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Connecting Flights vs Self-Transfer Flights


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Connecting flights vs self-transfer flights.

To put it simply — these are two types of connecting flights. First are airline-protected, the other are kind of DIY connecting flights. While only the first are “proper connecting flights”, in reality, when self transfer often is the only option, people tend to call self transfer flights connecting flights too.

In both cases, you travel from A to B and you are also stopping somewhere on the way (C), where you change airplanes. 

Connecting flights visual demonstration
Connecting flights

Scroll down to learn more about the differences between the two.

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

Luggage rack on an airport train
Luggage rack on an airport train

Connecting Flights vs Self-Transfer Flights: Comparison

We have separate guide on both:

  1. Connecting flights (all-in-one guide)
  2. Self-transfer flights (only self transfer)

This one here is only a simple comparison of the main aspects. To learn more about both and other things related to connecting flights, check out the above-mentioned guides and our posts on air travel tips and tricks.


Connecting flightsSelf transfer
Check-inOnce. You get all boarding passes at onceYou check in for every flight separately
Baggage check-inOnce for the whole journeyYou recheck baggage for every flight separately
Baggage transferYour airline takes care of baggage on connecting flightsYou recheck baggage for every flight separately
Is it safe?Yes. Even if you have connecting flights with different airlinesSelf transfer can be safe, and they can also be risky
What if you miss a flight?If you miss a connecting flight due to delay of the previous flight, airline takes care of that. They give you a new flight for freeIt’s your problem. You have to buy a new flight yourself

Other Things:

Connecting flightsSelf transfer
Visa for a layover?Mostly noYou may need a visa for connecting flights with self transfer
Short layovers?It’s okay. Even 45-minute layovers are okay — if you miss anything, airline takes care of that. You may also get flight compensationHigh risk of missing a connecting flight
Changing airportsVery rarelyChanging airports is common, time-consuming, pricey (but avoidable)

Anything you want to add? What is your experience with connecting flights and self-transfer flights? Have you been on both?

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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