Home Travel What’s The Difference Between A Layover & A Stopover?

What’s The Difference Between A Layover & A Stopover?

by SharonKurheg

You haven’t traveled a whole lot in your life, but you’re finally doing it! You’re going to Dublin on Icelandair, with a stopover in Iceland. Then, about halfway through your trip, you’re continuing your trip, with a layover in Paris.

You’ve got a stopover AND a layover….so what’s the difference?


A layover is the simpler of the two. It means a connection between 2 flights (and as far as passengers go, it tends to be called a “connection” more often than a “layover”). It happens in the U.S. all the time, especially if you’re starting from a smaller airport and need to go to a hub, like Atlanta, John F. Kennedy or George Bush Intercontinental, to take another plane to your final destination.

Layovers can be really short (30-60 minutes) or pretty long (HOURS! Although if you’re traveling internationally, a layover is officially up to 23 hours and 59 minutes).


A stopover is a planned stop that can last a few days. The aforementioned Icelandair offers stopovers in Reykjavik that can be anything from 24 hours to 7 days. You’ll probably have to pay for your own hotel when you plan a stopover, although not always. Here’s an example of when you don’t have to pay for your hotel during your stopover.).

For U.S. domestic travel, any layover that’s more than 4 hours is considered a stopover.

The difference if you’re flight crew

If you’re part of an airline crew, the terms “layover” and “stopover” are a little different. For them, a “layover” means an overnight stay while a “connection” refers to a shorter stop. But unless you’re a pilot, flight attendant, etc., you don’t have to worry about that. 😉

Happy traveling!

Feature Photo: Pixabay

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