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    June 20, 2022 @ 4:08 pm

    We arrive in Heathrow @ 9:05 AM and leave for Scotland @ 4:35 PM. Do we need to go thru security when leaving and returning back to the Airport? Our luggage will follow the next flight; do we need a boarding pass getting back into the Airport. We have booked a private Tour – what time to get back to the Airport do you suggest?

    • Ali Garland
      July 4, 2022 @ 11:44 am

      Hi Beverly! You’ll have to go through customs and immigration when you land in Heathrow, but you shouldn’t have to do security to leave the airport. But when you come back for your next flight, you will have to go through security. You don’t need a boarding pass to get in the airport, but you’ll need to have it by the time you reach the security checkpoint. If you don’t get the second boarding pass when you check in for the first flight, you’ll need to check in again with the airline before the flight to Scotland. As for what time to get back to the airport, normally I’d say at least 2 hours, but these days everything has gone a little crazy. I don’t know how long your tour is, but you should get back to the airport as early as you can. Many airports have massive delays with getting through security, and you’ll need all the time you can manage.

  2. Joe Parson
    May 29, 2020 @ 11:56 am

    Have a very long layover, coming and going during upcoming domestic trip at DFW Airport: 6-7 hours.

    Are there any airport lounges still open due to virus threat?
    Or any inexpensive, recommended ‘day use’ hotels with airport shuttles?


  3. Kylie
    May 13, 2019 @ 4:10 am

    Hi Ali, my 17year old niece is traveling internationally for the first time ever and alone next month from Adelaide to London with an 8hr layover in Abu Dhabi. What advice do you give in keeping safe when traveling alone and should she stay within the airport and does she need a visa?

    • Ali Garland
      May 14, 2019 @ 10:42 am

      Hi Kylie! Mostly she should keep an eye on her belongings and keep her carry on luggage with her at all times. I don’t have experience with kids, so I’m not sure if 17 is still considered an unaccompanied minor, but you could check with the airline about that. You could probably ask the airline if it’s possible to seat her next to another female, might make her feel a little more comfortable. I don’t think Australian citizens need a visa for United Arab Emirates, but I’m not a visa expert, so I recommend checking the embassy website about transit visa. An 8 hour layover is tough! She certainly can stay in the airport the whole time, but I know that can get tediously boring quickly. I found this site with layover tours for different layover lengths, so she could book a tour and have someone show her around the city a bit. I’d probably choose something 4 hours or shorter. The advantage of doing a tour is that she’ll have someone else with her who can deal with the logistics. But if you don’t (or she doesn’t) feel comfortable leaving the airport, you could look into lounges. It might be more comfortable for her to hang out in an airport lounge instead of just in the terminal somewhere, and there’s usually food and wifi in lounges. I hope this helps!

  4. Ckay
    March 22, 2019 @ 9:04 am

    Thanks for this article! Do I need a visa to enter UK? I am a Kenyan, and I have a long layover in London. I’ll be coming from the US to Nairobi, Kenya

    • Ali Garland
      March 25, 2019 @ 11:22 am

      Unfortunately I’m not a visa expert. I recommend checking the UK embassy website to see what their visa requirements are for citizens of Kenya, and if they treat passengers differently if you’re transiting vs leaving the airport.

  5. Tanya
    January 11, 2019 @ 10:04 pm

    Hi Ali,

    Thanks for this post and info. This is exactly what I was looking for!

    I am planning a trip to Adelaide, Australia particularly for wine tasting. However, with such a long trip from the US, I would hate to miss the Opera House in Sydney or at least a picture. I found a flight with a 5 hour layover. I wondered if that would be enough time to get thru customs on the way in and back. I hadn’t considered a visa yet.

