Is Your Layover Long Enough?
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.
Layover or not, remember when flights are delayed, in some circumstances, the airline has obligations to you. Make sure you understand how to claim Delta flight delay compensation, or with any airline for that matter.
>>Read: Can you take batteries on planes?
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.
>>Read: What to Pack for a Trip: Travel Packing Checklist for Carry-On Only
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 London’s or 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.
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So how long do you need?
It’s really hard to put an exact number on how long you need for your layover. At a minimum, I’d say you should plan for one hour for domestic layovers and two hours for international layovers.
But this is not a hard, fast rule!
If you have to go through security again on a domestic layover, you might need more time.
Busy airports could require more time whether it’s a domestic or an international layover.
Long lines at customs and immigration could add lots of time to your layover.
Use your best judgement. No one can predict the exact amount of time you’ll need for your layover, but hopefully the tips you’ve read here will help you plan the best layover possible.
I always recommend allowing plenty of time for your layover. Better to have more time than you need so you don’t risk missing your connection.
>>Read: Can you bring hand sanitizer on a plane?
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. But remember, even that might not be enough time.
Layovers can be complicated. Every time you book a flight with a connection, look at all the details and ask yourself, is the layover long enough?
You might also be interested in:
- Carry-On Luggage Size Chart with over 170 Airlines
- Layover Perks You Never Knew About
- 8 Things to do If You Think Your Layover is too Short
- Can I leave the airport during a layover?
March 1, 2023 @ 4:26 pm
Hello Ali. My spouse and I will be flying to Minneapolis, Minnesota from Buffalo, New York next month with Southwest Airlines connecting through Chicago Midway. We will not be checking luggage, just using carry-ons. Our layover on the flight out is 75 minutes and our layover on the flight in is 55 minutes. That will be enough time to make it from 1 gate to the next since we will not have to worry about picking up checked baggage?
February 28, 2023 @ 3:40 am
Hi, we are flying into LAX on Spirit Air and connecting on Delta to Maui. Can u give me an idea how much time i should allow for our layover? Will we have to collect our luggage and recheck it on Delta or will they transfer it for us? How do we get from terminal 5 to terminal 3?
March 1, 2023 @ 2:17 pm
Hi Cindy! Spirit and Delta aren’t partners, so they won’t transfer your luggage between them. That means when you land in LAX, you will have to claim your checked bags and bring them to the Delta counter to check them for your next flight. You’ll then have to go through security again to get to your next gate. LAX is a large airport, so you want at least a couple of hours for that layover. If it was me, using two different airlines, I’d probably give myself about 3 hours just to be safe, even if that ends up being way too much time. If your Spirit flight is delayed, Delta won’t rebook you (well, it’s highly unlikely, unless maybe you happen to get a super nice agent) since the flights are not connected to each other. As for getting from terminal 5 to terminal 3, check this website for airport maps.
February 26, 2023 @ 7:58 am
First time traveling to the EU. Traveling to Florence from DTW with a 1.5 hour connection in Paris. Will this be enough time?
March 1, 2023 @ 12:03 pm
Hi Isaac! 1 hour 30 minutes could be a little tight, but it’s not impossible. It all comes down to how long the lines are. When you land in Paris, you will have to go through security and customs and immigration, since that is where you’re entering the Schengen Zone. I have a list of tips for short layovers, but a few things that can save you a few minutes here and there are, 1) on your first flight, try to get a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible, and an aisle seat would also be helpful, 2) go to the bathroom towards the end of your flight to Paris so you don’t have to waste time with that in the Paris airport, and 3) don’t make any stops in the Paris airport until you’ve gotten through security, customs and immigration, and you find your next gate and see how much time you have left until boarding.
February 6, 2023 @ 5:08 am
Hi, I am flying from Maui to Phoenix on Southwest, collect my bags at southwest baggage claim, change terminals from terminals 4 to 3, go through security, and get to my gate for a delta departure in 1 hour and 25 minutes. Is this possible?
