Is Your Layover Long Enough?

Are you ready to take the plunge and book a connecting flight? They’re often cheaper than direct flights, but it can be intimidating to commit to a flight that has (potentially) multiple layovers.

Unless you’ve traveled extensively and are confident in navigating airports, it can be hard to know if the time between connections is sufficient. If your layover is too short, you risk missing your next flight—causing all sorts of delays and headaches for your travel plans.

In this article, we’ll explore what’s necessary when it comes to connecting flights. We’ll talk about general guidelines for minimum layover times and the airline policies that will help keep your journey in check. Plus, we’ll also cover some useful tips on how to make your airport layovers as hassle-free as possible.

Is your layover long enough for an international flight?

Before booking a connecting flight, it’s important to consider the length of your layover—especially when flying internationally. Depending on the size of the airport and the time between flights, you may be facing an agonizingly long wait for your next boarding call.

A good rule of thumb is to plan for at least four hours for an international flight connection, or three hours if the connection is domestic. This gives you plenty of time to make it through immigration, customs, and security screenings before you board—not to mention giving yourself some wiggle room in case one of your flights is late.

Of course, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not add a sightseeing stop in between your twice? Just make sure that you still leave enough time in case more people than expected are waiting ahead of you in line—or if something unexpected happens during the course of your travels.

Is your layover long enough to get through the airport?

You may be wondering if your layover is long enough to get you through the airport and to your connecting flight. To get an answer to this, you need to consider a few things:

  • How much time it will take you to de-board the arriving aircraft and go through customs/immigration control
  • Whether or not you must take inter-terminal transportation between two airport terminals
  • How much time it will take for you to check in for your connecting flight and proceed through security checkpoints.

A good rule of thumb is that if your layover is less than forty minutes, it might be too short. For international flights, a layover of at least two hours should be sufficient to transit through an airport. That said, if the airports are crowded or have long queues along security control points, even longer layovers may still not guarantee that you make your connection!

Is your layover long enough to change airports?

If your layover requires you to switch airports, you’ll need to allow more time for your connection. The general rule of thumb for switching airports is that you should have at least three hours for a domestic flight, and 5-6 hours for an international one.

This is because switching airports can take a lot of time depending on the size of the airport and the availability of transportation options. You may need to take a shuttle between terminals or catch a train or another form of transportation. Depending on the airport and transportation options available, it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to over two hours.

There are also other factors that could affect your travel times when changing airports, such as extreme traffic conditions, airport security lines, or even delays in construction. To help ensure your flight connection goes as smoothly as possible and that you make it in time to catch your connecting flight – plan ahead! Give yourself extra time if you’re switching airports when booking flights, so that all potential complications are taken into account before you leave home.

What to Consider When Planning Layovers

If you’re planning a flight with a layover, there are some important things to consider. First off, when you’re choosing your flights, always check the duration of each connection—the length of time between the two flights—and make sure it’s longer than 60 minutes. That way, you’ll have time to drop off your checked luggage and make it through security before boarding your next plane.

When calculating your layover time, there are more things to take into account:

Distance between gates

It’s good to check flight maps and the airport layout to get an idea of how far away your connecting gate is located. Short distances mean shorter layovers, while long distances require more time in-between flights.

Baggage claim

If you’re checking luggage, can it be transferred directly to your connecting flight? Or will you need to pick up the luggage and then drop it off again before boarding? Some airlines don’t provide baggage transfer services (even for connecting flights on the same airline) so make sure you keep that in mind when booking!

Airport size

Small airports usually have fewer services and dining options for travelers waiting for their next flight. You’ll want to give yourself enough time if dealing with larger airports where many different security checkpoints might exist. Generally speaking, plan for a two-hour layover if flying through a large airport like JFK or LAX just in case you get stuck with unexpected lines or delays at any stage of the trip!

Different Types of Connections & Their Layover Time Requirements

When it comes to connecting flights, the length of your layover will depend on the type of connection you’re making. Generally, the longer the connection, the more time you’ll need between flights. Here is a breakdown of the different types of connections and their layover time requirements:

Direct Connection

If you’re making a direct connection—when two flights are connected and operated by the same airline—you don’t need to worry about a layover at all!

Domestic Connection

For domestic connections (changes in flights within one country), most people usually just opt for a quick layover. Most airports will recommend giving yourself at least an hour between your scheduled arrivals and departures, just in case of any delays or cancelations.

International Connection

An international connection is when you’re flying across borders into another country, so it’s important to plan for longer than an hour for this type of flight. Depending on the airports, some may recommend two hours or even more between your arrivals and departures. That being said, if you don’t have to go through customs or security since both airports are in the same country, then an hour may be enough time.

Now that you know different types of connections need different lengths of layovers, it’s time to figure out what’s best for your travel plans!

