• Is Your Layover Long Enough?

    by  • Planning • 43 Comments

    Planning a trip involves several parts, and unless you’re staying close to home, chances are you will need a flight. I always try to book non-stop flights because they’re easier to deal with. But what if you’re flying somewhere that’s too far away for a non-stop flight? What if the non-stop flights are significantly more expensive? There are many reasons why you might end up with a two or even three leg flight, and while there are no guarantees, it’s important to determine whether your layover is long enough.

    Is your layover long enough for your luggage?

    As always, I would encourage you to travel carry-on only, but if you have to check luggage, this will factor into your layover. The baggage handlers need to unload the entire plane once it lands. Some of that luggage will stay at the airport for those passengers who aren’t traveling on, but for everyone else, their luggage will be redistributed to any number of airplanes. This takes time, more so at a bigger airport.

    If you have a short layover, any little delay in the process could mean your luggage won’t have time to make it from the first plane to the second. It could be hours, or even days, before your luggage catches up to you.

    is your layover long enough

    Is your layover long enough to get through the airport?

    During your layover, you have to be able to get from the gate where your first flight came in to the gate where your second flight leaves. Sometimes this is as simple as walking a little ways down the hall. But other times it could mean a long walk, or even a ride on an airport tram, and switching terminals. In bigger airports, getting from one end to the other could easily take 20 minutes or more, especially if you’re not familiar with the airport. Worse yet, some airports have different security check points for different sections of the airport, which means you might have to go through the security line again.

    Don’t forget to leave yourself time for boarding the second flight. Boarding usually starts anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes before the actual flight time, and the doors close before flight time.

    Is your layover long enough for an international flight?

    In some places, you have to claim your luggage upon arrival even if you’re on a layover in the middle of an international flight. For example, if you are returning from a trip to Australia, and you live in Atlanta, chances are you will fly from Sydney to Los Angeles and then continue on to Atlanta. In the US, you are required to claim your luggage once you get through passport check. Before you can go to your second flight, you have to bring your luggage to another line to be rechecked, and then you go through security again. This can be time consuming.

    Even if your connection is in a country that doesn’t require this, you will still have to go through their passport check or transit line. This will take a lot more time that getting from one gate to another on a domestic layover.

    Is your layover long enough to change airports?

    I highly recommend you avoid this at all costs. Having to change airports during a layover is a lot more stressful and complicated than just switching gates. But in rare cases you might not have a choice. Some cities have two airports, one that’s predominantly for domestic flights and the other for international flights. I’ve also seen flight schedules where your first flight lands in one of New York City’s airports and the second flight takes off from the other.

    If you really can’t book a flight with connection in the same airport, research how long it will take to get from one to the other. Sometimes there are airport shuttles for cases like this, but often you will need to rely on a taxi or public transportation. Give yourself a buffer above what your research tells you. Take into account the time of day you will be switching since rush hour will most likely add to your time. Plus don’t forget you will need an hour or two at the airport ahead of your flight. And if the first flight was international, see the previous section.

    is your layover long enough

    No one wants to get stuck sitting in an airport for hours on a long layover, but the alternative resulting from a layover that’s too short could be much worse. Your checked luggage might not make it to the next plane, or you might not have enough time to get through the airport. International flights have extra steps you need to get through on a layover. The amount of time you need will vary depending on a variety of factors, including your own comfort level. In general, I try to avoid layovers with less than an hour for domestic flights and layovers with less than two hours for international flights. Every time you book a flight with a connection, look at all the details and ask yourself, is the layover long enough?

    Do you have an extra long layover coming up? Wondering if you have time to leave the airport? Learn how to maximize a long layover here!

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    43 Responses to Is Your Layover Long Enough?

