Self-transfer travel hack
The self-transfer travel hack makes travel cheaper by combining separate flights, train, or bus tickets into unique itineraries.
Example: A direct ticket from New York to Prague is more expensive than 2 separate tickets New York → Amsterdam and Amsterdam → Prague, so we book you these separate flights.
What’s the catch?
This isn’t an official itinerary offered by the carriers and they won’t take responsibility for the unofficial connections with self-transfer.
- You might need to leave the visa-free zone (the area behind security control, where the gates are) during layover and enter the layover country to recheck your baggage, check in for your next flight, change terminals, or simply because of the airport’s design.
- If there are delays or disruptions during travel — like a delayed flight that will cause you to miss your second flight — the carrier who caused the disruption will only help you with flights that are part of their reservation. They won’t help you find a replacement or issue a refund for any other flights you missed. And the same applies to any extra compensation you might be legally entitled to — only the disrupted carrier reservation will be taken into consideration.
💡 To stay covered in situations like this, we recommend adding the Kiwi.com Guarantee. With Kiwi.com Guarantee, we’ll cover another flight to your destination for you or give you a full instant refund.
Check this article to find out more about your rights when your trip gets canceled, changed, or delayed.
Rechecking your baggage between flights
If you have checked baggage or if the airline takes your cabin baggage into the cargo hold, you will need to “recheck” it. Here’s how to do it:
- Collect your baggage at the transfer airport. Go to the Baggage claim area and look for the belt with your previous flight number.
- Get out of the visa-free zone and take your baggage to the check-in counter (or baggage drop) for your next flight.
- Go through security and customs to the gate of your next flight — just like you did at your departure airport.
⚠️ If the self-transfer is too short, we won’t offer you checked baggage at all — you would not have enough time to recheck it. You’ll see this before you book your trip.
Check-in for your next flight
We usually offer to check you in online and send you your boarding passes in advance. But if you do not have your boarding pass for your next flight, you will need to go out of the visa-free zone to check in.
Going through immigration
You might need to leave the visa-free zone even if you don’t have checked baggage and are already checked in for the next flight.
At some airports, you go through passport control and immigration right after arrival. If you need a visa or documents related to COVID-19 to enter the country, you will also need it for the self-transfer.
ℹ️ You’ll need the same documents as if the transfer country were your final destination. You’ll find more info here.
Transfer between different airport terminals
At some large airports, you might also need to travel to a different terminal. The terminals might not be connected.
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