February 7, 2023 @ 3:37 pm
Hi Cindy! That sounds really tight to me, especially since you’re talking about two different airlines that aren’t connected to each other, AND you’ll have to claim and recheck bags AND go through security again. I personally wouldn’t do a layover like that with only an hour 25 minutes. I’m sure it’s not impossible, but I would feel really nervous about long lines at baggage check-in, at security, and even at baggage claim.
February 6, 2023 @ 3:02 am
Hey there:) I’m flying United into LA and land at 8:23 and then my next flight, on Hawaiian Airlines leaves at 9:50. Does this sound like a long enough layover?
February 7, 2023 @ 3:35 pm
Hi Megan! It depends on where you’re coming from when you land in LA. Is it a domestic flight from somewhere else in the US or is it an international flight? If it’s international, I don’t think that’s enough time for immigration and customs. But if it’s domestic, it’s probably long enough, but no guarantees. LAX is a big airport, but it’s easier if your flights are both domestic. You can look at their website and see if you can find gate numbers for your flight that lands in LAX and the one that flies to Hawaii, and if they’re usually in the same areas, you can make a judgement call on how long it might take to get from one gate to the next.
February 1, 2023 @ 11:35 pm
Good day. My spouse and I are looking to travel to Zagreb, Croatia from Toronto, Ontario transiting through Frankfurt, Germany in late August 2023 to mid-September 2023 flying Lufthansa. What are the transit conditions like in the Frankfurt, Germany airport? How long of a layover should we give ourselves to ensure our luggage makes the connecting flight from Frankfurt to Zagreb? We have a range of 1 hr. 5 min. up to close to 4 hours.
The one flight I am considering has a layover time of 2 hrs. 15 min. Would this be enough for our purposes? Thank you for your assistance.
February 7, 2023 @ 3:33 pm
Hi Rob! Croatia and Germany are both in the Schengen Zone, which means you will go through customs and immigration when you land in Frankfurt, so you need to make sure you have time for that. I definitely wouldn’t do the 1 hour layover, that is unlikely to be enough time. I’ve had times when the passport line in Frankfurt went quickly (but never quick enough for a 1 hour layover) but there have been times when it’s quite crowded and goes slow. The 2 hour 15 minute layover is the minimum I’d do, and honestly if there’s something with around 3 hours, I might be more inclined to choose that one. 4 hours seems long, I get it, so that’s a judgement call for you. The 2 hour 15 minute one is probably ok but I can’t make any guarantees. It also depends on the airline’s policy on missed connections, so you could check with them to see how easily they would book you on a later flight to Zagreb if you miss your connection due to long lines at immigration.
February 7, 2023 @ 3:55 pm
Hello Ali. Thank you for your recommendation. After further research, I found a flight leaving Toronto Pearson, arriving Frankfurt Int’l (@ 7:50 AM), then departing to Zagreb, Croatia (@ 12:35 PM) with a 4 hr. 45 min. layover between the Frankfurt-Zagreb departure. The return flight from Zagreb, Croatia arrives at Frankfurt Int’l @ 10:40 AM and departs to Toronto Pearson @ 1:55 PM which is a 3 hr. 15 min. layover in Germany. Both those layovers should allow us to go through both customs and immigration with time to spare.
February 8, 2023 @ 11:12 am
Yeah, that should be plenty of time. It might mean you have extra time on your hands just sitting around in the airport, but better than missing your connection. And I feel like the passport line in Frankfurt when you’re waiting to get stamped out, on your way back to the US, is more likely to be a long line than on the way into the country, so I’m glad you have some time on that end too. Enjoy Croatia!
March 1, 2023 @ 4:20 pm
Hello Ali. Many thanks for all your excellent advice. After further research, I was able to find a direct flight to Zagreb, Croatia with Air Transat in Club Class for about $350 CDN less that it what it would have cost flying Lufthansa in Premium Economy connecting through Frankfurt Airport. Therefore, the problem with the layover has been resolved. Keep up the good work!
