how to plan a layover

Not all Layovers are Created Equal Marathon Ever ran a marathon through JFK, Heathrow or Hong Kong's International Airport?  I have, unintentionally. It's much easier running marathons with workout gear, Gatorade stands and cheering fans versus fully clothed, parched and stressed.

A Sweaty Flight Earlier this year, I arrived at my flight to Istanbul sweaty---awesome way to start a flight---thanks to my race through Heathrow. I didn't give myself enough time. I learned my lesson after begging the Turkish Airways check-in agents to re-open the desk and respectfully dodging the 100-person-long security line-up, followed by a brisk 30 min run from security to my flight---and that's not even half the story.

Not all Layovers are Equal Travel professionals know that not all layovers are created equal. If you're a DIY traveler booking your flight path online, you may not know the ins and outs of layover planning. It's not worth risking a slightly earlier arrival at your destination to try and beat the system of deplaning, customs, baggage and security. If you're about to book an international trip online, heed the timing recommendations below.

Layover Timing Recommendations Small Regional Airports - allow 1.5 hours Domestic Airports - allow 2 hours International Airports - allow 2.5 hours Multi-Terminal International Airports - allow 3 hours


  • Bigger, multi-terminal airports provide more opportunities for delays
  • What are the security regulations for each leg of your flight? For example, Israel's immigration is known for very thorough questioning, so being at the airport at least 3 hours in advance is essential.
  • Are you transferring to the same or a different carrier?
  • Where are you going?

[photo by chadmagiera]