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Airport Layover Tips

It’s hard these days to get any flight that’s non-stop to your final destination.  Here’s some connecting flight and airport layover tips that you may be able to use while you’re enroute to your final destination.

Tips for on the plane

While you’re on the plane, make sure to keep an eye on your items in the overhead bin, especially on overnight flights.  While it’s hard to believe, thefts from carry-on’s have been reported on overnight flights.

Once your plane is in flight, set your watch to the time at your next destination.  When traveling across multiple time zones, this way you’ll be “oriented” when the plane lands.

Tips on making connections

If you have stopovers before you reach your final destination, you usually do NOT need to clear local customs, as long as you are not picking up your bags or leaving the terminal. Make sure you pay attention to signs as you disembark your original flight and follow the signs for TRANSIT passengers to the gate of your next flight.  In some cases, you may need to go through another security screening before reaching your gate.

If you’re switching airlines for your next flight, you will more than likely need to check-in with that airline, even if you have your boarding pass.  They will reconfirm your seat assignments, as well as make sure your bags are transferred correctly to your final destination.  They will also recheck your ID.

Tips for stopovers

Stopovers are different than connections.  A stopover is when you’ll be staying at a connection point for an extended period of time (usually a day or more) and leaving the airport. In this case you will need to clear customs at your stopover destination.  You will also, more than likely, need to collect your luggage, unless you’ve made arrangements with your connecting airline.

If your stopover is short and you need to claim your luggage, many larger international airports have on-site luggage storage.  Before you leave, check that airport’s website to see if they offer storage.  Most places will charge between $5-$10 per piece per 24 hour period.  The advantage to storing your luggage for short stopovers, is that you won’t need to haul it with you.

Tips on handling flight cancellations or delays

For flights inside the US or other non-EU countries, policies vary by airline as to compensation or allowances that you can get.  There are no government rules or regulation, so it’s up to each airline.  Before you leave on your trip, you should look at your airlines policies.

For flights within or departing from the EU,  passengers can get relief under EU Regulation (EC) 261/2004. There are three various levels of compensation:

  1. For most delays of two hours or more, you should be offered free meals and refreshments plus two free telephone calls, fax messages or emails
  2. If the delay is five hours or longer, you may opt for reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket and when applicable, a return flight your original point of departure
  3. If you flight does not depart until the next day, you should be offered a hotel room and transportation between the airport and the hotel

This EU regulation applies to all flights leaving from an EU airport or inbound flights from outside the EU to a EU airport.

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