January 19, 2023 @ 3:54 pm
I am flying from London Heathrow to Indianapolis on 25 March 2023 with a connection at JFK. My options are a 3 hr 8 minute layover or a 5 hr 50 minute layover on the way out, and a 3 hr 21 layover, or a 3 hr 55 minute layover on the way home.
Which would you recommend I go with? I’ll have an ESTA, but I don’t have any other special pre-checks or anything. I will only be taking carry-on so won’t need to claim/recheck luggage. Nearly 6 hours feels excessive, but I know when I flew to Chicago last year, I spent 90 mins in the security queue, and I’m unsure what JFK is like.
Thanks so much!
January 22, 2023 @ 8:05 pm
Hi Katy! Yay, traveling with only carry on luggage helps a lot! I can’t make you any guarantees, but if this was me, I think I’d probably feel comfortable with the 3 hour 8 minute layover for the Heathrow-JFK-Indianapolis direction. You really never know how long those lines will be, so you have to go with your gut on this one. If the security line is long, it could be stressful, but I’m with you, nearly 6 hours sounds painful. Unfortunately JFK and Chicago are both not really fun airports to connect through. As for the other direction, when you’re going back to London, it’s actually a lot easier because the US doesn’t have exiting passport control, so I think I’d be even more comfortable with the somewhat shorter layover on that one.
January 17, 2023 @ 9:38 am
Hi, I’m traveling from Dulles airport (IAD)to Lengpui airport (AJL)in India. I have a 20 hour layover at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Can I recheck my 2 big suitcases immediately to my final destination after I go through Customs and immigration? If not is there a place/pod in the airport I can store my luggage.
January 22, 2023 @ 7:59 pm
Hi Rin! It really depends on the airline’s policy unfortunately. I think it’s unlikely they can check your luggage from Dulles all the way to AJL since that second flight will leave more than 24 hours after the first one. But once you land in Delhi, as long as the airline has an open counter, they can probably check your bags for you. But your best bet is to call the airline and ask if they can check your bags that far ahead of your flight.
January 16, 2023 @ 6:04 am
Hi, I’m traveling to Costa Rica. I’ll have a flight from Dallas to Miami with a connection time of 1 hr, 5 min from Miami to Costa Rica. Is that enough time?
January 22, 2023 @ 7:55 pm
Hi Diane! That sounds a little tight, but not impossible. It’s easier to have a short layover when leaving the US since there’s no exiting passport control, so that helps. If you can look at the Miami airport website at the departures and arrivals, you can usually see which gates those flights tend to use. Then you can at least figure out if you’ll have to go a long distance to get from one gate to the other. And hopefully your layover coming back is a lot longer because you’ll need more time to go through customs and immigration.
December 29, 2022 @ 7:11 am
Hi. We are flying from PDX to Jamaica and I have 2 options of layover, 1hr 34min in Newark Airport or a longer layover 3hr 29min, same airport. I just know shorter time means more chances of luggage getting lost. Is this enough time if I take the shorter layover?
January 3, 2023 @ 2:58 pm
Hi Sue! Unfortunately it’s a judgement call for you. A 1 hour 34 minute layover doesn’t sound horrible, especially on the way OUT of the US, since there aren’t any passport control lines to deal with when exiting the US. If there are no delays, that would normally be a reasonable time. But if your PDX to Newark is delayed, you could miss your connection. Is it two different Newark to Jamaica flights that you’re looking at, with the same PDX to Newark flight? If so, you might want to see what your airline’s policy is if you miss your connection. If you miss it due to a delay, they really should be able to book you on the next flight, assuming there’s still space. The advantage of the flight with the longer delay is there is a lot less chance of any issues with delays or missing connections. So it’s really what you feel comfortable with.
November 15, 2022 @ 2:14 pm
I will have a layover in amsterdam of 3 hours, and i have to colect my luggage and check in again. Do you think thats enough time?