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    3. November 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Great post! I work in travel and I’ll tell ya, the airlines are really cutting it close with layovers these days. Just two years ago almost any layover was a least an hour (domestic flights).. Now, I’ll pull up flights and find layovers as short as 25 minutes. This always makes me nervous! One tiny delay and you’ve missed your flight. And because there are fewer flights available, chances of finding another flight out on the same day may prove difficult. You are so right that you need to pay attention to your layover time AND what airport you are flying into. If it’s a busy, large airport you will need time, as you mention above, to get to your next gate.

      • Ali Garland
        November 3, 2013 at 11:37 am

        25 minutes? That’s crazy! Sometimes it takes that long just for the plane to taxi to the gate and for everyone to get off the plane. No thanks. And you’re right, it’s not always easy to get onto another flight if you miss your connection. Thanks Tracy!

    4. November 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      This was very helpful! Thanks, Ali! I always have a huge fear of my luggage getting lost and usually try to avoid checking it in. I realize now that there’s a higher chance of it getting lost when you have difficult connections to make.

      Happy travels :)

      • Ali Garland
        November 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

        Thanks Lauren! I try not to check luggage for many reasons, I just find it easier to bring less and keep it with me. But there are certainly times when it doesn’t work out, and a short layover can be disastrous.

    5. Matthew Cheyne
      November 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      This is a really useful article. Because I have never traveled overseas and all of my air travel has been domestic within Australia between two destinations – that is, only one leg of travel in each direction and usually between Melbourne and Sydney, layovers haven’t been something that I’ve had to factor in yet. Knowing my health isn’t all that flash, I would prefer overnight layovers in a particular city as a means of resting and recuperating. For example if I was to fly from Australia to the United States, I would do a layover in Hawaii, probably for a couple of days the first time round to get used to doing a layover and being in Hawaii as a tourist, and then once I’ve been a tourist in Hawaii the first time round, I would only do a one night layover if I did the same trip in the future. I think that that would be the best way to go as it would reduce jet lag (at least I think it would), and would limit the risk of any DVT issues that I might face.

      What do you think Ali?

      • Ali Garland
        November 3, 2013 at 11:48 am

        Thanks Matthew! You’d really have to look into your flight options if you wanted to stay overnight or a few nights for your layover. Occasionally you can find a flight with a really long layover, but at most it would be one night. If you wanted to fly to Hawaii for a few days before continuing to somewhere else in the US, you might have to book separate tickets which could get quite expensive. BUT there are passes you can use that might help. So for example, if you book roundtrip airfare with Qantas from Melbourne to the US with a return flight several weeks later, then you can add one of these North America passes to fly to other parts of the US, Canada, and lots of other countries in North America. That way you could schedule your layovers a little better in order to give yourself plenty of down time. Check this out for more info: http://www.oneworld.com/flights/single-continent-fares/visit-north-america/

        • Matthew Cheyne
          November 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

          Thank you so much Ali :) I’ll check out that site now. Hopefully I can make a trip to the States while the Australian dollar is still close to parity and pick up some serious bargains while I’m there.

          I’ve always wanted to go to Canada and came very close to applying for a working holiday visa twice but never went ahead and did it. I still want to go someday though when I’m a little better health wise.

    6. November 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Oh, layovers! I usually don’t book anything with under 2 hours, even for domestic, otherwise I start to get tetchy! Dubai is one airport where you do NOT want a short layover – it took 40 minutes just go from where the plane was parked to get to the terminal, and the plane was Emirates, which is Dubai airport’s primary carrier! Depending on what city I go through, I might plan a really long layover just so that I can have a day or so to explore – I could have had a 4 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur on my way to Taipei, but decided on a 16 hour layover instead, so that’ll give me time to meet up with some friends there!

      I’m always worried about my luggage not making it too, so travel with carry-on only for that reason whenever I can.

