30-minute layover. 45-minute layover. Is it risky?
Here’s a thing about super short layovers. If they are airline-made, airline-protected layovers, mostly it’s very safe. If you miss a connecting flight, this is considered airline’s fault, not your fault. And in some situations, it may also be beneficial for you — as you may get compensation for missed connection.
However, it depends from how you book your flights.
Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.
1. Is a 45-Minute Layover Too Short for International Flights?
What type of flight do you have?
1.1 Airline-Protected Connecting Flights
If these are airline-protected connecting flights, it’s safe.
Mostly you call these kind of flights simply connecting flights.
Yes, you may miss a connecting flight due to delay of previous flight. Yes, you may not reach your destination today. Your baggage may get delayed. All of this is possible. All of this may happen. However, as long as it’s an airline-protected connection, you are safe, because it’s airline’s responsibility to find a solution.
Full-service airlines like KLM, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways sell protected connecting flights. If you have a flight like this, you are protected by airline.
You missed a flight? They must offer you a new flight.
Don’t want to fly anymore? Ask a refund.
1.2 Self-Transfer Flights
With self-transfer flights it’s completely the opposite.
If you booked flights separately, it’s a self-transfer connection. It doesn’t matter if it’s with one airline, or if these are flights with several different airlines.
It’s not safe. It’s highly risky. Especially if it’s an international flight. Unless you’ve booked an insured self transfer, some flight booking websites sell insured self transfer flights. Kiwi.com does it. But even then, you should definitely read the small print (if a 45-minute layover meets the minimum layover time requirements in this particular airport; and what is and what’s not covered).
2. What Happens If You Miss Connection?
Again, what type of flight do you have?
2.1 Airline-Protected Connecting Flights
You contact your airline, and they offer you a solution.
Mostly you will be offered a new flight or refund, sometimes – also assistance at the airport. If a flight is from or to Europe, you may have a right to care from airline, while waiting for a new flight, sometimes – EU / UK flight compensation. Assuming, that it wasn’t due to your fault that you missed a flight.
See our separate guide on compensations to learn more.
If you booked a flight from one airline, but in reality the flight was operated by another airline, contact the airline you made a booking from. They are called the marketing airline in this arrangement. This stands true in all situations with all connecting flights with different airlines.
When it comes to air passenger rights, unless otherwise stated, we talk about air passenger rights in the EU, EEA and UK. When we say Europe or European, we mean EU, EEA or UK. This is done for the simplicity, since the according laws in these countries are about the same.
Read more: Missed Connecting Flight Due to Delay
2.2 Missed Self-Transfer Flight?
You deal with the consequences yourself.
That’s why we say that it’s risky to have a short layover for self transfer. Anything less than 2-3 hours is very risky for an international flight.
3. Short Layovers, How to Make Them Safe?
Because it is possible.
It is possible to have a safe short layover.
3.1 Book Airline-Protected Connecting Flights
This is the most important thing.
Only protected connecting flights are safe. Only in this case and with these type of flights, when something goes wrong, it’s your airline’s responsibility to find a solution, not your’s. There are two most popular ways how you can book connecting flights – directly or via a third-party flight booking website.
For extra safety, buy insurance right after making a booking.
3.2 Choose a Front-Row Seat
Yes, sometimes it might be financially beneficial to miss a connection.
You may get flight compensation or free hotel room, or free stopover.
However, it doesn’t mean that you want to miss a connecting flight. It may also be crucial for you not to miss the connection. And in this case, the best strategy is to prepare for the transfer by sitting as near to the airplane doors as possible.
3.3 Let the Flight Attendants Know About Your Short Layover
Staff on the other flight (your connecting flight) know about you.
They are expecting you. They know that you are arriving shortly before the takeoff and have a short layover. That’s why sometimes there is even a special person waiting for you, right at the airplane doors, to make sure you find the next plane in time. But staff on this flight, first flight, they may not know about this.
So, it’s a good idea to let them know about yourself.
To tell them that you have a short layover.
If you have a seat somewhere at the rear or middle of the airplane, ask if it’s possible to change the seats. If not now, then maybe shortly before the arrival?
3.4 Book Only Insured Self Transfers
Sometimes self transfer is the only option.
If this is the case, book insured self-transfer flights. Kiwi.com offers such an option. They sell flights with so-called Kiwi Guarantee.
Alternatively, buy a travel insurance right after making a booking.
How to Book?
Flight booking websites, or airline websites.
Few examples: skyscanner.net, expedia.com, momondo.com.
Want to be on the safe side? Add insurance right away.
Or book a flight from Kiwi.com (with Kiwi Guarantee).
Read more: How to Book Connecting Flights?
What is your experience with short layovers? Have you any tips to add? Have you ever missed a connecting flight? How was it handled?