Most of the time, when choosing your flights, taking nonstop routes should be the highest priority. However, there are some occasions where adding a connection can make sense for some travelers. Using our expertise and experience, we’ve put together a short list of examples to share with our guests.
Here’s a summary a glance:
- Cost savings can be substantial
- Break up the monotony of extra-long haul trips
- Relish the extra small moments
- The choice of staying with a carrier you prefer
1. Cost savings can be substantial
The most common reason we ever suggest voluntary connections is if we can save you money. When making these decisions, there are a lot of other factors we consider such as flight schedule and avoiding backtracking on the route.
There is no formula to determine the exact amount of savings available since fares are based on market conditions and fluctuate frequently, but in some cases, you can save a few hundred dollars per person. When you consider a nice centrally-located 5-star hotel can be booked for about $200-$300 in a layover city such as Hong Kong or Tokyo, the cost savings can make sense.
2. Break up the monotony of extra-long haul trips
If you’re flying to a far flung destination such as Bangkok, Saigon, or Manila, connecting in an airport with good amenities can go a long way to make sure you’re more refreshed on arrival. Choosing to make a slightly longer connection in one of these airports means you can use the facilities to nap more comfortably, sit down for a meal, or shower.
3. Enjoy the Extra Small Moments
This one is a bit tricky since advance planning is required and you need to know the city you’re connecting in. However, if you are feeling adventurous, you can get out of the airport and explore the local city. From creating your own mini food tour to browsing local markets, this is a great way to get a taste of some of the most exciting cities in the world.
Anthony Bourdain’s show the Layover was based on this idea. While Bourdain’s program uses 48 hours as a stopover time, keep in mind most airlines will only consider connections lasting less than 24 hours as a same day connection. If you voluntarily book a connection longer than 24 hours, the fare will typically be higher.
Popular hubs in Asia which are ideal for this type of travel are HKG (Hong Kong), HND (Haneda), SIN (Singapore), since they are well-connected to downtown areas. NRT (Tokyo), TPE (Taipei), and ICN (Seoul) are also worth considering, but they are further out from city centers.
4. The choice of staying with a carrier you prefer
If we consider the example of flying from San Francisco to Shanghai, we have two choices for airlines who fly this route direct: United and China Eastern. However, if you have a mileage account with OneWorld carriers and are open to flying indirectly, you can choose American Airlines or Cathay Pacific in order to accumulate mileage or stay with a carrier you are familiar with.