Transit flight: what to do if I have a connecting flight

The opportunity to save money, walk around the city and combine several cities in one trip are just a few reasons why travelers choose connecting flights. Here are just questions, those who fly this way for the first time have no less questions. We have dealt with the main ones and are ready to explain everything to you.

Who is this article for?

  • for novice travelers;
  • for those who first encountered a transit flight;
  • for those who are worried that there may not be enough time for a transplant;

What type of transplant do I have?

The first thing to find out when faced with a transit flight is what type of connection you are going to have.

Transits are different. For example, you might have single ticketwhen the entire connecting flight is operated by one airline. This is the most convenient option, since in this case the carrier is responsible for delivering the passenger to the destination. And if, say, the flight on the first segment is delayed and you do not have time for the second segment, then you will be obliged to be put on another plane of the same company. If the transfer time exceeds 8 hours, some carriers (for example, Emirates and Qatar Airways) provide passengers with a transfer hotel. The baggage will also be checked in and delivered to the final point of the route. You do not need to additionally register with such a ticket.

Another option is the so-called “Code-sharing”when you buy a single ticket from one carrier, but fly part of the way by plane of a partner company. In this case, you will also be checked in with your luggage to your destination and a transfer will be arranged. The only difference is that in case of unforeseen situations (damage / loss of luggage, etc.), all claims must be submitted to the partner company.

Note: for this type of flight, the name of the additional carrier may not appear on the ticket.

There is also such a thing as interline agreement – an agreement between airlines in which one carrier accepts the tickets of the other. That is, one company can sell you tickets to another. The bottom line is that this method allows you to buy a single ticket at a better price than if you bought several separate ones. There are often special fares on these flights.

Important! All carrier companies are always indicated on tickets of this type. Your baggage will also be checked in before the end of the flight, but you must ask for it separately. Sometimes you need to get a ticket for the next leg of the journey when transferring – this is also worth keeping in mind.


Well, the last option is several separate tickets. Many consider it to be the most inconvenient, since in this case you will have to pick up and re-register your baggage at the transfer point, as well as re-register for the next leg of the route. If you miss your flight, you will most likely need to buy a new ticket. And the price of such a combined flight is often higher than in other cases. Therefore, if you nevertheless decide to fly this way, make sure that you have enough time to transfer (it makes sense to play it safe and fly out of the transfer point the next day).

But what about low-cost airlines? Let’s make it clear right away – in principle, low-cost airlines do not have transfers. The routes that aggregator sites offer you, including tripmydream, are routes consisting of two or more separate flights. Therefore, in the case of low-cost flights, all responsibility for the safety of baggage and timely arrival at the destination is solely on you.

Transit visa. When is it needed?

We warn you right away – this point needs to be clarified before buying tickets. Usually, a transit visa is not needed if the next flight departs from the same airport and terminal where you arrive and if you do not need to collect your luggage. Then just wait for the next plane in the transit area of ​​the airport, without going through migration control.


UK transit

But, when it comes to a transplant in the UK, be on the alert. Very often, travelers, tempted by a low price, buy flights with a transfer in London. For example, Ryanair always has a lot of offers of flights to different cities in Europe at the lowest prices with transfers in Stansted or Luton, and then they are simply not allowed on the flight due to the lack of a transit visa.

Remember: when connecting in the UK, you will not need a transit visa, only if you are transit at Heathrow or Manchester International Airport. BUT, in addition, a number of other conditions must be met. Which ones? Find out more in this London transit article.

When do I need a transit visa?

But a transit visa is issued if:

  • You are flying with a transfer and you need to change the airport.
  • When transferring, you need to change the terminal, and for this you need to go to the city (the departure terminal is in a different area, for example).
  • You need to make two or more transfers in the Schengen area, but you do not have a biometric passport. In this case, a transit visa is issued at the embassy of the first country.
  • The transplant will take place in the UK (assuming 24-48 hours). Then you need to apply for a Visitor in transit Visa in advance. But if the transfer lasts more than 48 hours, you will need a regular Transit Visa.
  • You fly with two different tickets (say, from Kiev to London and from London to Berlin). Then you need a visa to collect your luggage and check in for your next flight.

Important! Some countries (for example, the USA, Australia and Canada) require a transit visa, even just to stay at the airport in the transit zone.

