We recently wrote about airports that are offering free entertainment options for long layovers. It’s interesting to note that airlines are also promoting options for travelers to stay longer to explore certain cities. A growing list of airlines provide either discounted or free accommodations and activities to encourage you to turn your layover into a free stopover.
Stopover options in Europe
Brussels Airline has announced a new layover option in an effort to encourage travelers to stop and visit Brussels instead of simply passing through. Travelers on certain routes can opt to stay from one to five days with no additional flight cost. Belgium Stop Over also includes free access to certain museums and sites.
Finnair is offering stopovers of 5 hours to 5 days on any round trip to Asia through Helsinki. The stopover is available either on your way to your destination or on your return from that destination.
TAP Portugal advertises their free stopover option on either one way or return long haul flights. The stay can last from one to five days in either Porto or Lisbon. TAP has partnered with certain hotels that offer special rates and with various restaurants offering a free bottle of wine.
Stopovers in Canada
Air Canada is encouraging visitors to stay in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver with offers on any layover that’s 6 hours or longer. You can stopover on either your outbound flight or your return flight or both. If flying Basic, Standard, Flex or Comfort, hotels start at as low as $49/night. If flying Latitude, Premium Economy or Business Class hotels are free or at reduced rates.
Stopovers in The Mideast
Emirates Airline provides an extensive (120 page) Dubai Stopover Brochure that details their services. These services include meet and assist facilities at the airport, return transfers to your hotel, free WiFi, daily breakfast, and assistance with 4-day and 30-day visas – at an extra cost.
Qatar Airways entices you with a visa-free entry for passengers from 80 countries. The Qatar Airways program, called +Qatar, provides Qatar Air travelers a complimentary hotel stay if they are connecting in Doha for over 12 hours. Their website indicates that bookings must be made by Jan 31, 2019, for travel before April 30, 2019, though I’m betting the offer will still be available after Jan 31.
Etihad Air allows a free stopover for up to two nights when flying through Abu Dhabi. The first night is at a discounted rate and the 2nd night is free.
Stopovers in Asia
Singapore Air has partnered with Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to create Singapore Stopover Holiday packages. The packages include free rides on the city’s hop on/hop off bus and hotel nights from S$40.
Air China permits a stopover for up to 72 hours when flying through Beijing or Shanghai. They also waive the need to pay the visa fee.
Japan Airline enables up to two stopovers on a journey through Tokyo or Osaka.
During your free stopover, also check out free city tours that may be available for travelers on a layover.
Next time you book a flight, consider one with a connecting option and then search for stopovers in your transfer city. You might just score two trips for the price of one!