Overseas travel is resuming with a zest now that the Covid cases have been halted, and several airlines are providing some fairly attractive airfare offers. This summer, its clients will be tempted by choice, whether it’s free stopovers in wonderful destinations, free tickets to some of the world’s top-rated attractions, or even hotel stays. Entry requirements in several places have reopened entirely, and the cost of travel is soaring due to unprecedented demand. So airlines offering these programs relieve the stress of the traveler.
Long layovers are an excellent opportunity to cross another trip off your bucket list, generally at no extra expense. It allows connecting travelers to experience all of the city’s top attractions before boarding their last trip. Some locations are notable ‘layover’ hotspots, notably in the Middle East, where West and East-bound routes intersect. Istanbul and Dubai have gained popularity as stopping hubs in recent years, owing to their great connectivity and direct access to many locations in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. As the appeal of these global cities grew, so did their so-called layover programs.
Some prominent airlines offer lucrative layover programs. These can range from free overnights near the airport to substantial hotel discounts and entry fee exemptions for a variety of tourist attractions. It may sound too good to be true, but these ‘on the house’ stopovers are genuine, and they will come in handy now that travel is becoming more expensive. Are you curious about which airlines have joined the trend?
Emirates – On Dubai Routes:
The high-end airline has a very liberal stopover policy in place: any travelers transiting Dubai between 10 and 24 hours, regardless of cabin class, are eligible for the program.
Those that fly Emirates and stay in Dubai for an extended period can now enjoy:
- Free lodging
- Transportation to and from the airport
- Visa fees are waived
- Use of the Dubai Connect Lounge
Furthermore, the airline has introduced a new initiative that allows travelers who book flights through their website to receive complimentary tickets to the top tourist destinations in the United Arab Emirates.
Etihad Airways – On Abu Dhabi Routes:
Etihad Airways has relaunched its Etihad Stopovers with steep discounts. The initiative automatically provides Abu Dhabi-bound guests traveling with the carrier with a 40% discount at a partnering five-star hotel or a one-to-two-night free stay in a three or four-star hotel.
Etihad is also launching its new Transit Connect service. The project is similar to Etihad Stopovers in that it allows clients on ‘qualifying itineraries’ to reserve a free hotel near Abu Dhabi International Airport for aircraft connections between 10 and 24 hours.
Turkish Airlines – On Istanbul Routes:
When traveling via Istanbul for more than 20 hours, Turkey’s flag airline allows clients to arrange hotel accommodations for free. For up to two days, Business Class travelers can choose from a choice of five-star hotels, while Economy Fare ticket holders can choose a four-star hotel. However, visa costs and transportation are not included.
In case you haven’t heard, Turkey is now completely open for business, having eliminated all Covid-related entry rules to welcome travelers regardless of nationality or vaccination status (though visa restrictions still apply). Transiting Istanbul on a Turkish Airlines aircraft is as straightforward as it has always been.
Qatar – On Doha Routes:
Qatar, which will host the World Cup later this year, is keen to make a positive impression on international visitors (budget travelers included). Naturally, this entails increasing Qatar Airways’ desirability as a flag carrier, with a significant Stopover discount that will make journeys to Doha much more accessible.
Iberia – On Madrid Routes:
Although Iberia does not provide complimentary hotel stays or airport transfers like Etihad or Emirates, their ‘Hola Madrid’ Stopover program is quite popular among transiting travelers in Spain. Passengers may stay in the Spanish capital, for up to 6 nights at no additional cost. Other incentives apply during the extended layover, including up to a 40% discount on lodging and two days of free public transportation.
TAP Air Portugal – On Lisbon, Porto Routes
TAP, a Portuguese airline, is also providing free lengthy city layovers this summer. Tourists who book TAP flights connecting to mainland Portugal have the choice of staying for up to five days in one of two of the most popular Portuguese cities: the scenic Lisbon or the contemporary Porto.