Long Layover? Ask the Airline Its Policy on Free Hotel Rooms

There used to be a somewhat more common practice whereby airlines would put you up for free in a hotel if you had an exceptionally long layover between connections – both legs of the connection being booked on the airline in question. For each airline that offered this the specifics of the conditions that must be met in order to receive the free room varied.

It was a benefit that wasn’t useful all that often and was only in play under very specific conditions – but still a nice little “hidden” perk, and a potentially valuable benefit should you find yourself needing it.

Jamal1280 has heard rumors of this perk and would like to know if any airlines still offer it:

I’ve heard different things about airlines offering free overnight hotel stays for long, unavoidable layovers. Some people say it’s an international law; others say it’s not law, so not all airlines do it, but some will if you ask the airline for a hotel room. Have any of you actually done this before? If so, what did you have to do?

Several fellow travelers relay accounts of being offered free rooms by an assortment of airlines when faced with unexpectedly long layovers. Among those who have enjoyed the benefit is allanghouston, but he helpfully advises not to take an offer for granted:

I have flown through Incheon with Korean Air before and was offered a free room at the Hyatt, just five minutes walk outside the terminal. That was in 2008 but I also got free accommodation in May with China Southern when I passed through Guangzhou and ages ago in Bangkok with Thai airways. Airlines aren’t great at informing you of this. I’d suggest searching the Korean air website for transit accommodation or emailing them directly.

And ctthunder86 provides a link to a page with information about airlines that offer free accommodations for long stopovers – though some of the links from within that page no longer appear to work.

The moral of the thread being – if you are planning a trip and believe there is the possibility of a long layover between connections, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to contact the airline on which you are traveling and ask about its policy – particularly if you are traveling with an Asian airline. In some cases, and on some fares, it is still possible that the airline will pay for your hotel.

It might just mean the difference between catching a few winks in a bed vs. trying to get some sleep while seated at a gate in a noisy airport.

Read the thread in its entirety: Question about free hotel for long layovers

Image by Neil Rickards. CC BY 2.0.

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