November 28, 2022 @ 2:21 pm
Hi Jose! That depends, where are you coming from and where are you going? If you’re coming from outside the Schengen Zone, you will have to go through immigration and then pick up your luggage and go through customs. Then if you’re going to another destination within the Schengen Zone, you have to find a check in counter or luggage drop for your airline and then make your way to your next gate. This could mean leaving the secured area and having to go through security again, which has been a nightmare at AMS in the past few months, according to many reports. If your destination is outside the Schengen Zone, you will also have to go back through exiting passport control, yet another line to wait in that could delay you. Your best bet is if there is a counter for your airline within the secured area (airside) so that you don’t have to go through security check again. You could look around at the AMS airport website and see if you can find any info about airline counters that are airside that can check your luggage. Or even ask gate agents if they are able to gate check your luggage since it’s too big to go as carry on. If you can manage all this without leaving the secured area, 3 hours will probably be enough (no guarantees!), but if you have to leave the secured area and go through security again after checking your luggage, 3 hours would be stressful for me given all the stories I’ve read lately.
November 2, 2022 @ 5:48 am
Hi, I have never flown internationally before. I am looking at a flight from Vancouver that connects in DFW and ends in New Orleans. The layover in Dallas is 1 hr and 25 minutes. Is that enough time to clear customs?
November 3, 2022 @ 1:56 pm
Hi Randy! Flying from Canada to the US is actually not so complicated. Most major Canadian airports, including Vancouver, have US border control agents in the airport, so you actually clear customs to enter the US while you’re still technically in the Vancouver Airport. More info here: https://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/navigate-yvr/customs-and-immigration/us-customs-and-border-protection. So then flying to the US is essentially like a domestic flight, meaning you won’t have to do any customs and immigration controls in DFW, because you already did that in Vancouver. When you land in DFW, you really just need to find your next gate. I’m not familiar with DFW, so I don’t know if you’ll have to go through security if you have to switch terminals, but that would be the only thing. So while I can’t make you any promises, that amount of time is probably fine. That said, if you’re nervous and you see another option with a little more time, it doesn’t hurt to have extra time for your layover.
November 3, 2022 @ 2:36 pm
October 2, 2022 @ 3:20 pm
I am travelling on my own (78yrs old) from London Heathrow to Perth WA via Kuala Lumpar with 1 and half hour layover time. How easy is it for me to transfer in that time?
October 4, 2022 @ 4:05 pm
Hi Rosemary! I’ve never connected through Kuala Lumpur, so I don’t have any first hand experience to share with you. But in general, when you get off the plane, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you should be able to bypass immigration, since you aren’t staying in Malaysia. You’ll probably have to go through security before your next flight. And since you’re really only dealing with a security check in the transit zone, it probably won’t take too long. That’s been my experience at other airports when I’m not staying in the country. So while I can’t make you any guarantees, an hour and a half should be enough time. If you have any mobility issues, you could talk to the airline about getting assistance transferring from one flight to the next, like with one of those golf cart type things or something, which might speed things up a little, but it all depends on how it’s handled at KUL. I’d also recommend, if possible, getting a seat as close to the front of the plane as you can on the London to KUL flight, and if possible, get an aisle seat. This will help you get off the plane faster when it lands. And go to the bathroom on the plane before landing so you don’t have to waste time with it in the airport, or at least not until you’ve reached your next gate and you see how much time you have to spare.
September 26, 2022 @ 7:00 am
I’m flying from Chicago to Casablanca, Morocco by Air France and have an 1.5-hour layover in Paris. I understand we land and take off at the same terminal yet still curious whether the layover is too tight. Thank you in advance.
September 28, 2022 @ 9:02 pm
Hi Alex! It feels a little tight to me, but you won’t have to go through customs and immigration, so that helps. It really comes down to how long the security line is, which you will most likely have to do there. The last time I connected through Paris from the US, security was the first thing I had to do. When you get off the plane (or possibly after clearing security) look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you should be able to bypass immigration. Also, I wouldn’t make any stops along the way, since every minute counts. Go to the bathroom on the flight to Paris so you don’t have to at the airport. Make sure your carry on bag is all packed and you’re ready to get off the plane as soon as possible. If possible, it helps to have an aisle seat as close to the door as possible so you can get out faster once you land.
