World’s best airports for a stopover

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Flight comparison site has compiled a list of the top 10 airports for long-haul and transit passengers looking for a short stopover.

Airlines often offer free stopover programs that not only enable passengers to save on the ticket price but also give them the opportunity to squeeze in an extra destination at no cost.

Findings from a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults have shown that a stopover may be the answer to avoiding this long-haul stress, with over half (54%) of those surveyed preferring to turn their stopover into a short holiday.

To find the best place for an extended holiday, has looked at the airports most often used as changeover hubs, and has compiled a top 10.

To do so, they looked at the cost and distance of a transfer from the airport to the nearest city; type of public transfer available; minutes to the city center; number of destinations the airport has flights to; and if the airline offers a free stopover.

Paul Hopkinson, marketing director for Netflights, said, “When we looked at what UK travelers value in a stopover destination, 34% said a short distance from the airport was the most important factor. Naturally, you don’t want to spend any longer in transit – and a quick dash from the airport to the stopover city helps you maximize your time there.”

Here are the 10 best stopover destinations, ranked according to their stopover suitability:

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands – Schiphol
Schiphol airport ticked key boxes with its proximity to central Amsterdam and a wide and well-priced variety of transport to get passengers there. The Netherlands’ flag carrier KLM also offers free stopovers, so you can enjoy the city before going on to reach one of the many destinations it offers, including Thailand, the Bahamas and Bangladesh.

2. Singapore – Singapore Changi Airport
The airport itself is an attraction. It features a free cinema, a video game area and even a butterfly garden for those looking to kill a couple of hours. For those with more than five hours to spare, there are free guided tours of Singapore that will give passengers a good insight into what this modern city has to offer.

3. Lisbon, Portugal – Lisbon Portela Airport
This is one of the most popular destinations in Europe right now. TAP airlines offer the possibility to stop for up to five nights at no extra cost, along with some special deals and rates for hotels and city attractions.

4. Bangkok, Thailand – Suvarnabhumi Airport
Many tour operators have transit programs for Bangkok, Thailand, that offer a transfer from Suvarnabhumi Airport to a hotel for a two-night stay, along with guided visits to some of the major tourist attractions.

5. Beijing, China – Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing Airport has everything you need to kill your time within the airport. But if you have longer than 8-14 hours the introduction of the 72-hour visa means you can explore Beijing during a short stay. Air China and China Southern offer a free extended stopover in this exciting metropolis.

6. Dubai, UAE – Dubai International Airport
Emirates offers several stopover programs in Dubai and has joined forces with numerous hotels and attractions to get special deals during stopovers. This airport also boasts some of the world’s best duty-free shopping.

7. Tokyo, Japan – Haneda Airport
Thanks to a handy train line and great location, you can easily see a lot of the main sights from Haneda Airport. The easiest way to head towards central Tokyo is to catch the monorail to Hamamatsucho station – frequent services will get you to your destination in about 15 to 20 minutes. Japan Airline allows a free stopover at this destination.

8. Shanghai, China – Pudong International Airport
This is a huge, modern airport, and one of the busiest in the world. Foot massages, lounge passes, and hourly hotel rooms are available, although the good connection to the city enables visitors to see Shanghai if they opt for an extended layover. China’s commercial and financial capital is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers and the most tranquil oriental gardens. Both Air China and China Southern offer free stopovers.

9. Frankfurt, Germany – Frankfurt Airport
Millions of travelers pass through here every day. The best thing about a layover at Frankfurt Airport is its accessibility. It has one of fastest connections into the center and in less than 15 minutes you can be enjoying one of the daily farmers’ markets or visiting the German Stock Exchange.

10. Vancouver, Canada – Vancouver International Airport
Air Canada has a free stopover program in the laidback urban metropolis of Vancouver. The city is on the edge of a spectacular natural landscape, meaning you can spend your stopover out in the countryside if you want to.

See more stopovers here.

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