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A Guide to Airline Stopovers

Airline stopovers might be the best travel hack you’ve never heard of!

If your personal mantra is “If it’s free, it’s for me!” it should definitely extend to your international travel planning. How do you make that happen? Take advantage of the airline stopover!

What is an airline stopover?

Simply put, certain airlines offer you the opportunity to add a stop in their hub city to your trip (or an excursion/stay for an extended layover) at no additional cost. Seriously! Sounds amazing, right? There are a few caveats to note:

  • Not all airlines participate
  • There are time limits: depending on the airline’s program, you could have less than 24 hours or up to seven nights. It’s determined by the airline, so do your research.
  • You might have to call in order to get one

Overall, it’s really not that challenging to book a stopover and the benefits are amazing! I recently flew Copa Airlines to Colombia and added three nights in Panama City, Panama, on the way down. It was a brief stay but was an excellent way to break up the trip and see an additional destination! You can read about my experience in Panama City here.

Ready to book a trip? These airlines offer stopover programs:

  • Emirates: Emirates offers a Dubai Connect program for passengers with long layovers in Dubai, providing accommodation, meals, and transportation for eligible passengers.
  • Qatar Airways: Qatar Airways has a Stopover Plus program, allowing travelers with extended layovers in Doha to book hotel stays at a discounted rate.
  • Singapore Airlines: Singapore Airlines offers a Singapore Stopover Holiday program, providing travelers with options for accommodation, airport transfers, and access to various attractions.
  • Finnair: Finnair’s Stopover program allows passengers with layovers in Helsinki to explore the city and enjoy stopover packages.
  • Icelandair: Icelandair is known for its Iceland Stopover program, which allows passengers flying between North America and Europe to have an Iceland stopover at no additional airfare cost.
  • Turkish Airlines: Turkish Airlines offers a Touristanbul program for passengers with layovers in Istanbul, providing free city tours and accommodation for eligible passengers (some include 4 and 5 star hotel stays!).
  • Etihad Airways: Etihad Airways offers a Stopover Program in Abu Dhabi, providing passengers with a range of hotel options and activities to enjoy during their layovers.
  • Cathay Pacific: Cathay Pacific has a Hong Kong Stopover program, offering travelers a choice of hotels and attractions to explore during their layovers in Hong Kong.
  • Air Canada: Air Canada’s Stopover program allows passengers with extended layovers in cities like Toronto and Vancouver to explore the city with special hotel rates and activities.
  • TAP Air Portugal: TAP Air Portugal offers a Stopover program in Lisbon and Porto, allowing passengers to enjoy a stay in Portugal during their layovers.
  • Air New Zealand: Air New Zealand offers a stopover program for travelers connecting through Auckland, providing accommodation options and tours.
  • Thai Airways: Thai Airways offers a program that allows passengers with long layovers in Bangkok to explore the city with accommodation and tours.
  • Copa Airlines: Copa Airlines allows passengers to add a stopover in Panama City for up to seven days.

It’s worth mentioning that the availability and terms of these stopover programs may change, so it’s essential to check with the specific airline for the most current information and eligibility criteria. Also, if you have knowledge of an airline I’ve left out make sure to let me know!

If you’ve booked your stopover and are ready to plan the rest of your trip, make sure to read about my travel advising services here. Being a FORA Travel Advisor means I have access to amazing perks, properties, and experiences!

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