Layover Freebies

How to score Hotels, Tours, Meals and Visas FREE at the expense of an airline.

Delays and cancelled flights may award the above, but this article is dedicated to the extra long transit times passengers encounter at international hubs waiting for connections.

Advice: Every airline is different to the offer they provide passengers. When booking tickets enquire from the agents or the call centre about maximum layover times and what benefit the airlines are willing to extend to its passengers.

If you one of them amazing race last minute type travellers like myself and find yourself in a all too long transit time to be spent cooped up in a lounge or overpriced airport mall in a foreign city, do this: head over to the information desk / hotel desk / tourist office / transfer desk of the airline and enquire what do they offer transit passengers and don’t be shy to ask about free wi-fi and free shower facilities to wipe off that post – flight look.

There are requirements to be met namely:

– The length of the transit times.

– The airline you are flying with.

–  What city is your final destination.

If you flying Emirates via Dubai with a layover of  4 hours plus, you are entitled to a free meal voucher. To collect the voucher go to the Transfer Desk at H2.

If you flying Lufthansa via Munich you can score complimentary coffee and tea + daily newspaper in the security area of Terminal 2.

UAE based airlines such as Emirate, Qatar and Etihad also offers complimentary visas for layovers, some offer hotels with transfers and breakfasts free, some at a charge.

Turkish Airlines provides free hotels if you meet the following requirements (cash paid or award ticket):

1.If flying Turkish Airlines into and out of Istanbul.
2.If You transit in Turkey with your origin and destination is a international city.
3.Your layover is 10+ hours for economy class or 7+ hours for business class
4.The 10+ hour or 7+ hour layover is forced according Turkish Air’s flight schedule with no options of earlier flights.

Here’s the airlines Terms and conditions: A complimentary hotel accommodation (maximum 2 nights) will be provided to our valuable passengers when there are more than 10 hours (for economy cabin passengers) and 7 or more hours (for business cabin passengers) waiting during their international connecting flights due to Turkish Airlines’ schedule structure. This service is not applicable when there is a shorter connection available within the time frame mentioned above. The first and the connecting flights must be with Turkish Airlines. All passengers must hold a confirmed reservation for the first and the connecting flights. Complimentary accommodation will be arranged with Turkish Airlines’ corporate partners and will be provided through the “Hotel Desk” located after the customs’ check point at the arrival. Passengers must check for any visa requirements when entering Turkey. In the event where a visa is not granted, Turkish Airlines assumes no responsibility for providing complimentary hotel accommodation. For further information, please call +90 212 4440849.

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The Hotel Desk at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul is located next to Starbuck’s near the Airport Hotel.

You could score some decent 3-4 star lodging with brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham and Radisson. Once at the hotel ask the desk clerk to upgrade pending your elite status in the chain, points will not post as this will be booked via a third party.

If you qualify you will receive a voucher for all of the above from the Hotel Desk.

Unfortunately you cannot pre-book a hotel. You have to be present at the Hotel Desk.

Hotel Desk contact details: +90 212 463 63 63 / ext. 12426-15532

Email : or

Another TIP: you could possibly stay for 2 nights on both the outbound and return flights for a total of 4 nights in 1 roundtrip flight.

Turkish Airlines also proves a free tour of Istanbul if you can get into 3 different time slots available. Ask the Hotel Desk for more info.

Turkish Airlines is a Star Alliance member, so your voyager miles can be further enhanced using this trick.






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