Multi City International AirfareInternational airfare for several cities
Air carriers offering free intermediate stops
Many large carriers provide free or low-cost stopping points in hubs for passengers to fly to other endpoints. Intermediate trips are overnights or multi-nights in travel destination - small trips on the way to other parts of the globe. Another is to allow clients to make bookings, give or take a few dollars with multiple city travel at low return fares.
According to the transporter, you may have to do some preliminary work to organise a free intermediate stop. Call centre dial-in may be necessary, or a single trip on one airline's reservation page for multiple cities may be sufficient. These are some of the best carriers that provide free (and almost free) stops at key locations, as well as tips on how to make a reservation.
Icelandair is probably the best known of all the big carriers for its advantages in free stopovers. Reykjavik has long promoted stations in its Reykjavik hubs at no extra charge beyond a regular return fare. Please use the airline's reservation machine and choose the Iceland Intermediate Stop button to make your reservation.
Comparing the price of multi-city trips with accommodation in Reykjavik to the price of short stay trips, I found the same price. It' a real free stop. Use either JAL's Multi-City Reservation Tools and choose "Stopover", or, if you are planning a short journey, try the default Round Trip Reservation Tools, which will display Tokyo JAL Club nights when available.
Comparing multi-city fares to roundtrip fares on exactly the same date, I encountered a small threshold with the former; when that happens, call JAL to make your booking. However, as the carrier is promising a free intermediate stop over, a sales agent should help you organise this Tokyo Hopover pass at the same fare as a similar round tour.
Singapore, like Icelandair and JAL, is one of the few large carriers to offer a real free stop in its hubs. Testing routes from the US to some of the cities Singapore serves, I found the same prices for round-trip and return flights and for multi-city reservations that included a stop-over in the city state.
Thus, for example, the ticket from San Francisco to Beijing with a brief flight in Hong Kong and an over night stop in Singapore totalled 1,580 US dollars; a suitable route without a stop was the same for the same cost. Like Emirates, Singapore is promoting a Stops Bundle that contains accommodation and transfer. Emirates connects 140 cities through its Dubai hubs and promotes a stop-over pack that offers free visa for up to 36hrs.
However, the reservation procedure is not that easy - especially for those of us who are used to purchasing all our trips on-line. First of all you have to buy a plane; you can do this via the "Multiple Destinations/Stopovers" checkbox on the Emirates reservation machine. Secondly, go to a tourist agency or go to an Emirates agency to arrange and settle the Intermediate Stop Offer packet which contains accommodation, bed and breakfasts, various trips and this free entry ticket.
Comparing multi-city Dubai stop-overs with scheduled round-trip fares, I found that fares are almost the same. One return flight from New York to Mumbai costs $1,361. 27, while the same route with a two-day stay in Dubai amounted to $1,429.07. Obviously Turkish Airlines does not promote free transit destinations, but like many of the airlines on this page, it does offer multi-city tours with hub-city stations at rates equal to (or sometimes lower than) those of traditional round trips.
Searching for return flights from Washington, D.C., to Beijing with a flight in Istanbul, the Turkish Airlines hub, I found seats for only $1,542. I found my multi-city quest with a break resulted in a better value for money: $1,407 for the journey from D.C. to Beijing on the same days, with a two-day break in Istanbul.
Thanks to its comprehensive worldwide services, Türkisch is one of my favourite non-stop carriers. The Hawaiian Airline is another airline that does not promote a real free transit stop for all your flight. However, when I did a test quest for rates, I found that in many cases you can spend a few additional nights in Honolulu for a little more than a return like this.
One of the main reasons why this is so appealing is that it provides travellers with a break from the tropics in the middle of extensive trans-Pacific air routes. Buying a Los Angeles to Taipei tickets with a two-day stop in Honolulu cost $1,436. Outward and return journey 92. Hawaiian's multi-city reservation engine lets you create your own stop-over route.
A Finnair agent said: "We are offering a free intermediate stop in Helsinki, apart from the cheapest tariff categories (tickets with the least flexibility). There are 2 million travellers via Helsinki, so there is a great deal of scope to develop the stopovers even further in the area. "Your stop in the Finnish capitol may be better than free - it might be less expensive than a normal round tour.
On the Finnair website, my test quest for rates resulted in a much cheaper cost for a Helsinki stoppedover than a similar Helsinki connection. My return fare was $1,296.36 with a brief stay in London. However, a multi-city journey from JFK to Amsterdam with an accommodation in Helsinki resulted in a return journey of 897 dollars.
Several years ago, there was a page on the Air France website promoting free stops in the airline's Paris city. However, it appears that the French company no longer sells free Paris stops for routes to other cities. What then results from a test query on the Air France website?
Even though there were no free breaks during the test booking, multi-city tariffs with overnight stays (or longer stops) in Paris were only a hint more costly than return trips. 81, against a $1,130 round trip. A multi-city finder on the Air France website shows tariffs by season and not by fare, making it hard to find the best itinerary.
Did you book a free flight stop for the carrier?