      • Ali Garland
        November 21, 2013 at 11:05 am

        Thanks Tom! Good to know about Dubai, I’ve never connected there before. I like long layovers too sometimes depending on the city. A 4 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur definitely wouldn’t be long enough to leave the airport, especially since the airport is an hour or so from the city. I once intentionally booked myself a 10 hour layover in London and ran around the city for a few hours. Andy did the same in Hong Kong a couple years ago on a 14 hour layover.

    7. November 21, 2013 at 7:48 am

      Hi Ali,

      It was just great to read your blog and was very helpful.

      Thanks a ton!

      • Ali Garland
        November 21, 2013 at 11:06 am

        Thanks! Glad to help!

    8. Steffi Julian
      May 1, 2014 at 5:37 am

      Does anyone have experience with minimum layover times in MIA / American Airlines between domestic and international flight?

      • Ali Garland
        May 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

        Hi Steffi, the last time I did that was about 5 years ago. What I remember is that switching in MIA from my domestic flight to my international flight wasn’t so bad. As long as your flights are all on the same itinerary, American Airlines will check you in for both legs and give you both boarding passes, so even if you have to change terminals at MIA, it won’t really be any different than a domestic switch. I’d still allow for at least an hour. On the way back from whatever country you’re going to, you might want to leave yourself more time, even two hours. You’ll have to go through US immigration, which can be a pain at that particular airport, then you have to collect any checked luggage you might have, talk to the customs people (which can take a minute or 20 just depending on the line and their mood) and recheck your luggage before you can go through TSA and back into the airport to find your next flight. I’m sure it can be done in an hour, but I don’t think I’d feel comfortable with less than two hours. I hope this helps, feel free to email me with any other questions, and enjoy your trip!

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    10. Brian M
      May 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      I hit post before I was done….oops….

      We are headed to the Caribbean in a few weeks and have to check bags and connect in Charlotte on our way there. (We are fying direct on the way home). Our layover is 90 minutes and my wife has some concerns over our luggage not having enough time to be transferred to the connecting plane. What is your opinion ? Thanks

      • Ali Garland
        May 23, 2014 at 11:50 am

        Hi Brian! 90 minutes should be fine. Obviously I can’t guarantee anything, but I think 90 minutes will be enough time for them to transfer your luggage from one flight to the other. Charlotte does deal with a decent amount of connections but it’s also not a really huge airport. And since you’re starting in the US and connecting in the US, you won’t actually have to re-check your luggage. (When you fly from outside the US to the US and have a connection, you have to collect your luggage at the first US airport and re-check it. It doesn’t take long, but it’s annoying. Your direct flight home will be nicer.)

        Have a great trip, and let me know if you have any other questions!

    11. Louise
      May 26, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Hi there,
      I’m flying from Boston to Shannon, Ireland, and then from Shannon on to England. I have a 45 minute layover in Shannon, and I’m worried that it won’t be enough time. From what I’ve heard, shannon is a fairly small airport, but I’m just thinking that with all the luggage on an international flight that even if I make it, my bag might not. I’m flying Aer Lingus. Any thoughts?

      • Ali Garland
        May 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

        Hi Louise! Shannon does look like a small airport, here’s a map of the layout: http://www.shannonairport.ie/gns/Passengers/Relax/arport-maps/terminal-map.aspx. 45 minutes does sound short, but if the airline booked you that way (you’re on one itinerary, not two separate ones) then it’s their responsibility to make sure you make the next flight or get you on a later one if your first flight is delayed. Same for your luggage. To be on the safe side, you should pack anything you wouldn’t want to lose plus a change of clothes, toothbrush, stuff like that, in your carry-on bag. That way if your luggage is delayed, you’ll have some things to get you started. Check out my post on what to pack in your carry-on: http://travel-made-simple.com/what-to-pack-in-your-carry-on-bag/ Another thing you can try is when you’re checking in for the first flight in Boston, ask the person at the counter if they have any way of specially tagging your luggage to get pulled out early to make the connection. They might not be able to do anything, but it’s worth asking.

