Airports are a notorious maze that travelers sometimes want to avoid. Choose connections that are timed enough so you don’t have to wander through the maze like an Olympic runner. If you’ve booked a connecting flight at a limited time, learn how to make your transfer as smooth as possible.
#1. plan ahead
1. Check out the itinerary. Reservation information usually does not include whether to change aircraft at each stop. To track your flight, find the following information:
- Direct flights list the same flight number for each stage of the flight. This usually means one plane, but many “direct” flights today require you to change planes. Check with your airline.
- Connecting flights use different flight numbers for each stage. I need to change planes.
2. Find the airport map. Most airport websites have printable maps. To save time finding the gate, put this map in your carry-on bag. Flight magazines usually have airport maps printed on the back, but these maps may only contain information about major airports.
- If there are separate maps for each station, print them all. You may need to switch stations.
3. Estimated contact time. Occasionally you can find this information on the airport website or the travel agent (if used). If official figures are not available, get a rough estimate.
- It takes about 60 minutes to transfer from a domestic flight to a domestic flight. A 45-minute layover is risky, but possible if the first flight is short and the second flight is operated by the same airline.
- Landing in another country or transferring from a domestic flight to an international flight takes about two hours. A stop of less than 90 minutes is dangerous.
- Add 30 minutes if you have things to check at the gate (prams), if you have limited mobility, if you are traveling during busy hours, or if the airport stops are windy or cold.
4. Plan short links. If the connection time is shorter than the recommended time, take steps to make it work smoothly. You can pay a fee and rebook your flight, or take less drastic steps such as:
- Choose an aisle seat as close as possible to the exit of the plane so you can exit first.
- Consider bringing a handbag so you don’t have to take out your luggage. (Only domestic and foreign remittances are possible.)
- Download the smartphone app to track flight delays during flight.
5. Check the logistics of your luggage. For domestic flights, baggage is always delivered to its final destination. Some international flights, especially flights to the US or Canada, require you to collect and reload your luggage. Please check with the airport staff who checked your baggage for details.
- If you pay separately for both flights, you will usually need to collect your luggage over the phone.
- Many European countries are located in the “Schengen region”. Flights between the two countries in the Schengen area do not require you to go through immigration and usually you do not need to claim your luggage. However, you still have to go through a security point.
6. Learn about visa requirements. You may also need a “transit visa” if you are passing through a foreign country en route to another destination. Find the nearest embassy in another country and visit their website.
- If you are traveling to the United States, check this site for more information. A visa is not required if your country is on the Visa Waiver Program list.
7. Ask for wheelchair assistance if needed. If you or your travel companion has reduced mobility, consider requesting a wheelchair during the call. Contact the airline from which you purchased your ticket to arrange this.
- If you have forgotten in advance, please contact the flight attendant of the first flight as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you may not be able to use your wheelchair when you arrive.
- In some countries, it is polite to tip a wheelchair carrier. Suggested price is $10 for US airports and £2 for UK.
#2. ready to go out
1. Listen to announcements on board. A pilot or flight attendant sometimes announces a gate change at the end of a flight time or when an aircraft enters the gate.
2. Gather what you brought. If contact time is tight, collect all your belongings before the seatbelt signal flashes to prepare for landing.
3. Gather documents. We issue a boarding pass for the next flight and, if traveling on an international flight, issue a passport and immigration form. Keep this document in a safe but easily accessible place, such as a handbag or coat pocket.
4. Ask for access from the front. If your flight is delayed and you feel like you can’t be reached, ask the flight attendant to help you change your seat at the last minute just before landing. Switching back to front on an airplane can save you about 10-15 minutes.
- You can also ask your fellow passengers directly, but remember that you are asking for help. Be polite and don’t do it if you’re on a long phone call.
- Landing preparations can begin 30 minutes prior to landing. Don’t wait until the last minute. Otherwise you will get stuck.
#3. next level tracking
1. Find the gate number. The first thing to do after getting off the plane is to find the next gate. Do not assume that the gate number on your boarding pass is correct as planes change gates frequently. Instead , look for a TV screen that says Leave . Find the flight number that corresponds to the number on your boarding pass and enter the gate number.
- If you are in a hurry, ask the flight attendant standing near the gate as soon as you get off the plane. Often they can provide exact numbers and instructions for the gate.
2. Take your luggage with you if necessary. Usually, you don’t need to claim your luggage unless you’re taking an international flight or buying two separate tickets. If you think you need to collect your baggage, do so as soon as possible. As the baggage claim area is often opposite the security checkpoint, it can take a long time to retrieve and reload your baggage.
- After collecting your baggage, please check again at the ticket office of the airline that will operate your next flight.
3. If necessary, go through immigration and security. If you have just finished your international flight, follow the reference to immigration. The Immigration Zone is usually divided into two parts. One for citizens and one for non-citizens. Stand in line to match your passport. Airport policies may require you to go through security.
- If the queues are long and you’re short on time, politely ask the airport staff if you can skip the priority queue so you don’t miss your flight. It’s not always allowed, but it’s worth a try.
- Be calm and cooperative, even if the officer asks you to go through further testing. A rude or broad response usually slows the process down.
4. Find your gate. Even if you have time, walk straight to the gate. Don’t be afraid to find your way through the information desk or airport staff.
- You can change stations when calling from an international flight to a domestic flight and vice versa. If you need to take a bus , it will take about 10-20 minutes.
5. rest assured You don’t always have to sit near the gate if you have time. Most airports have restaurants, shops and even art galleries. Check the time and make sure you know how to get back to the gate.
Always carry your luggage.
6. Allow enough time to return to the gate. Boarding times are usually indicated on your boarding pass . Alternatively, please return to the gate 30 minutes before departure.
7. If you miss your flight, call the airline. If you miss your next flight, please contact the airline immediately. The airline’s contact information is usually also listed on your boarding pass , but to inquire about speed, contact the local operator at the airport of arrival. You can find this number on the airport website or by contacting the information desk.
- If you do not have a cell phone, borrow one from the information desk. If you cannot find the phone number, please visit the ticket office of the previous airline.
8. Coordinate your plans with your airline. If you miss your flight due to the airline’s fault, such as a delay on a previous flight or an unusually short connection time, that airline is responsible for transporting you to your destination. This does not apply if you book your flight separately or if you miss your flight by mistake. But most airlines are willing to make some compromises. Calmly and respectfully ask the following questions:
- Free preparation for your next trip . Many airlines can authorize requests for any reason within two hours of scheduled departure. Reserved passengers may only board the next flight if there is a vacancy or someone has agreed to give up their seat.
- If your flight is urgent, check with your airline to see if they can secure a seat. If the odds are slim, ask for a guaranteed discount ticket for your next flight. (Not always available.)
- Food and hotel room vouchers if you have to wait overnight. (This does not apply if the airline did nothing wrong.)
- If you do not have a cell phone or cell phone service, you can make toll-free calls to contacts at your destination.