Welcome to our comprehensive FAQ on connecting flights!
If you’re looking for information on how to navigate the process of transferring from one flight to another, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you’ll find answers to common questions on topics such as layover time, baggage handling, and missed connections. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time flier, this guide is designed to provide you with the information and tools you need to make your connecting flight experience as seamless and stress-free as possible.
So sit back, relax, and let’s get started!
What Is This Page About? How to Use This FAQ Page?
This is an FAQ and collection of all our best resources, 2-in-1.
On this page, there are only short answers to frequently asked questions about connecting flights, something many of you will be 100% satisfied with. However, in many cases there is more to the topic than a short, 1-2 sentence, or 2-paragraph answer, and then we prepare longer, in-depth answers.
To learn more about the topics, click on the links provided.
Table of Contents
- What Is This Page About? How to Use This FAQ Page?
1. Connecting Flights: Basics
- What Is a Connecting Flight?
- Why Airlines Have Connecting Flights?
- Are Connecting Flights Cheaper Than Direct Flights?
- What is a Boarding Pass?
- How to Get a Boarding Pass?
- How to Get Boarding Passes for Connecting Flights?
- Can You Get a Free Flight if You Miss Connecting Flight?
- What Are Multi-City Flights?
- Are Connecting Flights Always in the Same Terminal?
- Do You Have to Go Through Security on Connecting Flights?
- 2. Layovers and Stopovers
- 3. Self-Transfer Flights
- Make Your Trip Safe From Day 1
- 4. Carry-on Baggage
- 5. Checked Baggage
- 6. Missed Connections
- 7. Other Situations
- 8. UK / EU Flight Compensation Regulation
1. Connecting Flights: Basics
What Is a Connecting Flight?
If there’s more than one flight, these are connecting flights. If you are flying not directly but through some other places, these are connecting flights.
Here’s a visual demonstration:
See our in-depth guide on connecting flights here.
Why Airlines Have Connecting Flights?
Airlines offer connecting flights for a variety of reasons.
Some of those reasons are: to serve more destinations, to increase efficiency, to offer more options, to accommodate longer journeys, and to save costs.
Read more: Why Do Airlines Have Connecting Flights?
Are Connecting Flights Cheaper Than Direct Flights?
The answer is not always straightforward, as it depends on many factors including the type of airline, the route taken, and the time of year. In general, however, connecting flights tend to be cheaper than direct flights.
Read more: Are Connecting Flights Cheaper Than Direct Flights?
What is a Boarding Pass?
A boarding pass (or a boarding card) is a confirmation that you can board a plane. It’s your flight ticket. You must show it to board the airplane. A boarding pass contains information about flight times, gate number, seat number, flight number, and, of course, has passengers name and last name.
Usually you receive it 24 – 48 hours before the flight.
Read more: What is a Boarding Pass?
How to Get a Boarding Pass?
You’ll get your boarding pass after you check in for your flight. Usually check-in happens not earlier than 24-48 hours before the flight.
Many people nowadays do online check in.
How to Get Boarding Passes for Connecting Flights?
There are three most likely scenarios:
- All your flights are operated by one airline. This is the easiest and also the most common option. In this case, mostly all you have to do is to check in online and download boarding passes. Usually check-in starts not earlier than 24-48 hours before the flight.
- Your flights are operated by different airlines. You may need to do airport check in. Try to check in online. If that’s not possible on neither airline’s website, don’t worry about that. Arrive to airport 2-3 hours before the flight, and check in there.
- You have a self-transfer connection. You have to check in for every flight separately. You will also get boarding passes separately.
Read more: Boarding Passes for Connecting Flights
Can You Get a Free Flight if You Miss Connecting Flight?
Yes, you can get a new flight for free, if you miss a connecting flight, and it wasn’t your fault. It works like this with most airlines globally.
It doesn’t apply to self-transfer flights.