    12. Mariah
      July 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      I have a 45 minute layover at Chicago O’Hair… I’ve never been there, or had a layover before. Is that enough time?

      • Ali Garland
        July 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

        Hi Mariah! O’Hare is a pretty big airport, so 45 minutes might be cutting it close. If you’re staying with the same airline and both flights are domestic, your chances are higher that you will make it. Unfortunately it depends on a lot of factors, like time of day and how busy they are. If you’re checking luggage, ask the person at the check-in counter if there’s anything they can do to tag your luggage to get pulled off the first plane early so it has a better chance of making it to the second flight. As for you, if possible, try to get a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible and preferably an aisle seat. Have all your carry-on stuff put back in your bags and ready to go as soon as the plane lands, and go for it as soon as you can get out of your seat. You might get to your second flight with no problems at all, especially if the gate is nearby, but unfortunately it could go the other way. If you miss your connection because your first flight is delayed, they should reschedule you on a later second flight.

        Good luck and happy travels!

    13. Daniel
      July 9, 2014 at 11:10 am

      Hi Ali ,
      Well unfortunately I bought my plane ticket before coming across this and now I am very nervous . Of course I thought woohoo short layover great . I got plane tickets to visit my aunt in Morelia , Mexico . This flight goes from Las Vegas to Dfw to Morelia . With the lay over of 50 minuets . Both flights are on American Airlines . I’ve never flown a flight with a layover so really don’t know what I’ve got myself into :( . Will I have to go through immigration here and in Dallas ? Will I need to recheck my luggage in Dallas ? Do I have to arrive at Las Vegas international the 2 hours before like on other international flights ?

      • Ali Garland
        July 9, 2014 at 7:29 pm

        Hi Daniel! A 50 minute layover is short, but hopefully it won’t be too short. Assuming you booked both flights as one itinerary, American Airlines seems to think you can make the switch, so I will keep my fingers crossed for you! Here’s a link to maps of the terminals at DFW: http://www.dfwairport.com/terminals/ and a link with info about transferring between gates with their skylink inside of security: http://www.dfwairport.com/connect/index.php Unfortunately there’s no way to know ahead of time where your first flight lands and where the second flight leaves from, but it might help you feel a little more oriented to see the maps ahead of time.

        When you’re leaving the US to go to Mexico, there really isn’t any sort of immigration to deal with. The person at the check-in counter will check your passport, but other than that it’s just like flying domestic. That will happen in Vegas, and they’ll print your boarding passes for both flights. (If you’re not checking luggage and you check in online and print your tickets at home, you should still be able to skip the check-in counter, but once you get to the gate, the gate agent will want to see your passport, most likely before the boarding process even begins.)

        Once you’re in DFW, all you have to do is find your next gate. Your luggage will be tagged to go from Vegas to DFW to Morelia, so you don’t have to pick it up.

        However, coming home is a little different. When you check in at the airport in Morelia, they should still print both of your boarding passes. I’ve never flown through Mexico, but I imagine it’s like every single other country except the US in that you have to go through a separate passport check line before you get to security and eventually your gate.

        When you land in DFW, you WILL have to go through US immigration and passport check lines. You’ll also have to pick up your luggage and re-check it. Re-checking varies a bit from airport to airport, and I’m sorry I don’t know exactly what it’s like at DFW because I’ve only flown through there on domestic flights. But usually the re-checking is as simple as putting it onto a conveyor belt while you’re still in the immigration area, so it really doesn’t take long. After that, you’ll have to go through security again. Again, in most airports there is a special checkpoint right there in the immigration area. (I looked around on the DFW website to see if they had any info on their set-up but I couldn’t find anything.)

        Technically your first flight is domestic. But a lot of airports/airlines are now recommending that people show up 2 hours ahead even for domestic flights in case there are long lines at TSA or check-in. I’ve had times flying out of Vegas where the line at TSA took me 45 minutes to get through, so better to be early and breeze through than to arrive later and get stuck in a long line and miss your flight.

