Connecting Flights, Transfers, Stopovers
Connecting flights and transfer points can be a nuisance for many travelers. They are, however, an essential reality in the world of air travel. When you are looking for the cheapest airline tickets to Europe, you may have to endure at least one connecting flight. While some European destinations do have direct flights from the US, others, however, may require one or more connecting points, especially if you are looking for lower cost flight tickets . During international travel, these transfer points are the norm, and there are things that you should know in regards to connecting flights that will make your trip as smooth as possible.
Connecting flights are the transfers or stopovers that take place in airports throughout the continent. They allow you to travel from your departure to your arrival point, but often require a stop to refuel, change planes and pick up or drop off other passengers. There are considerations that should be acknowledged in regards to transfer points, and these help to make your trip not only more convenient, but more enjoyable.
There are several points to be made about the connections. You may have just a transfer when you change a plane and take another flight to your destination within several hours. There are also stops when your connecting flight to the destination leaves only the next day by your choice or by the flight schedule. The overnight stops or stops that last for 24 hours or longer are called stopovers. Most airlines try to give you a possibility of the connection time that is less than 24 hours as in many cases you might need to pay $100 or so extra for a longer voluntary stopover. This applies only to the flight segments that are issued on one ticket document. If you hold several tickets, no extra cost will apply as you most likely will have 2 or more tickets issued for your travel.
If you would like to visit and explore Europe, you might want to plan your trip in advance and look for the cheapest airline tickets to Europe as well as hotel and car rental packages. You can add a night to your trip in a city other than the one you were planning to travel to or stop in several countries for a few days and explore them. If you have a stop over in Paris with Air France, you can schedule your flight so that you can stay a day or two in Paris. This will give you a chance to enjoy the city before you advance to your original arrival point.
Many airlines are emerging across Europe that offer lower prices and fewer amenities. These airlines do not run as many flights as the major carriers, but they will take you to most of the major European cities. They stop frequently in connecting cities, and offer cheaper rates because of the frequent stops and the length of the trip.
Just as flying with these smaller airlines, trips with connecting flights remain on the cheaper end if you are flying with one airline. Try not to mix and match your carriers to take advantage of the lowest rates, and also to take advantage of coordinating connection times. Because carriers coordinate their transfer with other planes from their line, they may not always be in sync with other airlines, there might be longer waiting times between the flights or different baggage rules may apply.
The cheapest airline tickets to Europe may also require that you research your own connecting time. You should know the expected weather, the traffic at one airport and the time it takes to get from one terminal to the next. You must make sure that your connecting point will allow you to reach your second plane on time. If you’re not sure how much time you need between the flights (especially, if you are booking separate flights on several airlines), just call the airline and ask for the minimum connecting time or MCT.