September 18, 2022 @ 3:50 am
Hi…I am planning a flight with my wife and 2 small children to the Philippines. I leave Chicago to Seattle which is a 2 hr and 44 min layover, then we would go to Taipei, Taiwan for 1 hr and 50 mins before landing in the Philippines. I probably would regret booking this flight with these short layovers, especially with 2 small children. I have never been to the airport on Taipei before. Probably a disaster waiting to happen….right?
Thanks so much!!
September 22, 2022 @ 3:37 pm
Hi Rusty! I don’t think the layover in Seattle too short at all. You won’t really have to do anything special there, just find your next gate. The US doesn’t do exiting passport control, so you really won’t notice anything different vs a domestic layover. As long as the airline employee checking you in for the Chicago to Seattle flight looks at all of your passports, you will be cleared for the next flight. The layover in Taipei doesn’t actually sound all that bad either. Since you’re not staying in Taiwan, when you get off the plane, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you should be able to bypass immigration. You’ll probably have to go through security before your next flight. There’s always a chance the line at security is long, but I think you have a good chance with this one. I don’t have kids, so I can’t help you much with that aspect of everything, but my advice would be to make sure all your carry on bags are packed up before you land to make the process of getting off the plane go quicker. Get your kids to go to the bathroom on the plane before you land (I’m assuming they’re not in diapers) and then if you need to use bathrooms or stop for snacks at the airport, try to make everyone wait until you’ve found the next gate. I hope this helps, and have a great trip!
September 13, 2022 @ 6:38 am
Hi! I’m considering two different options from Mexico City to Detroit, one with a 1 hour 45 minutes long layover in Houston (IAH) and another with a 2 hours 32 minutes layover in Chicago O’Hare the week before Thanksgiving. I’m not a member of Global Entry or any similar programs, and I’m not at all familiar with these airports or connections within the US.
My instinct is to go for the longer layover in Chicago, but I’m not sure if O’Hare is busier than IAH. Do you have any experience with any of them to help me decide what the best option might be?
September 13, 2022 @ 5:54 pm
Hi Veronica! That’s a tough one. Chicago is a busier airport and notoriously frustrating for connecting flights, but it’s definitely helpful to have the longer layover there. Another thing you could look at is what your options are from both airports if you miss your connection. So if your airline has several other flights that day going to Detroit from one airport but not the other, maybe that’s the winner. And another option is to see if there’s a flight combo you can book that gives you a longer layover. Neither is a great amount of time considering you’ll have to go through customs and immigration and claim and check luggage, so I think you just have to go with your gut on this one.
September 8, 2022 @ 10:04 am
Hi, I’m traveling from SFO to LIS, but there is 5.5hrs layover at FRA.
Do you think I have enough time to go outside for a quick scroll at the city? Do I need to go thru the security check once I head back to the airport for my 2nd flight transfer? Any suggestions to kill time at FRA? Thanks
September 9, 2022 @ 5:00 pm
Hi, it really depends on how long it takes you to get through customs and immigration when you land in Frankfurt. You’ll have to do this regardless of your decision to leave the airport since it is your entry point into the Schengen Zone. If you do leave the airport, you will have to go through security again before your flight to Lisbon. There’s a chance you’ll have to go through security again anyway depending on where you have to get to in the airport. In some places, they have separate security lines for only a few gates, but at least that way it’s usually fast.
If you do decide to go into the city, it’s pretty well connected by Sbahn. It looks like the Sbahns that run from Frankfurt Flughafen (airport) to Frankfurt Hbf (the central station) go every 15 minutes and take about 13 minutes to get there. There’s an old town that’s cute, and if you like views of cities from above, the Main Tower is a great choice. If you stay in the airport, you could get a lounge pass or find a restaurant to grab a meal. It’s not my favorite airport but there are some options there.