        Try not to worry. If you miss your connection, especially if it’s because the first flight was delayed, American Airlines will hopefully be able to help you get on another flight. And enjoy your trip! If you have any other questions, feel free to email me!

    14. Nilanjana Laha
      July 26, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Ali,

      I am glad I came across your article. I will go to Seattle from India with my parents. The plane I was thinking of booking ( Cathay Pacific) has 1hr 40 mins layover time in LAX. Is it sufficient ? We will have 4/5 check-in bags in total. The other planes are costlier.

      Previously I planned to go to San Francisco first ( This plane has only one stop, in Hong Kong ) and stay in a friend’s house for 2 nights. Then I would board South West Airlines’ flight to Seattle.

      On the other hand, if I go for a direct flight to Seattle, all planes have 2 stops. Also, except for the ones with 1 hr 40 mins layover time in LAX, all planes have total journey time of 30 hours or more. Can you please suggest me which way should I opt for? Its our first international tour and my parents have some health problems too.

      • Ali Garland
        July 26, 2014 at 9:24 pm

        Hi Nilanjana! That’s a tough call. 1 hour 40 minutes isn’t horrible, but it might be cutting it a little close. Once you land in LAX, you’ll have to go through passport check, pick up your checked luggage, and then talk to the customs people before re-checking your bags and going to find your next gate. LAX is a popular entry point for flights from Asia and Australia, so sometimes the lines can be long. But ultimately I think it comes down to the fact that your parents have some health problems. I don’t know what the problems are, but I can imagine fewer layovers might be best. You can probably get the airport to transfer your parents to the next gate, which would actually save a lot of time. You could even try calling the airline ahead of time and talking to them about what you need to do to get assistance with the transfer for your parents. Your plan to stop in San Francisco for a couple nights sounds good too. It would be just the one layover in Hong Kong, and the stop in San Francisco would give you all a chance to rest a little before continuing on to Seattle.

        I wish it was easier for me to tell you “choose this one!” but your situation sounds a little complicated. I think you have to go with whatever option is going to be easiest on your parents, given their health problems, even if that means spending a little extra money. Long international flights are exhausting, and in my experience, it’s best to have as few layovers as possible.

        Side note: make sure you know the address of where you’re staying in the US to put on the immigration form they give you on the plane. Even if you do the San Francisco option and you’re only staying at your friend’s place for a couple days, have that address handy to put on the form. The last time I flew into the US (through LAX), I didn’t know my friend’s address, so I just wrote the city and state, and the passport check person got really mad at me. She made me get out of line and dig through my bags to find the address. And I’m a US citizen, so it’s not like I even needed permission to be there.

        Anyway, I’m sorry I couldn’t give you a definite answer, but I hope this helps a little. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me! And have a great trip to Seattle, wonderful city!

    15. Brittni Allen
      August 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Ali,

      Thank you for the article! It was very informative, but I do have a specific question…

      I am booking a flight from SFO to BNA and have a lay over in DFW. My lay over is only 45 minutes, my flight is through American Airlines.

      Do you think this is enough time to catch my next flight? Also, another factor to consider is I will be landing in DFW at 9pm.

      Thanks!

      • Ali Garland
        August 5, 2014 at 9:28 pm

        Hi Brittni! 45 minutes is pretty tight. If you haven’t already booked it, you might feel more comfortable with a longer option, if available. If you’ve already booked or there just isn’t a good alternative, I think the best you can do is try to get an aisle seat as close to the front of the plane as possible, and have all your stuff ready to grab and go as soon as the first flight lands. Pack anything essential in your carry-on, though if you’re able to avoid checking luggage altogether, you won’t have to worry about your luggage making the switch. Flying domestic for both flights helps though since you won’t have to worry about the passport check lines or anything like that.

