by Vincent I. Porter
Sometimes they are planned, but sometimes they just happen to be unavoidable; long layovers. Iceland is one of the countries that has actually made a segment of its tourism industry depend on it. Icelandair and Wow both offer travellers the opportunity to include a stopover in the country at no additional cost in airfare. Of course, you will have to arrange your own accommodation and transfers; but these are often included in package deals, or you can find some great discounts during the booking process.
An airline that takes it even further is Emirates. For its passengers who are forced to have a long connection because of the airline’s schedule, Emirates will provide accommodation and transfers to help you pass the time and freshen up during your stay. If you’re flying Business or First Class, this service is made available to you during layovers that last more than 6 hours; for economy passengers, you’ll have to have at least an 8-hour layover. The airline calls this service “Dubai Connect”.
In both cases as described above, be sure to check that you meet all the visa requirements for these countries; because you will be leaving the airport. Of course, even if the airline doesn’t put you up in a hotel, or you didn’t get a stopover deal as part of your booking, there are times when you just happen to have a long layover. There are definitely airports in the world where this isn’t a hardship at all. Singapore’s Changi airport’s strategy is to be the world’s favourite airport; perhaps unofficially so, but from our experience it is a pleasure to fly to and through. Whether you want to take a dip in the pool, or catch a movie; there’s plenty to keep you occupied. You don’t even have to walk down stairs if you take the slide!