Also keep in mind that travel has been kind of chaotic and lines have been slower than normal. You want to make sure you have plenty of time to get back for your flight to Lisbon. So if you wanted to give yourself 2 hours before your flight, and let’s say it takes an hour to get through customs and immigration when you land, that only leaves you with 2.5 hours for transport into the city and back to the airport (yes, it’s only 13 minutes, but if you just miss a train, you’re waiting another 15 minutes for the next one) and for whatever you’re doing in the city. So you’ll probably have 1.5 hours or so if you’re being conservative. Might not be worth the stress.
September 5, 2022 @ 8:50 pm
I’m traveling Portugal. My return flight is from Lisbon to Boston and then to Detroit. My travel agent has booked my Boston arrival at 3:30pm and my departure to Detroit at 4:30. I have been told I will need to go through passport check, baggage claim and baggage to another line to be rechecked and then I go through security again. How can this possible be enough time?
September 7, 2022 @ 5:13 pm
Hi Pam! Honestly I don’t think that’s enough time. Lines can be long and slow when going through customs and immigration, and rechecking bags can be time consuming depending on how the airport is set up for it. I’ve been in some where you simply put your bag back on a carousel right after clearing customs, but at other airports you have to go to the airline’s baggage drop counter. I don’t know how Boston is set up, but regardless, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a one hour layover when arriving from a international flight. I’d recommend getting one of those flights changed to better ensure you’ll make your connection. The Boston to Detroit flight is probably easier to change. I’m really sorry, your travel agent should know better.
August 29, 2022 @ 10:14 pm
We are heading to Rome from Las Vegas. We have a connecting flight in DFW. Our layover is only 50 minutes. My question do we have to go through customs switching our gate for connecting flight? Will that be enough time? Thanks
September 7, 2022 @ 5:08 pm
Hi Jeff! The US doesn’t do exiting passport control like most other countries do, so you’ll hardly notice a difference between this scenario and a layover where both flights are domestic. When you check in for the first flight, make sure the airline employee checks your passports, and as long as they print both boarding passes, you’re good. Then you only have to switch gates, and maybe go through security in DFW depending on how the airport is laid out. Unfortunately I haven’t flown through DFW in decades, so I’m not sure if you can get around to all gates without having to clear security again. But you won’t have to deal with any sort of customs or passport control lines or anything like that. If your first flight is delayed, you could miss your connection, but without delays, I think you’ll be fine.
I’d recommend looking up the DFW website and check a few things. 1- Check the arrivals and departures for your flights (they usually let you look at a few days worth) and see what gates they land/depart from. If it’s consistently in the same terminals or concourses, you can be fairly certain that’s how it’ll be when you fly. This means you can see how far you’ll have to go. Which brings me to 2- Look for an airport terminal map to see how far one section is from another. Sometimes they even tell you how long it takes to get from one terminal to another.
Also, I have some tips for short layovers here, and a few of them might help you save a few minutes during your layover. And if you’re looking for Italy tips, check out my Italy section here. We’ve taken some fantastic food tours in Rome!
August 1, 2022 @ 11:35 pm
Hi!! I am traveling from London to Lima, Peru. I am considering a flight that have a layover of 2 hours in Newark. I will have to change terminal. I am not sure if I have to pick up my luggage (My first flight is with Lufthansa and the second one with United Airlines) and not sure if I have to pass customs since I won’t be entering USA. Any advice? Do you think will be enough? I am so afraid, haven’t have this long flights in a while.
August 2, 2022 @ 12:02 pm
Hi Karla! Unfortunately, when you land in the USA, you always have to go through customs and immigration and claim and recheck your luggage. They don’t care that you’re not actually staying in the US, there isn’t really a transit option. So two hours could be tight, especially if there are long lines at customs and immigration. This wouldn’t be my top choice. And keep in mind that flying through Canada is similar with having to deal with customs and immigration, so I imagine you don’t have a choice really. But you may want to look for a flight with a longer layover. Even if you get stuck with too much time on your hands, it’s better than missing your connection.