        Later in the day is when there are more chances for delayed flights. If a flight gets delayed earlier in the day, there’s a domino effect. That could work against you if it means your first flight is delayed, but it could work in your favor if the second flight is delayed.

        Check out my reply to Daniel a few comments up. I put some links in there for the DFW airport that might be helpful.

        You could end up with no problems at all and a really easy gate switch. Unfortunately there’s no way to predict it. I wish I could give you a more definite answer! Let me know if I can help with anything else, and have a great trip!

    16. colinrenee
      August 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Dear Ali,

      Feeling bad trouble you with my question but I’m just so stuck!

      I’m planning to fly from Tampa to Singapore with Delta and the flight route is Tampa – Atlanta (1hr 26m layover) – Narita – Singapore.

      Is the 1hr 26m layover safe enough? I assume that since I’m flying Delta for all sectors, I will be able to check thru my lugguage from Tampa (so no need to wait for luggage).

      Will I have to go through Immigrations/Customs again at Atlanta?

      Would love to take this route instead of going Tampa – LAX (4hr layover), thank you in advance!

      • Ali Garland
        August 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm

        No problem at all, I’m here to help!

        I think an hour 26 minutes in Atlanta should be ok, especially on your way TO Singapore. The US doesn’t really do immigration when you’re leaving the country. The person at the check-in counter in Tampa will check your passport and print your tickets for all flights, and other than showing your passport, you won’t notice anything different from a domestic flight. Assuming you’ve booked the whole thing on one itinerary (as opposed to piecing together the flights) your luggage will get checked from Tampa all the way to Singapore. I had to go through a security screening in Narita on a layover once, but it wasn’t a big deal, so I think you’ll be fine there too.

        On your way home, assuming you have the exact same flights and Atlanta is your first stop in the US, you WILL have to go through immigration, so that will take a little longer. You have to go through the passport line, and then collect your checked luggage and talk to the immigration person, which shouldn’t take too long depending on the lines. Then there’s a conveyor belt to re-check your bags for the Atlanta – Tampa flight. Then you go through a security check and get sent back into the main area of the airport, though I don’t remember which terminal you end up in. An hour and 26 minute layover on this part might be a bit tight, but it really varies by time of day and day of the week. I’ve gotten through immigration and customs in Atlanta very quickly, but there have also been times when it took an eternity.

        I think you’ll be ok here, but I can’t guarantee anything. Let me know if I can help with anything else, and enjoy your trip to Singapore!

    17. colinrenee
      August 9, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you Ali!

      Really good information – will go book my Delta flight now!

      • Ali Garland
        August 9, 2014 at 9:23 pm

        You’re welcome! Have a great trip!

        • colinrenee
          August 10, 2014 at 12:04 am

          Dear Ali,

          Unbelievable! in between me asking you for advice and going back to book – Delta has somehow amended the flight time of the Atlanta – Narita leg.

          So now the layover is 1hr 10mins!

          Am I safe to assume that layover over 45 minutes in Atlanta should be safe?

    18. colinrenee
      August 10, 2014 at 12:51 am

      Dear Ali,

      The horrors! Between me posting my enquiry and getting your reply – Delta has moved up the Atlanta-Narita flight such that my layover from Tampa is now 1hr 10mins!

      Is it save to say that a straight thru layover above 45 minutes will be safe?

      I’ve googled and it seems the flight gets into T zone of Atlanta and the flight to Narita will be from zone F.
      (one end of the airport to the other!)
      Have read that the shuttle connector from end to end is about 15 minutes – any idea how often this shuttle runs? Like departures every 5 mins?

      Thanks dear!

      • Ali Garland
        August 10, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        SO sorry they’ve changed the flight! I don’t think 15 minutes will make that much difference. The shuttle train thing in the Atlanta airport runs fairly often. At least every 5 minutes, maybe even every 2 minutes. I don’t think it even takes 15 minutes to get from the T-gates to F terminal, but maybe. When you get off your flight from Tampa, just look for signs to the other terminals and don’t leave the secured area. A 45 minute layover might be pushing it, but an hour 10 minutes should be fine. I hope this helps and good luck!

