Eli5: how do long-haul flights with layovers work?

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For context, I have never taken a long-haul flight with multiple destinations. I intend to travel from Bangkok to Istanbul and then to London on a 32 hours flight.

I have 22 hours of layover in Istanbul. If I get my visa for Istanbul, book hotel for a day, can I get out of the airport? Will I have to collect my luggage again or will it be in the other aircraft? I feel so embarrassed asking this lol.

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It all depends.

If you go to say, Bankok Airlines and say you are traveling to LONDON then your bag will continue on to London. If you wish to exit and come back, you may need a visa, and you should communicate that with the person whom you are handing your baggage to. There may be additional fees as you are essentially re-checking your bag and exiting, and there maybe rules regarding this.

For instance, If you are an American and fly through Mexico into Cuba, you might not get as many problems vs flying direct in/out of Cuba from the USA. Flying through a middle country can make you a person of interest to varying governments and where you are going to.

I would ask the gate agent before your first flight, if you can pick up your bag in Istanbul for the 22 hour layover (if that’s what you wanted). For me, I might just check it all the way to London and bring a little day bag on the plane so I don’t have to pick it up. It should be in London when you land at the baggage office most likely.

If it is Bangkok to London on one ticket the baggage checked in and put in the hold of the aircraft will be automatically put on the plane you take from Istanbul to London and you will pick it up at the baggage hall in London when you get off the plane. You will just have your hand luggage with you in Istanbul.

If the layover is a long one yes you can usually exit the airport and do something else. Just make sure you are back in time for the next flight.

To double check just ask the airline before gong to the airport or ask the check in staff at Bangkok when you check in.

I flew from Dallas to Tokyo to Singapore with an 8 hour layover in Tokyo. I was able to leave the airport and go hang out in Tokyo for a few hours. If everything is through the same airline, your bags should go straight through to your final destination. Just make sure to check all the entry requirements and paperwork for your layover destination. You have to go through immigration and customs like everyone else.

This is something that most of the time is set up like most of the other commenters state here. One exception can be Iceland air. They have a really cool setup for people transferring to or from Europe from the United States (and likely other countries as well) where you can take an “extended layover” in their lovely country! They allow you to take anywhere from 1-7 days as a layover in Iceland. They will book you through but in that case they give you your check luggage so you have it while you are there. I’ve taken advantage of the extended layover several times and had a wonderful time touring Iceland each time. They do make you recheck your luggage, but mostly that’s for your own convenience.

When you check in at the airport, just ask if you can check your luggage to your final destination. Since its less than a day, I’m going to assume yes, and they’ll be there at the baggage carousle for you flight in london.

For istanbul, google “turkey online visa” and just apply and pay for it online. Then you just show your confirmation with your passport to the border control agent. Near one of the exits of the airport, there is a bag storage area. Just follow the signs. You can google the prices. If they didn’t let you check your luggage through to london, you can store them there. If you’re taking a taxi to your hotel, just take it with you. Follow the taxi sign, walk out, there is a queue for the taxis. The istanbul airport is pretty simple to navigate.