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Multi-City Flights vs Connecting Flights


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Multi-city flights vs connecting flights.

What is the difference between these two types of flights?

When planning a trip with multiple destinations, travelers have the option of booking either a multi-city flight or a connecting flight. While both options can get you to your destination, the main advantage of a multi-city flight is the opportunity to visit more destinations. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between multi-city flights and connecting flights to help you decide which type of itinerary is right for your next trip.

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

Delta plane flying low over a beach

1. Multi-City Flights vs Connecting Flights

Multi-city flights vs connecting flights.

What is the difference between connecting flights and multi-city flights?

The main difference between multi-city flights and connecting flights is that multi-city flights allow you to visit more than one destination without returning back to the city you departed from, while connecting flights involve a layover in a different city on the way to your final destination.

2. What Makes Multi-City Flights So Great?

One of the advantages of multi-city flights is the ability to travel to several different regions or even continents, as opposed to being restricted to one area.

If you book a multi-city flight itinerary, you have the flexibility to visit multiple destinations instead of just one. Additionally, your flights are protected by the airline as long as you book your journey through them or have the appropriate insurance.

3. Multi-City Flights vs Connecting Flights: Comparison

Multi-city flights vs connecting flights.

We have separate guides on both:

  1. Connecting flights (all-in-one guide)
  2. Multi-city flights

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.

3.1 Basics

Connecting flightsMulti-city flights
Check-inOnce. You get all boarding passes at onceYou check in for every flight leg separately
Baggage check-inOnce for the whole journeyYou recheck your bag for every flight leg separately
Baggage transferYour airline takes care of baggage on connecting flightsYou have to take care of your luggage
Is it safe?Yes. Even if you have connecting flights with different airlinesAirline-protected multi-city flights are safe
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 freeDepends on the situation
Can you return to a different location?No. You have to return to your origin airportYes

3.2 Other Things

Connecting flightsMulti-city flights
Visa for a layover?Mostly noYou may need a visa for multi-city flights
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 connection
Changing airportsVery rarelyChanging airports is more common, especially if you have a flight search engine multi-city flight
Difficult to book?NoNo
PriceMore expensive, but not alwaysMulti-city flights may be cheaper than connecting flights
A beach in Malta
A beach in Malta

4. Multi-City Flights vs Connecting Flights

Now, let’s look at some of these differences closely.

4.1 Check In

In the case of connecting flights, you can check in for all flights at once.

However, with multi-city flights, you will need to check in for each flight separately. This is because multi-city flights will typically have longer layovers, usually at least one day, at the destinations you are visiting. As check-in usually opens 24 hours before departure time, it’s not possible to check in for all flights at once.

4.2 Baggage

On a connecting flight, your baggage is usually checked all the way through to your final destination.

However, on a multi-city flight, your luggage may not be transferred between flights. As a result, you might need to retrieve your baggage at the airport where you switch planes and then check it in again for your next flight.

It is because multi-city flights typically have longer layovers, and bags are not kept in the airport for long layovers (more than 24 hours) or stopovers.

4.3 Missing a Connecting Flight

If you miss your connecting flight due to delay or cancellation of the previous flight, you will be put on a new flight for free. The same stands true to multi-city flights. As long as it’s a multi-city flight booked from an airline.

However, as multi-city flights have longer layovers than connecting flights, the chances of missing a plane are lower.

If you have booked a multi-city flight trough a flight search website, you won’t be as protected – if you miss your connection, you won’t be put on a new flight for free. You will need to book a new flight yourself, and pay for it yourself.

If you want to book a multi-city flights over different airlines (airlines which don’t have an agreement), use Kiwi offers its own insurance – Kiwi Guarantee. This insurance protects you from flight cancellations and delays.

You can purchase Kiwi Guarantee when making a booking.

4.4 Safety

Airline protected flights are safe.

But what about multi-city flights? Are they safe?

It depends on where and how you booked the flight. The safest way to book multi-city flights is to book directly from the airline. Pros — if there will be changes in the itinerary, flight delays or flight cancellations, the airline will book you on a different flight. Cons — it’s not always the cheapest option.

Booking multi-city flights with flight search engines like Skyscanner and Kiwi is the cheapest way, but it might not always be the safest one.

When booking a multi-city flight with flight search engines, keep in mind that this flight will work similar to a self-transfer flight.

If you are booking a flight with Kiwi, we recommend you to pay extra for their insurance, Kiwi Guarantee. This insurance protects passengers from flight cancellations and delays.

4.5 Difficult to Book?

Are multi-city flights more difficult to book than connecting flights? Not necessarily. If you book your multi-city flight from an airline’s website, flight search engine or online travel agent, it’s not difficult.

In this case, to book a multi-city flight, follow the same process as booking a connecting flight. Simply enter your travel dates and destinations to see available flights and prices. Look at the options carefully and choose the one that best meets your needs and budget. Keep in mind layover times, flight duration, and any extra fees. Finally, review and confirm your booking.

Why can’t you just book multiple one-way flights?

While you can book multiple flights and make it an itinerary, multi-city flight booking tools are a way better option. Tools like these are easy to use, they save time and often money.

Often booking multi-city flights is cheaper than booking flights one by one, especially if you are booking flights from full-service airlines.

4.6 Can You Return to a Different Location?

With multi-city flights, you can.

You don’t have to return to your origin airport (as it is with connecting flights).

If you wish, you can travel one way using multi-city flight booking option. For example, you want to spend cold winter months in Southeast Asia, but you don’t want to buy a return ticket yet. You can use multi-city option to book a one-way flight to, let’s say, Bangkok, on your way stopping in Dubai, Istanbul or Doha. 

Have you booked multi-city flights? What was your experience? Which website did you use to book the flights?

Featured photo by Julia Volk from Pexels

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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