    19. Maggi
      August 11, 2014 at 4:12 am

      Help!! I am just now realizing that we only have 1 hour between flights.

      American Airlines – Depart St. Louis and arrive in Miami at 10:00 a.m. And next flight is Departing 11:00 a.m. To Curacao. We really can’t squeeze
      All our stuff into carry ons, so I am also concerned our luggage will never have enough time to transfer.

      Is Miami airport very big?

      AA Flight Attendants ever willing to get you off the airplane first if you tell them your next flight is 1 hour?

      We depart St. Louis at 6 a.m. – and then with no time between flights to get food, so won’t be in Curacao until 2:00 and have children traveling with us, does AA serve meals on flights?

      Thank You
      Maggi

      • Ali Garland
        August 11, 2014 at 10:25 am

        Hi Maggi! On your way to Curacao, it isn’t really any different than flying domestic. An hour might be tight, but you should be able to make it. You won’t have any immigration lines to deal with leaving the US. When you check into your flights in St. Louis, ask the person at the check-in counter if there’s any way they can change your seats to somewhere towards the front of the plane and aisle seats. I doubt the flight attendants will let you out first, mostly because there’s no way to stop all the other passengers ahead of you. Just make sure your carry-on bags are all packed up and ready before you land, so you can grab them and go. As for your luggage, just make sure anything vital is in your carry-on: any medications, valuables, electronics, and pack a change of clothes and toiletries just in case your luggage does get delayed. I’d hate for you to be in Curacao and not be able to jump in the water!

        What’s your layover like on the way home? You WILL have to go through passport check and immigration when you re-enter the US, and that could take some time. When you come back to the US, you’ll also have to pick up your checked bags somewhere during the customs/immigration process and recheck them. The exact procedure varies from one airport to another, but again, make sure your valuables stay in your carry-on in case your checked luggage gets delayed on its way to your second flight.

        Most airlines in the US no longer serve food on domestic flights. Usually just a small bag of pretzels or something. It looks like the flight from Miami to Curacao is about 3 hours. Usually airlines will feed you on an international flight, but I’m not sure if they will on a shorter flight like this. Probably some kind of snack, but not likely a full meal. If I were you, I’d pack some snacks for your kids just in case. Some granola bars, sandwiches that don’t need to be refrigerated, something like that. They’ll definitely have drinks for you on board, so don’t worry about that part.

        Chances are, everything will run smoothly. Enjoy your trip, and I hope your layovers go off without a hitch! Let me know if I can help with anything else!

    20. Dipesh
      August 19, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Hey Ali, really liked your articles, which might helped thousands of travelers. I am from Nepal and works in Travel Company. We do have lots of passengers travelling from Nepal to US. Last week my passenger was travelling to Denver through MAN, the routing was KTM – QR – DOH – QR – MAN – US -CLT – US – DEN. As per Amadeus Reservation system, the MCT in MAN is 50 min for International to International transfer. In this particular booking the layover time was 70 min. Unfortunately passenger missed the US airways flight in MAN. Then the problem started. US airways did not rescheduled the flight mentioning its QR ticket. As per QR help desk, they did not re instate the ticket saying its passenger fault to miss the flight. As per them, It is Local fare ticket (Papers Fares for Nepal Agent) so they don’t know the rules of the Fare. The passenger was stranded in the MAN airport for 3 days. How can a Star airline say that they dont know they rules of the fare. As per me, In airport airlines dont go through the Fares rules and regulation specially when the passenger in the middle of the journey. Its a liability of the airlines to carry passenger from Origin to Destination in safe and efficient manner. Ali you might have different views on it please let me know and other readers too.