July 28, 2022 @ 11:38 am
Hello, we are flying from San Francisco via KLM with just 1 hour layover in Amsterdam to take a connecting flight to Madrid also via KLM only it is operated by Air Europa. We are supposed to arrive in Amsterdam at 10AM and depart for Madrid at 11AM thus very tight, yikes! We are not familiar with AMS airport- so if we are changing planes, do we have to go through immigration/passport control or customs in Amsterdam before boarding Air Europa to Madrid? Would you know how far is it from KLM terminal/arrival gate to the Air Europa terminal/departure gate in Amsterdam? We are getting really stressed out what if we don’t make it to our connecting flight to Madrid on time, sorry about this nervous rant. Any advice is very much appreciated on pointers or tips for us to make it through as efficiently as possible. Thank you so much!
July 28, 2022 @ 3:40 pm
Hello! No apologies needed, I understand your nervousness! One hour is very tight for your layover. When you land in Amsterdam, you will have to go through customs and immigration before you can board your next flight since AMS is where you’re entering the Schengen Zone. In the past when I’ve flown through AMS to get back to Berlin (where I live) it has been soooo fast. BUT…it’s been a few years, and these days flying is riddled with delays and short staff issues. You might breeze through, but you might get stuck in a long line. AMS especially has been having some issues, you can read about it here: https://www.klm.de/en/information/travel-alerts/operational-issues-schiphol. However, KLM has lots of flights from AMS to MAD, some on Air Europa, some on KLM itself, so it might be worth contacting them and seeing what it would take to get yourself switched to a later AMS-MAD flight, or at least asking what their policy is about putting you on a later flight if you miss your connection. As for the terminals, the airport is well signed, so once you know your gate number, it’s just a matter of following the signs, and I even remember video screens telling you how long it takes to walk from where you are to certain terminals. It’s actually a great airport, but it is a big one. They have some maps here: https://www.schiphol.nl/en/airport-maps.
July 19, 2022 @ 4:52 pm
Hi, I am flying from Paris ( France ) to Charleston, South Carolina ( USA ).
My flight has a layover in NYC at the JFK Airport.
I should be landing at 10:45 AM at JFK and my second flight to Charleston will take off at 2 PM at an other Terminal than the one of my first flight.
So that makes me a 3h15 minutes layover to get throught all the immigration security and the commute between the terminals.
Do you think it will be enough time for me catch my flight ?
Thank you very much for your help ! 🙂
July 20, 2022 @ 1:52 pm
Hi Alexandre! Air travel is a bit crazy these days, so anything is possible and I can’t make any guarantees. But I think that should be enough time to make your connection. When you land in JFK, you’ll have to go through customs and immigration, plus claim and recheck your luggage, which all unfortunately takes a lot of time, especially if there are long lines. But 3+ hours is generally enough time for it.
July 12, 2022 @ 1:52 am
I have a connecting flight in Istanbul airport but only have an hour and 20 mins to transfers. I would only have carry on so I won’t need to waot for luagge. Would this be enough time or would you recommend re booking?
July 14, 2022 @ 5:30 pm
Hi Alvina, that depends on a few things. Are you flying to another destination within Turkey? In that case, you’ll have to go through customs and immigration in Istanbul, and that could take some time. But if you’re connecting to another country, you can usually bypass it. When you get off the plane, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you should be able to bypass immigration. You’ll probably have to go through security before your next flight.
July 11, 2022 @ 10:52 pm
We are travelling from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Denver airport with a 54 minute layover and then fly to Cancun, Mexico. I have never been in this airport before. Will this be enough time to get to where we need to go? Do we have to go through customs there before the flight to Mexico or in Edmonton before we leave there?
July 14, 2022 @ 5:28 pm
Hi Ursula, 54 minutes is pretty tight! Most major Canadian airports have US border control, so you actually have to go through US immigration and customs before you even leave Edmonton. Check here for more info. So that will save you time in Denver. Also, the US doesn’t do exiting passport control, but the airline staff will check your passports. This usually happens when you check in for your first flight, but since you’re actually starting from Canada, you might have to show airline staff in Denver. If you get both boarding passes in Edmonton, you should be fine. Otherwise if you only get the Edmonton to Denver boarding pass, you’ll need to speak with the gate agent at your departing gate in Denver.