Read more: Can You Get a Free Flight if You Miss Connecting Flight?
What Are Multi-City Flights?
Multi-city flights are itineraries, where you have more than one destination. They are like connecting flights. They offer the same benefits (easy to book, one reservation, protected by airline). And at the same time, you are having more than one destination.
In this case, sop or stops in between are called stopovers. Because you are actually stopping in between, not just transiting through.
Read more: What Are Multi-City Flights?
Are Connecting Flights Always in the Same Terminal?
Connecting flights are not always in the same terminal.
Depending on the airport and your airline, you may need to change terminals during your layover in order to catch your connecting flight. Some airports have multiple terminals that are connected by shuttle buses or trains, while others require you to exit one terminal and enter another through a separate security checkpoint.
Read more: Are Connecting Flights Always in the Same Terminal?
Do You Have to Go Through Security on Connecting Flights?
Whether you need to go through security again during a connecting flight depends on the specific details of your itinerary. In some cases, you may be required to go through security again if you are changing terminals or if your connecting flight is departing from a different area of the airport.
However, if your connecting flight is departing from the same terminal and gate as your previous flight, you may not need to go through security again.
Read more: Do You Have to Go Through Security on Connecting Flights?
2. Layovers and Stopovers
What Is a Layover?
Layover is a stop between flights.
Read more: What Is a Layover?
What Is a Stopover?
Stopover is a long layover (usually 24+ hours).
Read more: What Is a Stopover?
Is a 45-Minute Layover Too Short for International Flights?
If these are airline-protected connecting flights, it’s safe.
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.
Read more: 45-Minute Layover? Risky?
Why Book a Long Layover?
There can be benefits to having a long layover during a connecting flight.
Taking a long layover can be an excellent way to break up the monotony of long-haul flights and make the most of your trip. Long layovers offer a number of benefits, such as allowing you to experience a destination in more depth, save money on airfare, and enjoy some sightseeing or shopping.
Read more: Are Long Layovers Worth It: Pros and Cons
3. Self-Transfer Flights
What Is a Self-Transfer Flight?
To put it simply, self-transfer flight is DIY connecting flights. You buy two separate flights to get to your destination. It can also be more than two flights. You yourself are responsible for making it on time between flights.
See our in-depth guide on self-transfer flights here.
Are Self-Transfer Flights Safe?
Self-transfer flights can be safe. More or less.
If you know what you are booking and take the necessary precautions. Having a good travel insurance might be handy in this case.
Read more: Are Self-Transfer Flights Safe?
How to Make Self-Transfer Flights Safe?
Here are a few ideas, how to make self-transfer flights safe: have a long enough connection time, travel with hand luggage only when possible, book protected self-transfer flights whenever possible, and always have a plan B.
Travel insurance covering travel changes is also recommeded.
Read more: How to Make Self-Transfer Flights Safe?
Book protected self-transfer connection with Kiwi.
How Much Time Do You Need Between Self-Transfer Flights?
It’s a good idea to have 4 to 5 hours between self-transfer flights
Because you have to collect and recheck your bag.
Make Your Trip Safe From Day 1
SafetyWing – Insurance for nomads
4. Carry-on Baggage
What Is Carry-on Bag?
Carry-on bag is the baggage you’re carrying with you on the plane. There are specific rules and limitations that apply to carry-on baggage. These rules are different from rules regarding checked baggage.
For example, you aren’t allowed to carry big liquids in a carry-on bag. At the same time, you are allowed to carry power banks ONLY in carry-on bag.
Read more: What Is Carry-on Bag?
Is Carry-On Bag Free?
At least one bag will be free.
But airline baggage policies are constantly changing. For example, many European low-cost airlines (like Ryanair and Wizz Air) now allow only one free personal item. If you want to travel with a regular size carry-on, you will need to book priority boarding which will allow you not only board the plane faster, but also bring 1 regular carry-on bag and 1 personal item.
