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Are Self-Transfer Flights Safe?


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Self-transfer flights can be safe. More or less.

However, unlike with airline-protected connecting flights, there are some extra steps necessary to achieve that. There are things you need to know and do, in order to have a safe airport transfer. One of the easiest options is to book a Kiwi self-transfer connecting flights. Or to buy insurance. More on both below.

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

Landing in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Landing in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

1. What Does Self Transfer Mean for Flights?

To put it simply, self-transfer flights are DIY connecting flights.

It can be with one airline or with several different airlines.

You buy two separate flights to get to your destination. It can also be more than two flights. No matter how many flights you have, it’s a self transfer, and it’s fully your responsibility. If you miss a connecting flight due to delay of previous flight — it’s your responsibility. That’s also the biggest risk with self transfer.

You also check in separately for every flight.

You collect and recheck baggage for every flight.

Sometimes you change of airports between flights.

We have an in-depth guide to self-transfer flights.

Self transfers are more common with low cost airlines like Wizz Air, easyJet and Ryanair. But you can also have a self transfer with full service airlines like Lufthansa or KLM — if you book several flights separately, or if you book one flight with one airline, and another flight with another airline.

2. Are Self-Transfer Flights Safe?

Generally speaking, self transfers aren’t safe.

They are much less safe than airline-protected connecting flights. For example, having a very short, 45-minute layover, is super risky with self transfer. However, it is possible to make self-transfer flights much more safe.

What are these risks? And how ways to avoid them?

2.1 It’s a Self Transfer at Airport

The very fact that it’s a self transfer means it’s more risky.

The fact that it’s you planning a transfer, not airline. The fact that you take care of your baggage at the airport (collecting and rechecking for next flight).

Let’s assume, you are arriving with delay and now are about to miss next flight. No one knows about that. Your airline have no idea why you aren’t boarding the plane. They may think you don’t want to fly anymore. They don’t know that you are only arriving and on what airplane. They don’t know that it might be very helpful to wait just for 5 or 10 extra minutes.

You plan your layovers and stopovers.

You are responsible for missing anything.

2.2 You Are Responsible If You Miss Connecting Flight or Flights

With connecting flights, if you miss next flight, airline gives you a new flight.

With self-transfer flights, no airline gives you a new flight for free.

In both cases, there will be situations when you will have a right to compensation or care from the airline. The main difference is that with connecting flights, there are more situations when you are eligible to flight compensation in the EU / UK.

2.3 You Can Make It Safer

There are three best ways you can do it.

  1. Have a good plan. Don’t risk with too short layovers. Travel light. Have a plan B. This is the easiest thing to do, and it requires no money.
  2. Book a safe self transfer. Kiwi self-transfer is one of the best options. It comes with insurance right away. It gives you extras like an option to check in for several flights at once. You also book several flights with a single purchase. Plus, in some situations, Kiwi Guarantee will give you a free flight if you miss your connection.
  3. Buy travel insurance. What’s the difference between 2 and 3? Do you need both? It’s a good idea to have both. You see, when you are eligible, Kiwi Guarantee will give you a new flight right away. For free. Travel insurance won’t do that. They will pay you afterwards. At the same time, Kiwi Guarantee won’t protect you against anything else, like health problems abroad. That’s why it’s a good idea to have both — safe self-transfer flight and travel insurance.


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Read more: How to Make Self Transfer Safe?

Hong Kong airport layover
Hong Kong airport

3. When to Buy Travel Insurance?

The sooner you do it, the better.

Because this is when it starts working. This is when it starts protecting you against possible flight or itinerary changes. So, book a flight and buy a travel insurance right afterwards. And thank me later.

Flight changes may happen at any time on any day.

They may happen also one day after you have bought a flight. They may also happen literary 5 minutes after you make a booking. You can’t predict that. Airline may reschedule your flight, and it may destroy your travel plans. That’s why it’s important to buy insurance as soon as possible.

Duration of insurance? Duration of your trip.

You don’t need to buy it from today. And it will still protect you against itinerary changes. Already starting from today. This is how travel insurances work, when it comes to flight itinerary changes.

4. Are Self-Transfer Flights Bad?

In short, no, self-transfer flights aren’t bad. You just have to know the rules. And if you know the rules, if you know how self-transfer flights work, you may also have a great travel experience.

In many cases self transfer is the only or the best option.

What’s your experience with airport self transfer? How do you book self-transfer flights? Do you do it directly or with flight booking websites? Do you buy travel insurance?

About the author:

Co-founder and Chief Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Kaspars is a digital nomad and travel blogger who’s been traveling the world extensively since 2013. Since 2017, Kaspars has been writing about the less-known aspects of air travel, things like air passenger rights laws and regulations. He’s really good at simplifying complex concepts and making them easily understandable. Kaspars favorite airlines are Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.


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Connecting Flights Guide

Your go-to guide to air travel rules and regulations. Connecting flights, self transfer, onward tickets and more – we want you to understand air travel better

This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

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