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Are Self-Transfer Flights Worth It?


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Are self-transfer flights worth it?

Self-transfer flights have become increasingly popular among budget travelers. While they offer an opportunity to save money on airfare, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration before booking such a flight. In this article, we’ll explore whether self-transfer flights are worth it and provide some tips for making the most of your journey.

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

People leaving the aircraft

Are Self-Transfer Flights Worth It?

Is it worth it booking a self transfer? Is self transfer good?

Self transfer flights can be a great way to save money and time, however they come with some risks.

If you are travelling with an unprotected self transfer, you run the risk of missing your connection if there is a delay or cancellation. In cases like this, it is important to plan ahead and allow yourself extra time in case of delays.

Although self transfers can be convenient and cost-effective, it is important that you weigh the risks of missing your connection before booking these types of flights.

1. Price

The price is the main factor when deciding on booking a self transfer. 

Self-transfer flights often are significantly cheaper than connecting flights or direct flights. If you are looking for budget-friendly or flexible travel options, self-transfer flights can be a good choice.

However, there are risks and challenges associated with them that may not be suitable for everyone.

Sometimes, a cheap option may not actually be cheap. If you’re booking a self-transfer flight with low-cost airlines, keep in mind that checked baggage is usually not included in the price. Budget airlines tend to charge high fees for checked baggage and have strict policies for cabin baggage. Free personal items may be allowed, but you may have to pay for a full-size carry-on. Take this into account when booking a self-transfer flight!

When using low-cost airlines for self-transfer, you could potentially arrive at a different airport than the main one in the city, resulting in higher transportation costs to get to your destination. There is also a possibility of having to switch airports during your journey, which can also increase expenses. Considering these costs, it may be more beneficial to purchase a regular connecting flight instead.

The bottom line — not always the cheap option is actually cheap!

2. Flexibility

Self transfers have a number of advantages.

Flexibility is one of the advantages of booking a self transfer.

Self-transfer flights offer more flexibility than direct and connecting flights because they allow you to set your own itinerary. Instead of travelling with a single carrier, you can instead piece together your own route using multiple airlines and airports. This allows for greater freedom in terms of your destination and route options, as well as allowing you to incorporate longer layovers if desired.

3. Opportunity for Sightseeing

Along with flexibility, opportunity of sightseeing is another advantage.

You can make use of a long layover between flights by exploring the city or country where your layover is located. This adds some adventure to your trip.

Keep in mind that you might need a visa for self transfer flights.

4. Lack of Protection

The main risk of self-transfer flights is the lack of protection from the airline.

Unlike connecting flights, which receive protection in case of delays or cancellations, self-transfer flights are not protected. This implies that passengers may have to arrange and pay for a new flight on their own if they miss their connection.

With self-transfer flights, you could easily miss your connection.

Normally, if you miss connection flight, your airline takes care of that.

However, if it’s a self-transfer, most likely it will be considered your responsibility, unless it’s due to the fault of this particular airline that you have missed their flight.

If you’ve missed connecting flight due to delay of the previous flight, with self-transfers, it’s 100% responsibility. If you’re still interested to fly, you have to buy a new flight yourself. A travel insurance covering these kind of flight disruptions may pay for some or all of these expenses, though.

5. Collecting Baggage

Another thing to remember is that baggage won’t be transferred for you.

When taking a self-transfer flight, you need to ensure that your baggage travels with you since it won’t be collected and rechecked like on connecting flights. This means you must handle it yourself. You will need to collect your bag and recheck it after every flight leg.

It’s essential to keep this in mind when booking because collecting and re-checking baggage can be time-consuming. Therefore, make sure you allocate enough time between your flights to do this.

Book a self transfer without luggage to avoid any hassle and delays due to luggage.

6. Additional Time Needed for Check-In

For each flight, you need to do a separate check-in.

After landing at your layover airport, you have to check in again for your next flight. Even if you have checked in online, and if you are traveling with checked luggage, you still need to go to the check-in desk and re-check your bag as it will not be done for you.

7. Additional Time Needed for Passport Control

Since you need to check in for your next flight, and check in your bag, you need to leave the arrivals terminal, and get to the public area of the airport. For that, you have to “get into the country”, i.e., go through passport control, 

Even if you don’t have luggage and have already checked in online, you’ll still need to go through passport control if you’re on a self-transfer flight. This is because you’re technically entering the country, even if it’s just for a short layover. In most countries, passengers are required to clear immigration control to enter the country, even if they do not plan on leaving the airport. 

However, this does not apply to connecting flights.

You may need a visa for your self-transfer!

It’s also wise to research any restrictions and entry requirements of the country you are travelling to. Because you might need a visa for self-transfer flights. Or an electronic travel authorisation like those in the US, South Korea or Australia.

However, it depends on the country you are traveling to, country you’ll have a stopover or layover in, and your passport.

8. Navigating Airports or Even Changing Airports

In addition, self-transfer flights often require travelers to navigate unfamiliar airports and transportation systems, which can be stressful and time-consuming. There’s also the risk of delays or other unforeseen circumstances, such as traffic or weather, that can make it difficult to make your connecting flight.

Some self transfer flights may involve a change of airports. This means that you have to travel from one airport to another. Depending on traffic, public transport availability and distance, this may take you several hours. 

In addition to time spent, it could be quite pricey. It could cost you 20, 50 or even 100 euros (if it’s a taxi) just to travel between airports. Always keep this in mind when booking seemingly cheap self-transfer flights. When you count in transportation costs, in the end it may not as cheap as booking a direct flight, or an airline-protected connecting flight. 

Sofas and chairs at an airport
Sofas and chairs at an airport

You Can Make Your Connection Safe by Booking a Kiwi Self Transfer

To minimize risks of missing your self transfer book a Kiwi self transfer. is a booking service that allows travellers to save money by combining flights from different airlines into a single trip. This type of booking requires travellers to make their own connection between flights, which are usually operated by different airlines that have no agreement. This type of travel can offer great savings, but be sure to make sure you understand all of the risks associated with making your own connection.

By default, self transfer flights booked via aren’t safe.

But if you purchase additional Kiwi insurance, called Kiwi Guarantee, your self transfer will be protected by the company. This insurance protects you from flight cancellations and delays.

Are Self-Transfer Flights Worth It: Bottom Line

So, should you book a self transfer or should you go for a connecting flight?

It ultimately depends on your personal travel preferences and priorities whether or not self-transfer flights are worth considering.

Despite the above mentioned risks, many travelers still find them to be a good option as long as they plan carefully and take necessary precautions.

Be sure to account for additional time needed for check-in, collecting baggage, immigration wait times, and other factors that can affect your overall travel time. It’s also wise to research if you need a visa for your self transfer.

Always double check if there will be enough time between the flights before booking a self transfer. Never book a self transfer with a short layover time!

Do you have questions about booking self-transfer flights, or self-transfer flights in general? Ask in the comments. What is your experience with self transfers?

About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.


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