5. Checked Baggage
What is Checked Baggage?
Checked baggage is the bag you check in with an airline.
You don’t carry it on the plane with yourself.
Read more: What is Checked Baggage?
What Happens With Baggage on Connecting Flights?
On connecting flights protected by airline, your baggage is transferred by airline. On self-transfer flights – you collect and recheck baggage yourself.
Read more: Baggage on Connecting Flights
Delayed Baggage on Connecting Flights
What to do if your baggage hasn’t arrived with you?
As soon as you realise that your baggage hasn’t arrived with you, report it to the airline’s luggage desk or customer service desk at the airport. They will give you a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) number which is used to track your baggage.
Read more: Delayed Baggage on Connecting Flights (Possible Scenarios)
Lost Baggage on Connecting Flights
If your delayed bag is not found within a certain period of time (usually 21 days), then you may be entitled to claim compensation from the airline for lost luggage.
Read more: Lost Baggage on Connecting Flights (Tracking, Your Rights, Compensation)
6. Missed Connections
Can You Get Missed Connecting Flight Compensation?
If you’re traveling to or from Europe and your flight is delayed or cancelled due to an airline’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation under EU regulations (up to 600 euro from the airline). It applies also to missed connections that cause delays at the final destination – if you arrive later than planned, you may be entitled to flight compensation.
Read more: Missed Connecting Flight Compensation in Europe
What to Do if You Miss Your Connecting Flight?
If you miss your connecting flight, the first thing to do is to contact your airline as soon as possible. They can provide you with information on your options for rebooking or finding an alternative route to your destination. The airline will book you on the next available flight to your destination at no additional cost.
Read more: What to Do if You Miss Your Connecting Flight?
Do Airlines Hold Flights for Connecting Passengers?
Are you worried you might miss your connecting flight?
Will a connecting flight wait for you? In most cases, no.
However, if a flight is delayed and there are many passengers who are connecting from this delayed flight onto the same connecting flight, the airline might hold the connecting flight for these passengers. But if there’s only one person, then no.
Read more: Do Airlines Hold Flights for Connecting Passengers?
7. Other Situations
What Does Rerouting Mean in Air Travel?
When an airline changes its planned route for a flight, it is called rerouting. This can happen because of bad weather, problems with the airplane, or even because of politics in the country where the plane was going to land.
It is done to ensure passenger safety.
Read more: What Does Rerouting Mean in Air Travel?
Your Connecting Flight Is Overbooked. What Happens Next?
If a flight is overbooked, the airline may ask for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for instant compensation, such as vouchers or cash. If there are no volunteers, the airline may involuntarily deny boarding to some passengers.
Read more: Your Connecting Flight Is Overbooked. What Happens Next?
8. UK / EU Flight Compensation Regulation
What is UK / EU Flight Compensation Regulation?
The EU Flight Compensation Regulation, also known as EC 261/2004, is a regulation that establishes air passenger rights for flights departing from an airport in the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway or Switzerland. The regulation applies to all flights operated by EU airlines, as well as non-EU airlines departing from an EU airport.
Regulation UK261 is a regulation that establishes air passenger rights for flights departing from and arriving in the United Kingdom (UK). It is similar to the EU Flight Compensation Regulation (EC 261/2004) and provides passengers with similar rights in cases of flight disruption such as cancellations, delays, and overbooking.
Read more: UK / EU Flight Compensation Guide
What is Right to Care (in the EU, UK Law)?
Under the UK / EU Flight Compensation Regulation, air passengers have the right to care in cases of flight disruption such as cancellations, delays or denied boarding due to overbooking. The right to care ensures that passengers are provided with basic amenities and assistance during their wait.
The right to care includes provisions for meals and refreshments, access to communication channels such as phone calls and emails, and accommodation if necessary. The specific requirements for the provision of care depend on the length of delay and distance of the flight.
Read more: Right to Care (EU, UK Law)