If you want to get the most out of your vacation, you will love the stopover programs that some airlines implemented. Altogether 18 airlines offer a stay at a hotel to passengers with a long layover. Sometimes even free of charge or at least for a reasonable surcharge. This is, of course, an excellent chance to recharge during a super long trip to the other end of the world. But it can also be an opportunity to visit places that weren’t even on your list. So, which airlines have a stopover program? And how do they work? Here’s a complete list for you:
The 5-star airline Emirates offers a free night at a hotel to their passengers if there is no connection flight within 8 (Economy Class) or 6 (Business Class) hours.
Your visit to Dubai cannot exceed 24 hours. Reportedly the arrangement is only available to passengers who booked tickets worth a €1,000 or more. If you’re eligible for the stopover program, you will see ‘Dubai Connect’ in your online itinerary. You have to arrange your room in advance.
Not entirely free but for only around €25 Oneworld member Qatar Airways is offering overnight stays in a 5-star hotel in Doha. And this deal isn’t exclusive to passengers flying in a premium cabin. Even Economy Class travelers can take advantage of this opportunity.
Having said this, the participation in Qatar’s stopover program is only possible if there are no connection flights within 8 hours of your arrival in Doha. Your transit can’t last longer than 24 hours, and your trip cannot include stops in Kuwait or Muscat. Since Qatar offers visa free of charge, you won’t run into extra costs.
The carrier from the Persian Gulf is very generous when it comes to accommodating their premium passengers. Business Class travelers can take advantage of one free night at a hotel. If you’re flying First Class, your stay can be extended to two nights. Customers that can afford to book The Residence will be roomed in the famous Emirates Palace.
Economy Class passengers will have to pay for their first night. The second one is free.
Singapore Airlines doesn’t offer any free accommodation to anyone. But its Singapore-Stopover-Holiday-Program sill gets you a good deal on Hotels in the southeast Asian island state.
Prices start at around €50 per night. Besides, you will receive free vouchers for city tours and shopping.
Given you’re flying solely with TAP and your trip is a long haul connection, you could be eligible for a night at a hotel, breakfast included. You have to book your room in advance.
Istanbul is a fascinating city. Even though millions of passengers fly via the capital of Turkey, most travelers never get to see the metropolis. A 9 (Business Class) or 12 (Economy Class) hours layover could change this. Turkish Airlines then offers up to 2 free nights at a hotel.
Your transit has to be in between two international flights. You don’t have to book your stay in advance, just go to the hotel counter after your arrival.
The rules for participating in Ethiopian Airlines stopover program a straight forward: if your layover in Addis Ababa is longer than 8 hours – and there is no earlier connection available – every passenger will be accommodated in a hotel. For free.
The airlines will also take care of shuttle service, visa, and even board. To book your stay just find the transit counter once you arrived in Ethiopia.
Passengers flying on discounted Economy Class fares are entitled to stays at a Hotel at a reduced price. Those start around €40. Flexible Economy Class, Premium Economy Class as well as Business Class passengers sleep free of charge.
With Air China, your booking class doesn’t matter. But you have to arrive in China until 1 a.m. with a connection flight departing the next day. In that case, the carrier will accommodate you in a hotel for a maximum of 24 hours. The shuttle to the hotel will also be arranged by the airline.
There are several ways to book your room. You can call the hotline, visit an Air China sales office or proceed to the transfer counter at the airport. You’ll get this deal at the following airports: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Dalian, and Hangzhou. Award flights are not eligible for participation in the stopover program.
China Eastern Airlines
If your flight is departing from London (LHR), Amsterdam (AMS), Paris (CDG), Frankfurt (FRA), Rome (FCO), Madrid (MAD) or Prague (PRG) and you can’t get a same-day connection flight from Shanghai, the airlines will pay for a hotel.
But you have to be on the first flight the very next day, and your visit can’t take longer than 24 hours.
China Southern Airlines
As long as at least one of your flights is an international one and your layover at Guangzhou is between 8 and 48 hours long, you can participate in the Chinese carriers stopover program.
For room reservation, see the transit counter near Gate 50 at Guangzhou airport.
At least one international flight, 8 to 24 hours layover. The conditions for Xiamen Airlines stopover program aren’t too complicated. The carrier will pay for a hotel in Xiamen.
To book your stay you have to call the hotline at +86-5925739500 or +86-59295557.
The 5-star airline Hainan Airlines offers free accommodation to passengers that have a layover longer than 6 hours and a connection flights that departs the next day. Or in cases in which you arrive between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. and have to wait for your connection flights for more than 6 hours.
Attention: According to the information that Hainan Airlines provides on its website, Economy Class passengers have to share a room. We’re not sure if this applies to people traveling alone or is just valid for bookings that include more than one passenger.
If there’s no connection flight on the same day you arrived in Amman, and your layover is somewhere between 8 and 24 hours, Royal Jordanian will take good care of you. You’re entitled to a free stay at a hotel, and the airline will also pay for a visa.
Available for all flights, excluding connections within Arabia.
All passengers with layover times between 8 and 24 hours will receive a free night at a hotel, meals and shuttle service.
Your fare including the fuel surcharge has to exceed $350 per direction. To book your room you have to visit a Srilankan Airlines Sales Office 48 hours before your arrival. You can also arrange everything via phone or email.
There is no official information about EgyptAir’s stopover program. In fact, it is not even evidenced that such a program exists. But there are several reports of passengers that where accommodated at a hotel in Kairo if their layover was longer than 6 hours.
So if you’re in the same situation, it is definitely worth to contact the transit counter and ask for a hotel room. If it works, we’d be happy to read from you in the comment section!
Royal Air Maroc
More than 8 hours layover in Casablanca? Then you might be in for a free night at a hotel.
Some travelers even reported that the accommodation was provided for layovers shorter than 8 hours. A friendly smile at the counter apparently helped a lot.
If you’re traveling on Air Serbia to New York via Belgrade and you have to wait between 8 and 24 hours for your connecting flights, the airlineswill arrange a free night at a hotel and the shuttle to downtown for you.
This offer is only available for certain departure airports. Find more information in this PDF file.
More than 8 hours layover time at Bahrain airport could get you a free or at least highly discounted night at a hotel.
But only if there is no possible connection during the first 8 hours of your stop. And Gulf Air restricts the stopover program for free rooms to expensive booking classes (Economy: Y, H M, L / Falcon Gold: J, C, D). If you purchased a rather cheap ticket, youll have to pay around $55.
In addition to the ‘normal’ stopover program, Gulf Air also offers stopover packages. Those include up to 3 nights in a hotel including breakfast, shuttle service and activities, such as guided tours.
It’s actually incredible how many airlines out there offer a stopover program including free nights at a hotel. And in addition to the ones mentioned here, some carriers seem to have inofficial programs for passengers with long layovers. So we’d recommend you give it a shot and ask for accommodation whenever you have to wait for hours until your connection flight departs.Cover Picture: © Pexels