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How to Make Self Transfer Safe?


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A self transfer is a DIY connecting flight.

It is not an airline-protected connecting flight. So if something goes wrong, you will have to deal with the consequences yourself. Book a new connecting flight, book yourself into a hotel, pay for meals. But it’s possible to avoid that. It’s possible to make your self-transfer flight safe. And it’s not that difficult.

Read on to learn more about safe self transfers. 

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

People at an airport cafe
People at an airport cafe

What Is a Self-Transfer Flight?

First things first — what is a self-transfer flight?

To put it simply, a self transfer is a DIY connecting flight. You buy two or more separate flights to get to your destination. But since it’s a DIY connection, it’s fully your responsibility. If something happens, if one flight is delayed or cancelled, and you miss next flight, this is your responsibility (not the airline’s).

That’s the biggest risk.

Read more: Self-Transfer Flights

How to Make Self Transfer Safe?

Since all of the connections is your responsibility, you will be wondering how to make your self-transfer flight safe. How to protect yourself against flight delays, cancellations and missed connection? As it’s a self-transfer, in other words — a DIY connecting flight, the airline/airlines won’t provide you with a new flight ticket in case of missed connection. You need to make a good plan and ensure this doesn’t happen.

How to make your self transfer safe?

There are a few things that can help you make it safe.

1. Make Sure You Book a Flight With a Long Connection Time

Booking a self-transfer flight

How much time do you need to leave between flights?

This is the most common question travelers ask when they book self-transfer connecting flights. Well, it depends on the airport, weather and other factors. You can make it even if the connection time is 1 hour, but another time you won’t be so lucky. Don’t forget that not always flights land on time. Also, getting your checked bag might take longer than usual.

How much time do you need? Something like 4 or 5 hours.

So, that’s why we recommend to book a self-transfer flight only if there is at least a few hours between the flights. Something like 4 or 5 hours. So that if your flight is delayed, you have a higher chance of making it in time for your next flight. 45-minute layovers are for “proper connecting flights”.

Even if your flight is on time, and everything goes smoothly, 4 or 5 hours is not such a long layover. You will have some time for a meal and a drink. You might even spend these few hours relaxing at an airport lounge.

It’s always better to be early than late.

2. Travel Light

If you have a self-transfer, we recommend you to travel with a carry on only.

As your self-transfer flight is not an airline-protected connecting flight, your luggage won’t be checked in until your final destination. Instead, you will need to collect and recheck your bag after each flight. This will make things more difficult for you, especially if you have a short connection time. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to travel with a carry on only. You won’t need to worry about your checked baggage and making it in time to your gate for your next flight. The less stuff you have, the less there is to worry about.

Walking to the plane
Walking to the plane

3. Have a Plan B

What if you miss your connection after all?

Is there another way of getting to your destination?

Are there frequent flights? Long-distance buses or trains? How much do the tickets cost? Can you get the tickets only a few hours before departure? By researching plan B you’ll have more peace of mind, as well as a clear plan of action if something does go wrong.

Having a plan B is especially important if the connection time is short. Anything less than 2 hours we would consider a short connection time.

4. Book a Safe Self Transfer

How to book a safe self-transfer flight?

Book a self transfer with Kiwi! Kiwi is one of the best options when it comes to protected self-transfer flights. This is because Kiwi offers its own insurance – Kiwi Guarantee. It protects you from flight cancellations and delays. You can purchase Kiwi Guarantee when making a booking.

If one of your flights is delayed or cancelled, and you miss your next flight, Kiwi Guarantee will give you a free flight.

Kiwi Guarantee is not the only cool thing about Kiwi. Kiwi allows you to book multiple flights with a single click, with a single purchase, and also check in for several flights at once.

Another great feature Kiwi offers, is Kiwi Nomad. It’s a feature that will come in handy for those who are traveling to more than one destination. And also to those who don’t mind to have a couple of stopovers or layovers on the way to their destination. Even though, these are self-transfer flights, Kiwi protection makes them safe.

Read more: Kiwi Nomad Review

For inspiration, check out our Kiwi Nomad itineraries:

5. Buy Good Travel Insurance

Look for travel insurance that covers itinerary changes. 

If your flight gets delayed or cancelled, and you miss your next flight because of that, the insurance will come in handy. It will cover the expenses such as a new flight, hotel room and food.  You will get your money back. Keep all the receipts so you can make an expense claim. 

Travel insurance policies aren’t expensive. It’s best to have a travel insurance and not need it. Rather than the other way around… 

Before buying, make sure your travel insurance covers itinerary changes and medical expenses for injuries and illnesses. So that both your trip and health is covered.

5.1 Kiwi Guarantee vs Travel Insurance

What’s the difference between Kiwi Guarantee and travel insurance?

Do you need to purchase both? Well, you don’t have to, but it’s a good idea to have both travel insurance and Kiwi Guarantee. You see, when you are eligible, Kiwi Guarantee will give you a new flight ticket 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 and injuries abroad. That’s why it’s a good idea to have both — Kiwi Guarantee for safe self-transfer flight and travel insurance for health related issues.

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?

Featured photo by Riccardo

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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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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