Travel infographic: the math behind a flight transfer (with luggage)

Lately I get a lot of messages asking if they have enough time to do a flight transfer at this or that airport.

The truth is that I do not usually stop to think about these issues, I like airports and I always prefer long transfers instead of running from place to place. But as it is an option that is not always available, here it is: the unwritten formula to know if I have time to make a connection between flights.

I guarantee it’s not computer science, most airports around the world work the same way. Just one huge exception: USA, where TSA controls are simply absurd.

How to measure the time needed to do a transfer with luggage at almost any airport

Some samples of transfer times:

Just for your reference, these are some transfer times I’ve done in the recent years:

  • Gatwick transfer: I did a transfer from an Wow flight to a Ryanair flight, with checked-in luggage in 1 hour and 45 minutes. I had to wait in line to do the check in with Ryanair. Everything else went smooth, same Airport terminal.
  • Stansted: I did a transfer from a Ryanair flight to an Easyjet flight with checked-in luggage in 1 hour and 20 minutes. The line for Easyjet check-in was empty, so no waiting there, but the security control was really slow and I got checked twice because of the electronics I was carrying on my hand luggage. Passport control on arrival was super fast because I was carrying an european electronic passport.
  • Madrid: I’ve had to wait up to 1 hour to get my luggage from an international non-Shenghen flight up to 1 hour at Terminal 4 (you arrive to T4S but pick it up at T4).
  • Narita: I didn’t do a transfer, but passport control + customs took almost 1 hour and a half because there was a huge queue at passport control and I got my bags checked.

  What about you? Which was the best transfer time you ever did? And the worst?

trucosviajeros

I've been travelling all my life. In 2011, I decided to open trucosviajeros, an Spanish travel blog with a focus on technology and travel tips to make us travel more and travel better. Now, I write in English and Spanish. Outside of trucosviajeros.com, I am a marketing consultant with focus on strategy and B2B marketing on digital environments. Find me online at @trucosviajeros and @travelto5

One Comment

  1. Great review. Another airport I don’t like for transferring not-connected flights is Paris CDG… it is simply absurd how slow they are on all lines (passport check, check-in, security measures…). However, sometimes I use it because I like flying with AirFrance… If only they had a smoother airport!

    Favorite airport for transferring flights is Munich. Clean, quiet, easy. 😀

Any ideas? questions? Let me know what you think