Pointshogger readers of frequently asked us whether it makes more sense to choose a direct flight or a layover. So today, I will list out some of the factors that I consider when making this decision.
Most people would rather pay a little more to jump on a direct flight to get their vacation started and avoid all that unnecessary waiting in a foreign airport. If your layover isn’t long enough for you to leave the airport for a few hours, you could be stuck inside until you have reached your final destination. Now who would be excited for that?
Personally, I am a huge fan of airports and find them extremely breathtaking. Commercial aircrafts flying in and out of the airport excites me, allowing me to spend hours at the airport. But that’s just me.
Reasons why I like Layovers
I like to think of layovers as a memorable part of my vacation. Recollecting the last time I had a layover in an airport where I wish I could stay a little longer was the Hong Kong International Airport before reaching my destination in Guangzhou, China. First of all, the airport is much larger than the ones we have here in Canada. Second of all, the concept of stepping foot onto an airport which was completely built by man is extravagant.
Inside the terminals, you can find shopping, dining and professional services. Dining experience ranges from authentic Hong Kong style dishes, local bakery to fast food offered by both western and local vendors. Shopping options includes local retail brands and duty free shops which offer local food products and souvenirs. It is like you are travelling in the city without actually having to make the ride into the heart of it to experience the culture.
If you have enough time, you can even leave the airport to visit some attractions for a few hours. Usually, most airports have public transportation or subways which go directly into downtown. I suggest planning your itinerary ahead of time so that you can maximize your duration at the layover city.
The final reason why I love long layovers is to thoroughly experience airport lounges. I always feel like there isn’t enough time for those, especially if you would like to try out the spa treatments, have a few drinks, and take a shower to freshen up. Airport lounges are intended to bring relaxation to the busy traveller, yet at times, we find ourselves struggling to maximize our experience in them. With a long layover, we can finally take advantage of all the benefits airport lounges were meant to provide to us.
Direct flights are great, don’t get me wrong. If you can get to your destination quicker, I would definitely recommend it. But having a long layover is like exploring another city without actually having to pay additional fees to do it.