      Please Ali let me know too about the CLT transit time as my passenger is travelling with 1 hour 42 mins layour in CLT from MAN – CLT – SBY and is NON US Citizen. In the Itinerary US airways flights dont have Departure and Arrival Terminal Number, Its Weird. Is it Normal?

      • Ali Garland
        August 20, 2014 at 4:31 pm

        Hi Dipesh, thank you! Unfortunately the airlines do take the stance that it is the passenger’s responsibility to book a reasonable connection. So even if the airline gives you the option to book a short layover, it doesn’t mean you should do it. 70 minutes in Manchester sounds tight, but not unreasonable to me, I’m so sorry your customer didn’t make it. It really can vary on a lot of factors, such as how long the lines are at immigration. Many airlines are understanding and will help out when passengers miss a connection in those situations, but not all of them are that nice. And it also depends on the person you’re dealing with, not just the airline.

        CLT (Charlotte, NC) is not a huge airport, but it is a hub. My personal opinion is that 1 hour 42 minutes would be long enough, but I can’t guarantee anything. A non US citizen has a higher chance of needing more time to clear immigration, simply because the passport checkers and customs officers like to be annoying (I’ve dealt with quite a bit of annoyance flying into the US even as a US citizen) but that still seems like it would be enough time. If it’s a holiday or a day that has more than average air traffic, like around Thanksgiving or Christmas, lines could be longer. My advice is always to try to get an aisle seat as close to the front of the plane as possible so you can be one of the first people off the plane. Go to the bathroom on the plane before it lands so you can go straight to the passport line.

        I don’t think it’s weird that the itinerary doesn’t show the gate or terminal numbers. The airports don’t always know that info until the day of the flight, sometimes just a couple hours ahead. Some airlines will announce connecting gates in flight as they get close to landing, but only for major flights. Your passenger should be able to check the departures board once they land in CLT to find the gate. Here’s a link to the Charlotte airport terminal map: http://clt.clickoptimize.com/ Might be helpful for your passenger to just take a look at it and get a mental image of how the airport is laid out.

        Good luck with everything, and let me know if I can help with anything else!

        • Dipesh
          August 21, 2014 at 6:29 am

          Pleased to get a prompt reply from you. Fortunately, my passenger succeeded to catch the connecting flight after the immigration clearance withing 1 hour 40 mins.

          I am highly inspired by your blog. Will follow this wonderful blog which helps thousands of travelling around the world. And also i would love to speak with you one on one in voice. Please let me know if that is possible.

          • Ali Garland
            August 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

            I’m glad your passenger made the connecting flight!

            Thank you so much for the kind words about my blog, I appreciate it! Email is probably best if you want to discuss something with me. Between time zone differences and traveling, that’s the easiest. My email address is ali@travel-made-simple.com

    21. Maxine Skingsley
      August 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Hi I am due to go from London Heathrow direct to Sydney Australia but have a layover stop in Singapore of about 2 hours. I am really not a traveller and am quite nervous of the whole experience. Can you tell me if I will have enough time and also do I have to check in again and anything else I might need to know. The only thing I can tell you is that I am flying from LHR on the A380 and the flight from Singapore to Sydney is also on the A380, does this mean my luggage will stay on that aircraft or do you still think I will have to collect my luggage and check in again. This is my first time and I am dreading it

      • Ali Garland
        August 29, 2014 at 5:49 pm

        Hi Maxine! Two hours should be enough time for your layover, and Singapore is a really nice airport. I don’t have any way of knowing if you’ll be on the *exact* same plane for each flight, but as long as you’ve booked the whole thing as one itinerary (not two separate flight bookings) then the airline will transfer your luggage from the first flight to the second flight. You won’t have to go through immigration in Singapore, just look for signs that say “transit” and find your connecting gate. Also, check out this link: http://www.viasingapore.com/experience-changi-airport/transit-tips/

        You’ll be fine! Let me know if you have any other questions, and have a great trip!

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