A free stopover on your flight could be the start of an even better vacation
You know all about one-way flights and round-trip flights, and nonstop flights and connecting flights, but do you know about stopover flights?
That’s when you connect through a particular airport, deplane for a day or two, then continue to your destination.
Besides the visit-two-cities-for-the-price-of-one aspect, stopovers let you recover from a long flight by breaking it into two shorter legs.
And some airlines not only let you stop over for free but also include free hotel stays and other perks.
On many airlines, passengers traveling on frequent-flier award tickets can schedule a stopover without forfeiting extra miles or points.
Even if an airline doesn’t have a formal stopover program, it may sell a stopover fare for less than buying a separate onward round-trip ticket.
I recently saw a $721 round-trip fare from Los Angeles to Bangkok, Thailand, on EVA Air, and a three-day stopover in Taipei with an onward journey to Bangkok on the same dates for $954 round-trip.
If you don’t see your airline listed here, check with the airline.
Among the offers:
Stopover: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver
Maximum stay: Depends on rules associated with the fare
Best way to book: (888) 247-2262 or online at aircanada.com
Cost: Free. More expensive fares may include a free hotel stay,
Stopover: Beijing, Shanghai and four other major cities on a 144-hour transit visa, and seven other cities on 72-hour transit visa
Maximum stay: 72 or 144 hours, depending on visa
Best way to book: (800) 882-8122 or online at airchina.us
Stopover: Panama City
Maximum stay: Check with Copa, which, at press time, was set to announce updates to its stopover program.
Best way to book: (800) 359-2672 or online at copaair.com
Cost: Free except for $40 airport departure tax
Maximum stay: Depends on ticket’s fare rules
Best way to book: Book flight with stopover online at emirates.com, then call (800) 777-3999 to book stopover package if desired
Stopover: Abu Dhabi
Maximum stay: Two nights
Best way to book: (877) 690-0767 or online at etihad.com
Cost: Free, and economy fares include a discounted first night hotel rate with the second night free, or two free nights with business class fares.
Stopover: Nadi, Fiji
Maximum stay: Three days
Best way to book: (800) 227-4446 or online at fijiairways.com
Stopover: Helsinki, Finland
Maximum stay: Five days
Best way to book: (877) 757-7143 or online at finnair.com
Stopover: Honolulu and other Hawaii airports
Maximum stay: No limit as long as there is a scheduled flight in the computer for that date
Best way to book: Online at hawaiianair.com or through a travel agency
Cost: Free for international flights; $60 for domestic stopovers (for example, San Francisco to Honolulu, stopover, Honolulu to Lihue on Kauai)
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Maximum stay: Six nights
Best way to book: (800) 772-4642 or online at iberia.com
Stopover: Reykjavik, Iceland
Maximum stay: Seven days
Best way to book: (800) 223-5500 or online at icelandair.com
Japan Air Lines
Stopover: Tokyo or Osaka, Japan
Maximum stay: Depends on rules associated with the fare chosen
Best way to book: (800) 525-3663
Stopover city: Doha, Qatar
Maximum stay: 96 hours
Best way to book: Online at qatarairways.com
Cost: Free. Includes a free visa and a hotel stay from $23 per night
Maximum stay: 12 months
Best way to book: (800) 221-2350 or online at flysas.com
Maximum stay: Two nights if using the hotel program
Best way to book: Online at singaporeair.com
Cost: $30 to $46 (one-night stay) or $151 (two-night stay including a pass to Universal Studios Singapore and other perks)
Stopover: Zurich, Switzerland
Maximum stay: Four days
Best way to book: Online at swiss.com/stopover
TAP Air Portugal
Stopover: Lisbon or Porto, Portugal
Maximum stay: Five nights
Best way to book: (800) 221-7370 or online at flytap.com or by phone. Download the TAP Stopover App for special perks, such as free wine with dinner
Maximum stay: Depends on maximum stay requirement of fare booked
Best way to book: (800) 874-8875) or online at turkishairlines.com
Cost: Free for hotel package stopover; includes one-night hotel stay in Istanbul for economy class or two nights for business class. Non-package stopover in one direction is free, $65 for stopover on both directions.