    • Ali Garland
      January 12, 2019 @ 12:00 pm

      Hi Tanya! If you’re a US citizen, you’ll need a visa to visit Australia, but it’s an electronic thing and it’s really easy to apply. I have a post about what you need to know before traveling to Australia, and there’s some visa info in there along with a link for where to apply. So you’ll need that regardless of whether you do a long layover in Sydney. As for the layover timing, 5 hours might be cutting it a little close, but not impossible. When you land in Sydney, you’ll have to go through customs and immigration, which could take awhile depending on the lines. And you’ll have to go through security before going to your next flight (but no customs that direction because you’re already in Australia). I mapped out directions from the international terminal to the Opera House using public transport (I can’t tell if it’s a train or a tram or what, but it’s probably not hard to figure out when you’re there) and it looks like you’d need about 35 minutes one direction: So that’s 1 hour 10 minutes round trip, not including the time you’ll take to get pictures, any waiting you have to do if you don’t get to the train/tram at the exact right time, and any time to get a little lost while walking to the Opera House, plus keeping in mind that you’ll be exhausted and jet lagged. So really I’d say you need at least 2 hours, maybe even a little more, to get from the airport to the Opera House and back. If it takes you an hour to get off the plane and through customs and immigration, that gives you 2 hours or less to get through security on the way back, plus some wiggle room. Probably doable, you just have to be really aware of your timing and leave some room for things to go wrong. Good thing is you can do all the research you need and plan it out ahead of time without having to commit to it, and you can see how much time you have left when you arrive after getting through customs and decide then. I hope this helps!

  6. Ralph
    May 1, 2018 @ 12:57 pm

    Hi Ali,

    I have an 8 hours layover in Amsterdam, as an American citizen do I need any additional information since I want to visit some family members in the city of Amsterdam

    • Ali Garland
      May 3, 2018 @ 11:43 am

      Hi Ralph! US citizens don’t need a visa in advance to visit countries within the Schengen Zone, which includes the Netherlands. You’ll have to go through immigration to get stamped in, and then you can go into the city. If your next flight is to another Schengen country, all you’ll have to do when you come back to the airport is go through security and find your next gate. But if your flight is to a non-Schengen country, you’ll also have to go through exiting passport control. Either way, make sure you leave yourself enough time on your way back. Enjoy!

  7. Yasmin
    April 3, 2018 @ 1:36 pm

    This is such a great post, Ali!
    Thank you for sharing it. It is always good to learn from what others have experienced during a long layover. The tips you have provided are very helpful in assessing when to and when not to leave an airport. I always have a hard time judging whether I should leave the airport or not, but your points will surely make me plan a better layover delay.

    • Ali Garland
      April 4, 2018 @ 5:29 pm

      Thanks Yasmin, glad to help!

  8. Steve
    October 3, 2015 @ 9:16 pm

    I am flying from Manchester UK to Toronto and have an overnight layover before flying onto Phoenix.Will my free one bag allowance apply for the whole journey or will I have to pay for the luggage on the onward trip from Toronto to Phoenix?

    • Ali Garland
      October 4, 2015 @ 10:17 am

      Hi Steve, I would assume it applies for the entire journey, but that’s something you’ll have to confirm with the airline since airline policies can vary greatly.

  9. mai
    April 21, 2015 @ 12:50 am

    i want ask about long layout more than 12 hour in veinna by austrian air line is there free accommodation or not

    • Ali Garland
      April 21, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

      Hi Mai! Unfortunately they are unlikely to give you any sort of accommodation in Vienna for your long layover. Your choices are to hang out in the airport and sleep there (check out and look up the Vienna airport for info) or book a hotel. Depending on the time of day, it could be a good opportunity to see a little bit of the city, though probably not so great if you land at night and take off again in the morning.

  10. Linda
    September 2, 2014 @ 12:23 am

    It’s been my observation that luggage lockers are very rare since security measures got so strict. What’s the best way to find out if there are any?

    • Ali Garland
      September 2, 2014 @ 10:50 am

      I normally just search “luggage lockers” or “left luggage” plus the airport. Mostly what I see now are left luggage facilities where you can store your luggage and they’re run by a person, so they actually put your luggage through an x-ray security check. Sometimes they have normal lockers on the other side, so you would still go pick one and lock it up, but some airports have a system where the employee takes your bag and you get a ticket, almost like a coat check.

  11. Stacey
    March 3, 2014 @ 6:40 am

    Thanks for the info! Also, I didn’t know about to and from the airport website, have a feeling it’s going to be a great help in the future!

    • Ali Garland
      March 3, 2014 @ 9:34 am

      Glad to help Stacey! That site isn’t the prettiest to look at, but it sure is helpful. Happy travels!