Understanding the Risks Associated With Tight Connections

If you’re looking to make your flight connection, it’s important to understand the risks associated with tight connections. Although you might be tempted to book the cheapest flight, with the shortest layover time, this could end up costing you more in the long run.

Delayed Departures

Your flights can sometimes be delayed due to issues like maintenance, baggage loading, etc. If your layover is too tight and your incoming flight is late, you may miss your connection. Or worse, if you do manage to make it on the next flight, all of your checked-in luggage might not make the trip.


In the event that you don’t get to board the connecting flight on time, rerouting can be a huge hassle. You’ll have to talk to customer service agents at both airports in order to work out an alternative route and wait for updated boarding passes for every leg of travel. You also have a chance of having higher fees/fares for these flights due to availability and other factors (e.g., the holiday season).

Weather Conditions

Also, bad weather—including strong winds and heavy rains—can cause delays and direct cancelations of flights too. The airport control tower will decide when it’s safe for planes to take off or land during bad weather conditions; that means some flights will inevitably get canceled or delayed for hours on end. If your layover isn’t long enough then you won’t have any room to spare in terms of delays caused by bad weather.

So keep these risks in mind as you plan out your trip: make sure that when connecting flights at least two hours are between each one so that

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What to Do if Your Layover Is Too Short

If your connection time is too short, or if you’ve missed your connection flight altogether, then you’re in for a long wait. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your protracted layover.

Ask Airlines About Alternate Flights

If the airline can’t get you on another flight, see if they might be able to provide any other forms of assistance. Many airlines offer vouchers or free meals on long layovers, and some may even offer accommodations such as a hotel room. It never hurts to ask!

Do Your Research Ahead of Time

Researching ahead of time is key to making the most of your layover. Look up airport maps, figure out where the food options are, and decide what kind of activities you’d like to do before hopping on your next plane. Knowing the airport layout will help you save time when it comes to navigational issues.

Have Some Comfort Items Handy

Pack some comfort items with you for long layovers. Consider bringing items like a neck pillow, noise-canceling headphones, and snacks to keep yourself entertained and make the most out of an unplanned extended stay in an unfamiliar place.

Travel Hacks for Reducing Layover Times

We all know that layovers can be stressful, especially when the connection is tight. But what tips and tricks can you use to make that layover go by smoothly? Here are a few hacks to get you through:

Do your research

You know your itinerary–but have you taken the time to figure out the fastest route? Taking the time to plan ahead can save you time in the long run. Research details like routes, connections, delays, and any other special needs in advance–then you’re well prepared for any situation.

Don’t overpack

If your flight allows it, try to limit yourself to just a carry-on bag. Doing this will allow you to maximize how much time you have during layovers–you don’t need to wait around for baggage claim or collect lost luggage.

Take advantage of airline resources

Most airlines offer programs for passengers with tight connections that provide additional support services at no extra cost. When booking your flight, check what facilities are available—things like a dedicated line for security at connecting airports could be extremely useful in a tight situation.

Give yourself plenty of time

It’s not always possible but aim at least an hour between connecting flights – though depending on international or domestic travel, it could be more or less than that. Having that buffer gives you enough flexibility and peace of mind if something changes during the journey.

Pros & Cons of Shorter vs. Longer Layovers

When it comes to connecting flights, one of the biggest questions travelers have is whether their layover should be longer or shorter. There are pros and cons to both, so let’s break them down.

Pros of Shorter Layovers

Shorter layovers are attractive because they often cost less and don’t require you to hang around the airport for hours. Plus, if there’s a delay on your original flight, you are more likely to make the connecting flight due to a shorter time window between legs.

Pros of Longer Layovers

Long layovers give you time between flights to rest up, get food and entertainment, or even explore the city you’re visiting. Depending on the airline, they usually aren’t much more expensive than shorter options—worth it if you need a few hours’ break from travel!

It’s also helpful to note that if your connecting flight is delayed for any reason, having a longer layover means that your airline has a better chance of getting you on another flight in case yours gets canceled. It also raises your chances of making the connection window for future legs in case of delays with your first leg.

At the end of the day, each traveler must decide whether they want a shorter or longer layover based on what makes sense for their needs.


In the end, when deciding on the best layover length for your connecting flights, it is important to weigh all the factors – the airline, the airport, the time of year, and the potential risks. With a bit of planning, you can ensure that you have a smooth and stress-free journey.

Remember, it’s better to err on the side of caution. If your layover is longer than you need, you’ll have more time in your airport of choice to relax and explore. And with a little bit of research and forward-thinking, you won’t have to worry about missing a connection. So next time you’re planning a trip, think about the practicalities of your layover and make sure you have enough time for your connecting flights.

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Was your flight delayed? You may be eligible for compensation

Has your flight been delayed for more than 3 hours or even canceled? Don't worry, you may be eligible for compensation up to 600€ under the EU Regulation 261/2004.

Check if You're Eligible

We offer "No Win - No Fee" Services, so claiming is Risk-Free!

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