Planning air travel, you might discover that there is no direct connection between your point of departure and destination, or the direct flights are fully reserved. A transit flight offers a great solution, which often costs less. Indeed, you can check all possible connections on Flightradars24.co.uk. Still, such flight takes more time and more thorough preparation.
Tickets and check-in
You can reserve a transit flight in two ways:
- Buy a single ticket from the airline for a full voyage.
- Buy separate tickets for the first, second, and the next flight.
The single ticket means the airline is responsible for the transfer all the way to the final destination. In most cases, you don’t have to perform additional check-in or deal with customs (though the inner rules of the transit airport might differ — check it beforehand). The boarding slips are already with you, so all you need to do is come to the zone and board the next plane when it arrives. If the waiting time lasts more than 8 hours, many airlines offer a room at the hotel.
In case you bought separate tickets for each flight, you need a plan:
- Plan the voyage and check the details (the time of flight, late flight percentage, airport congestion, etc.) using Plane Finder or a similar tracker.
- Check that there is enough time. Consider the need for check-in and luggage receipt and check-in at the transit airport. Learn the scheme of the airport and whether you arrive and depart from the same terminal.
- Check if a transit visa is needed.
Transit Zone and Transit Visa
The transit zone is a special waiting hall for passengers who arrive on one board and depart from another. If you have a single ticket, depending on the country and airport rules, you might not be allowed to leave the zone for walking around or going to the city. To enable this option, you must apply for a transit visa.
A transit visa is necessary in the following cases:
- If you don’t have a single ticket and need to undergo the full check-in procedure.
- If you have to go to another airport for the next flight.
- If you have to go to another terminal for the next departure.
- If you have time and plan on visiting the city while waiting for the next flight.
- If the country/airport rules require it.
In some countries (e.g., the USA, Canada) is required for all international passengers. In others (e.g., Great Britain), the visa is needed if the waiting time takes more than 24 hours. There are also countries (e.g., Singapore, China) allowing the passengers free access to the city for up to 3 days without any additional document.
Luggage in Transit. How Do You Track a Plane Carrying Your Bags?
Luggage delivery and check-in can be different for a flight. There are several ways the luggage can be handled:
- The passenger travels by a single ticket. The luggage is delivered likewise. The baggage transfer is performed by the airline/airport.
- The passenger has a single ticket, but the luggage is brought to the destination by another aircraft. In this case, to keep track of your bags, you’ll have to ask the airline about the board carrying your luggage. How do you track a plane? Use the same service to find out where the board with your luggage is.
- If the next flight by a single ticket is scheduled out of another airport, you’ll have to receive your luggage and deliver it to the next point of departure by yourself.
- If you travel by separate tickets, the luggage transfer is your responsibility. You’ll have to receive it, deliver to the zone of your next flight and register for a new flight.