Luggage is a separate story, since it is received after passing through migration control. Therefore, make sure that the suitcases are registered until the end of the trip, and you have the right to stay in the transfer country without a visa.


Another important nuance concerns the transfer zones themselves. First, they are not available at all airports. Secondly, they do not always work 24/7, if you arrive late in the evening and depart in the morning, and the airport does not work at night, you will have to take care of a place to spend the night and issue a transit visa in advance (if needed). This is the most inconvenient option, therefore, think over a plan of action in advance so that you do not huddle on a bench later.

I have arrived at the transfer airport. What’s next?

If you are flying with a transfer for the first time, then the main rule is keep calm and carry on. Do not be nervous, the gate and the plane will not go anywhere and you will calmly fly on, do not even doubt it!

So, you arrived at the transfer point. What’s next? Firstly, you should always have tickets and documents with you in order to check the data on them (departure time, gate, terminal, etc.) with the airport information board at any time and present them without delay before boarding.

If you are flying with a single ticket, upon arrival at the transfer airport, follow the signs marked “Transfer” / “Transit” – using them you can easily find the transit zone where you will wait for the next flight. Immediately find your flight on the information board and specify the departure time, gate number and other information (sometimes it can change). We also advise you to immediately find your gate so that you know where you will have to go to board, and only then go for a walk around the airport.

Please note that if you are flying to one of the Schengen countries, you will need to go through passport control immediately after arrival. Those who fly with two separate tickets will have to go through a similar procedure, since in this case you are not included in the category of transit passengers. Upon arrival, you will need to collect your luggage, proceed to the check-in counters (signs for help!) And re-check in by re-dropping your luggage.

Stop. Should I take my luggage or will it be delivered?

It depends on the type of ticket. If this is a single ticket, you can check in your baggage to the final destination and not worry about it at all. But if you need to change the airport when transferring, then you may need to pick up and check in your baggage again, even if you have a single ticket. Therefore, be sure to check this at baggage check-in.


Long transfer. Things to do?

If you have a 3-4 hour transfer ahead, you can safely skip this point. But it so happens that it takes a long time to wait for the next flight. If there is an opportunity to go to the city and the airport itself is not so far from it – go for a walk. There’s no better way to pass the time. Make a plan in advance with a list of places you want to see, and calculate how long it will take to get from the airport to the city and back, plus the time spent in the city, and throw in another half hour to be sure. To be sure!

However, even if you can’t get out into the city, don’t be discouraged – the lounge zone will come to your aid. Often there are comfortable armchairs and sofas where you can relax and flip through the latest newspapers or magazines, a sleeping area with soft loungers in case you want to take a nap, plus free Wi-Fi, food and drinks.

Usually, the cost of three hours in the lounge area is about € 30-40, and the more time you spend there, the cheaper it will cost. When buying a pass online, you can save a little more.


How do I get to the Business Lounge?

There is one more life hack that few people know about. Many major European airports provide free lounge access to World Elite MasterCard premium card holders. To get into the business lounge, you need to notify the staff that you have such a card and present it. In return, you will get access to all the benefits of the business lounge for free. We recommend that you check in advance with the bank’s support service if your card allows you to use the business lounge.

If the transfer takes more than 10 hours, some companies put their passengers in a hotel free of charge or provide coupons for having a snack in a special hall. In any case, be sure to research all possible options on the carrier’s website for a long transfer.

  • Plan your route with a time margin. If you connect flights on your own, then plan everything so that it takes 2-4 hours for a transfer to calmly navigate at the airport, find your gate, etc. This is especially important if you have to collect your luggage.
  • Sometimes it happens that the gate number is not indicated on the ticket. This is not a problem, just find your flight on the arrivals / departures board – the gate will be indicated there.
  • If during your flight you cross different time zones, be sure to take into account the time difference, because the time on the tickets is indicated local!
  • Are you flying with a transfer at a major airport? Then, before the trip, it will not be superfluous to familiarize yourself with the plan of the airport (s) through which you have to fly. You can even print them out and take them with you.
  • If you arrive late in the evening, and the next flight is only in the morning, check in advance if there is a hotel at the transfer airport in the transit zone, and in general if the airport is open at night. It is likely that you will have to stop for the night in the city, and for this you may need a visa.

Pleasant flight!


# flight # transfer # transit visa # instructions