are also called stopovers and they’re a great way to see another destination. Several airlines offer stopover programs where travelers can schedule extended layovers in cities (usually an airline’s main hub) en route to their final destination. It could be free museum passes, sightseeing tours and more.
Every airline has a different selection and rules and here are just some of them:
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