July 10, 2022 @ 9:44 am
I am deciding on flight combinations from SEA to TLV. Both UA and ElAl.
Connecting through FRA, my layover time is 1.5 hours with either carry-on only or checked through luggage. The gated are close to eachother. I get that this is tight but is it doable? The other option is through CDG but FRA is a much more reliable route. Thoughts?
July 14, 2022 @ 5:22 pm
Hi Larry! 1.5 hours is tough, but it helps that you aren’t staying in the Schengen Zone, only transiting through. When you get off the plane, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you should be able to bypass immigration. You’ll probably have to go through security before your next flight. I’d probably stick with FRA, I’m not a fan of CDG myself. If you can manage to go with only carry on luggage, you’d be better off, especially if you’re flying sometime in the near future. Flying is kind of a nightmare right now with all the staffing shortages, and people’s checked bags are getting delayed or lost more than ever.
June 28, 2022 @ 10:08 pm
Flying from Stockholm to LA, with a 2h 39min layover at JFK Terminal 4. This will be my first time entering the United States too. Does this sound doable?
July 4, 2022 @ 11:55 am
Hi Oskar! Honestly, that sounds like a tight layover. You’ll have to go through customs and immigration at JFK, plus you’ll have to claim and recheck your luggage. I haven’t connected there in quite a few years, but when I did it, there wasn’t an easy way to recheck luggage, you just had to go into the front of the airport and find the airline counter as if you were starting your journey. Not very efficient time wise, though maybe things have changed. Does the airline have any later flights from JFK TO LAX? If they do, maybe you could switch to a later flight, or at least knowing if there is a later flight could be a bit of a safety net for you. You could zip through super fast and have no issues, but sometimes those lines at customs and immigration are really long and it could take awhile.
June 11, 2022 @ 11:06 pm
My husband and I are traveling on miles to London from DFW. (We did not have enough miles to take a non-stop from SMF/SFO/SJC.) We are planning on taking a separately reserved flight into DFW the same day of departure. I have given us 4 hours between arrival at DFW and departure from DFW. Will that be sufficient?
June 15, 2022 @ 7:52 pm
Hi Sherri! I think 4 hours should be plenty of time, barring any major delays. Are you taking the same airline to DFW and then on to London? If so, ask at check in if they can tag your luggage to go all the way through. They might not be able to, but it doesn’t hurt to ask in case they can do it. And if you’re doing the same thing on the way back, you have to claim and recheck your luggage at your first US airport anyway, so that shouldn’t be a big deal, but you definitely want plenty of time (again 4 hours seems like it should be enough) to go through customs and immigration and claim and recheck luggage.
May 14, 2022 @ 9:36 pm
I am traveling from USA to Israel to meet with a tour group there. I have only a 1 hr. 15 min. layover in Paris-CDG is there any way I can make this connecting flight? I fear I will miss meeting my tour group before they depart if I miss my connection. Thank you for your advice.
May 23, 2022 @ 3:53 pm
Hi Susan! That doesn’t sound impossible. It helps that you’re not actually staying in the Schengen Zone, so you *should* be able to bypass customs and immigration. When you land, look for signs that say “transit” or “transfer” or “connecting flights” and you should – in theory – be able to bypass immigration. You’ll probably have to go through security, but that should really be it.
May 5, 2022 @ 5:40 pm
We are planning a trip with the same airline from Kelowna BC to Phoenix Arizona. We do have checked luggage. Our layover is in Vancouver BC. We are wondering if we need to have more than 2 hrs for the layover?
May 7, 2022 @ 3:29 pm
Hi Violette! Normally I’d say 2 hours is enough, but I have a little hesitation because you’ll actually do US customs and immigration while you’re still in the Vancouver Airport. Here’s more info: https://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/navigate-yvr/customs-and-immigration/us-customs-and-border-protection. So that could take some extra time, just depends on the lines. I can’t make any guarantees, but if it’s a 2 hour layover vs a 6 hour layover or something, I personally would probably take my chances on the 2 hours. If there’s a 3 hour option, I might go for that to be safe.