The wait between connection flights are terrible,boring and frustrating. In my opinion you can only walk the Duty-free area so many times. Many people want to know if it is possible to leave the airport between connection flights. With long lay-overs (7 hours or more) it is possible to leave the airport and to visit the city for the day. How do you go about it? What risks are involved? Do I need to pay extra? These are all valid questions that any traveller must ask.
The first thing to do is to check with your Airline if your ticket allows for leaving the airport and to check in again. Why is this important? Costs of your ticket is calculated on a specific basis. Some airports charge additional taxes and when you book in again, the cost of this might not be included in your ticket. This means you will have to pay an additional amount before you can check-in again. This happened to me before on a South African Airline flight from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg.
If you get the go-ahead from your airline, check the Visa requirements. If you need a Visa then you might have a slight problem. Immigration at some Airports allow you to apply for a day visa. Check before the time.
When you check your luggage in, ask them to check it in to your final destination. This means you won`t have to worry about your luggage. When you have a lot of time (24 hours) between connection flights, some airlines might ask you to collect your luggage at the carousel and then check it in again before your next flight.If you are stuck with your luggage find out if there are security lockers where you can keep your luggage for the time being.
Allow for enough time. I cannot stress this enough. Remember you need to check in again, go through passport control and immigration. You also need to budget for the unexpected. Anything could go wrong. You could get stuck in a traffic jam, miss your bus or have an unexpected delay. Make sure you have enough time.
If the above sounds too stressful, stay at the airport and have a look for a place where you can sleep, have a massage or circle duty free.
If I have left anything out or if you have had an experience with long lay-overs, please share it with us in the comment section.