Reader Question: Stopover Versus Transfer – What Is The Difference?

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A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question about a couple of words that likely creates confusion among readers.

Air Mauritius

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Here’s the email from the reader:

When Airfare of the Day is published, what is the difference between a Stopover and a Transfer?

There are issues when these two words are used interchangeably and often incorrectly. Then there is also a “layover” that has no meaning in the airline lingo.


There is a connecting point in your itinerary (can be multiple), and your stay in the city is less than 24 hours (can be up to 23 hours and 59 minutes). You can leave the airport and stay in a hotel.

There are no departure taxes or immigration fees that can be high when originating from specific airports such as London.

Visa requirements are often waived for transfers, but then you are often not allowed to leave the airport transit area.


Your stay in connecting points is 24 hours or more. Additional airport and other fees have been collected at the time of ticketing.

Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa.

There is another term that relates to stopovers – HIP (Higher Intermediate Point), and here it gets quite complicated.

You need to check the fare rules IF stopovers are allowed per the routing table or MPM (Maximum Permitted Mileage) AND whether HIP is waived or not. If the HIP is not waived, the fare is likely going to be very expensive and, although the fare rules allow stopovers, they are not economically feasible.

If HIP is not waived, the following applies:

Let’s assume that your trip is from London to Tokyo with a fare that allows a stopover in Dubai. If HIP is waived, you only need to pay some additional taxes for the stopover.

If HIP is not waived, the system will check the price for London – Dubai, and Dubai – Tokyo separately, and the higher one applies for the entire itinerary.


You have to be very careful with the terms uses when it comes to air travel. Many misuse these transfer and stopover words and use them interchangeably (and sometimes even use layover that has absolutely no meaning).

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