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Airline Stopover – What is it and What You Need to Know When Travelling

When flying on long distance trips, many airline carriers often offer travelers with one or more stops in the itinerary for convenience, which may be short or long. These short and long stops in airline terminology are commonly referred to as a “layover” or “stopover”, respectively. But, you don’t have to confuse yourself with these terms.

In this blog, we are going to provide you an in-depth overview of what is a stopover in airlines and how it works for travellers.

What is a Stopover in Airlines?

In air travel, a stopover is basically a layover, but with a longer duration (four hours or more), on flights that serve multi-city destinations in the itinerary, including round-trips.

In this type of a layover, a passenger can leave the airport and stay for a couple of days in the airline carrier’s hub city, also called layover city, then board their scheduled flight bound for their final destination. This layover, however, is not limited to just one city. In fact, a traveller can have multiple stopovers between the origin of departure city/airport and final arrival city/airport and vice versa.

For example, if you fly from Palm Springs in California to Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas and on to New York, and you have a domestic connection that is longer than four hours, then this trip on your flight’s itinerary will be called a stopover.

Airline carriers usually promote their stopover programs that are available for free on award tickets and paid as well. In addition, travellers can also add, schedule or extend one or more stopovers in the itinerary when booking multi-city flights.

How is a Stopover Different from a Layover?

A layover is a short stop which is generally for a couple of minutes or hours (up to 24 hours) before travellers can board the next plane en route to their final destination. Often, this layover can be a delay in a flight’s scheduled departure from the airport or a passenger changing his/her flight to their final destination i.e., boarding a connecting flight. Thus, a layover is often used in connecting flights and the passengers cannot leave the airport.

On the other hand, a stopover means a longer stop (can be one or more stops), or a sort of in-between destination of a traveller’s multi-stop itinerary. In this type of a stop, the traveller can stay for a few days or nights in the city and explore places, then board their scheduled flight bound for the final destination. Also, in the case of a return trip on a multi-city flight, the traveller can enjoy the stopover city (or cities) in the itinerary before arriving back home. Thus, in a stopover, the passenger can leave the airport, stay for a couple of days and board the scheduled flight to their destination, and this applies even during a return trip.

Which Airline Carriers Offer Stopovers?

Several airline carriers offer stopover programs to travellers on multi-city flights. These are available both paid and for free using award tickets.

Below, we have included an in-exhaustive list in alphabetical order of popular airline carriers around the world that offer stopovers on multi-city flight itineraries.

  • Air China
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca Airlines
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Etihad
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Icelandair
  • Oman Air
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • TAP Air Portugal

There may be more airline carriers that offer free and paid stopovers on multi-city flights. So, you will need to contact the airline to find out if such programs are offered on the itinerary for the flight you are booking. Also, different airline carriers will have different travel policies with regard to stopovers, so be sure to go through their policies. Contacting the airline’s customer centre is one of the best ways to obtain more information about stopovers on a multi-city flight itinerary for your trip.

How to Add a Stopover to Your Trip

You can add, schedule and extend one or more stopovers to your multi-city flight’s itinerary.

The steps given below shows how you can book a multi-city flight for yourself and your companion bound for the same destination and with one or more stopovers.


1. On your computer or smartphone device, open a web browser and visit the airline’s official website.

2. When you are on their website, under Flights tab, select your trip type, which should be Multi-city. Also, you will be asked to choose your departure and destination cities/airports, date of travel, number of passengers, number of stopovers, etc. Fill in the fields with the necessary details. After entering the required details, click the Search button to proceed.

3. It will now search for all available flight options, including routes. Here, you can also choose your desired route. All available flights will be displayed on your screen. Pick your desired flight and proceed to the check out page to make the payment.

4. Next, you will be required to provide your information, including your contact details. After entering your details, click the Continue button to proceed to the check-out page.

5. Once you have provided all the required details, a summary of your flight information will be displayed on your screen, along with fees and taxes. When you complete the payment process, your ticket will be issued to you.

You will also receive a confirmation via e-mail. You can show this confirmation at the airport, at the boarding gate and during onboarding.

These are all the steps you will need to book multi-city flights with one or more stopovers online on your airline’s website.

Can Travelers Benefit from Stopovers?

Well, in a way, yes! A stopover can significantly reduce your overall trip’s cost and you also get to visit cities without the need for purchasing separate one-way flight to your destination.

But that’s not all. There are also discounts on tours, free stopovers for a couple of days and more. For instance, Icelandair, Finnair, Turkish Airlines, Etihad, TAP Portugal, etc. offer free stopovers in their home cities or hubs to travellers.


Stopovers in air travel can also be seen as a great way to boost tourism, particularly in the airline’s hub city. So, if you are planning for a trip to visit various cities around the world, a multi-city flight with several stopovers would give you the pleasure, convenience and experience of a world tour quite affordably.

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