So you found the best airfare and booked your flights, but it turns out your layover will be much longer than you anticipated. Sound familiar? Before you start packing your airport sleeping kit, we have some good news that may let you rest peacefully during that dreaded layover. Some airlines offer complimentary hotel stays for a night or even two, allowing you to recharge and possibly fit in some sightseeing during your layover.
To qualify for free accommodation, you must meet specific criteria, such as ticket types, minimum fares, and transit times. I’d like to point out that conditions vary from airline to airline, so please check the requirements carefully before booking your flight. Read on, and we’ll tell you which airlines currently offer free hotels and other perks for long layovers.
Updated: 11 May 2023
- Air China
- China Southern Airways
- Emirates Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Gulf Air
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- Sri Lankan Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
If travelling to your destination with Air China requires an extended layover in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Tianjin, or Chongqing, don’t miss the airline’s transit accommodation program. You’ll get a free overnight break in one of Air China’s partner hotels with complimentary breakfast and airport hotel transfer. The airline reserves luxury accommodation for eligible passengers with layovers in Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai.
Ensure that your connecting flight ticket number begins with 999 (transit accommodation offer is not valid for economy superdeal tickets) and that Air China, Shandong Airlines, or Shenzhen Airlines operate all your flights. Upon arrival at the airport, visit the transit service counter or contact the hotel directly for airport pickup.
China Southern Airways offers a one-night complimentary stay in a transit hotel, free meals, and airport transfer for international passengers with 8-48 hour layovers at Guangzhou Airport. Those lucky enough to fly business class will have a choice of somewhat better hotels. If you meet all the requirements (only certain cabin classes qualify), you can book your free accommodation up to 6 months in advance. For last-minute trip arrangements, visit the Guangzhou Airport accommodation counter, and you’ll be assigned a room in one of the available hotels.
Dubai Connect Service is a special transit offer not to be missed if you have a long connection time between flights. Not only will you benefit from complimentary accommodation in one of the best hotels in Dubai—including Copthorne Hotel, Le Meridien Airport Hotel, and Arabian Park Hotel—but the airline will also take care of meal vouchers, airport transfer, and the visa to enter the country. Dubai Connect is valid for transfers between 8 and 24 hours (for economy class) and 6 and 24 hours (for first and business class) when no other connections are available. Your flights to and from Dubai must be operated by Emirates or Qantas and booked at least 24 hours in advance.
With Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi stopover option, you’ll be treated to two free nights in a top-rated hotel when transiting through Abu Dhabi for 18 hours or more. When booking your flight, choose from a list of hotels such as Ramada Abu Dhabi Downtown, Courtyard by Marriott WTC, and Radisson Blu Yas Island. The reservation must be made at least 72 hours before the arrival date. This stopover service applies to economy, business and first-class tickets issued before 1 March 2020 for travel between 20 April and 30 November 2020, except for the periods of major events and conferences.
If you’re travelling with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa with a connection of 8-24 hours, there’s no need to spend your time waiting at the airport. When no earlier connection is available for your flight, the airline will arrange free hotel accommodation, including meals and a shuttle service to your hotel. Business class passengers can choose from the finest hotels in the city, including Hilton Addis Ababa and the Radisson Blu Hotel. Once you arrive at the Bole International Airport, all you need to do is head to the transit desk, and an agent will take care of all arrangements, including a complimentary transit visa.
Gulf Air passengers are entitled to free hotel accommodation from 7 to 24 hours when transiting at Bahrain International Airport. In addition to a complimentary hotel night, the stopover program includes airport transfer, a transit visa, and even a free guided tour of Manama’s capital. To book your stay, call the Worldwide Contact Center up to 24 hours before departure or visit Gulf Air’s Customer Service Desk at the airport for any last-minute trips.
Qatar Airways can arrange free stopover accommodation in Doha, including transit visas, airport transfers, and meal vouchers for travellers with layovers from 8 to 24 hours. The offer is applicable if no shorter connections are available for all flights except Kuwait and Oman. Make sure to book within 72 hours of departure. Alternatively, proceed to the transfer desk at Hamad International Airport to arrange your last-minute transit accommodation.
If you are facing a layover of more than 8 hours in Casablanca, Royal Air Maroc will provide a free hotel room for one night when space is available. The accommodation can be arranged at the transfer desk after arrival at Mohammed V International Airport for passengers who either already have a visa for Morocco or are eligible for visa-free entry.
For passengers with long transit times in Amman, Royal Jordanian may provide everything from hotel accommodation and meals to airport transportation free of charge. You must be travelling on a non-promotional economy or business class fare, with a connection time of at least 8 hours (6 hours for business class) and not exceeding 24 hours. The offer doesn’t apply for travel within the Middle East, except to/from Basra.
Sri Lankan Airlines offers one free night in a hotel for customers with an 8-24 hour stopover in Colombo, under the condition that there are no shorter connections available. The minimum required ticket fare is $350 for one way and $700 for a return trip. Travellers are expected to arrange the transit accommodation through their local Sri Lankan Airlines office, the Global Contact Center, or a travel agent at least 48 hours before arriving at Bandaranaike International Airport.
Turkish Airlines is a carrier that proposes complimentary accommodation services for international passengers with long layovers. You are entitled to a maximum of two nights’ stay in a hotel chosen for you by the airline. To benefit from the program, your stopover must be longer than 12 hours if you fly economy or 9 hours for business class, and there can’t be any connecting flights with shorter transfer times. If you meet all the requirements, head to the hotel desk at Istanbul Airport upon arrival to claim your free hotel room.
Most itineraries operated by XiamenAir that include an international leg with a layover of 6-24 hours qualify for a free hotel room and free meals. Not all fare classes are eligible, so check what class you are ticketed in before requesting a transit hotel. The accommodation standard will depend on your cabin class. You can make all arrangements when you arrive at the Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport transfer service counter.