¨The devil himself had probably redesigned hell in light of information he had gained from observing airport layouts.¨
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What is a Flight with Intermediate International Flight Connections?

This blog was written before the COVID Pandemic. The COVID epidemics played havoc on the travel business. In 2022, Fifty Plus Nomad decided to focus on traveling and living in Mexico and language learning posts. We will only update these long-term travel-related posts on a time-permitting basis. We would appreciate your comments and updates on these posts.

After flying over 100 international flights in the past eight years as a Fifty Plus Nomad, I have detested “Intermediate International flight connections¨.

An ¨Intermediate International Connection¨ flight has two legs. The first leg departs from one country and arrives at a destination in another. In the second leg, you make a connection from this ¨Intermediary International Connection Point¨ to your final destination in the same or a third country.

Typical Problems with International Flight Connections

You will most likely have to go through security, immigration, and customs at the ¨Intermediate International Connection Point¨, even if you are transiting to a third country.

For example, let’s say you are flying from Cancun to Montreal and connecting in Atlanta. You will go through security in both Cancun and Atlanta. You will also go through US Immigration and Customs in Atlanta and Canadian Immigration and Customs in Montreal. (Note: if you take a flight directly from Cancun to Montreal, you will only go through security in Cancun and Canadian Immigration and Customs in Montreal).

One exception: You usually do not need to go through security if you are flying from Canada and connecting in the US to go to another city in the US. (In other words, you will likely not have to go through security in Chicago if you are flying from Toronto to Los Angeles via Chicago).

To avoid going through security, immigration, and customs multiple times, fly non-stop as much as possible on international flights with Intermediate International Connections. I flew from Cancun to Montreal via the US for a couple of years to save money. Now, I fly non-stop exclusively, even though it costs me between $50 and $100 more. I consider it a wise investment in my mental health.

How to Avoid Problems at the International Flight Connections Point

My best advice on avoiding problems with International flight connections is to book non-stop whenever possible. Be aware that sometimes you won’t have a choice. I am willing to pay up to $200 more to prevent connection.

I recommend that everyone determine how much money they are willing to pay for convenience. Of all the possible types of trips, flights without international connections are the ones I am most willing to splurge to avoid.

Ensure that you can make the connection when booking your flight. I frequently run to the gate after being delayed by immigration, customs, and security procedures.

If possible, leave at least two hours for the connection. A three-hour connection time is even better to avoid running through an airport to catch your connecting flight.

I make this suggestion because:

  • Flights often arrive thirty minutes to an hour late.
  • It usually takes thirty minutes and an hour to go through immigration, customs, and security.
  • It can take up to ten to forty minutes to get to the gate for your connecting flight.

If you are a developed country citizen, you can usually transit to a Third-World Country without going through immigration at the ¨Intermediary International Connection¨ point. However, you are encouraged to verify this before you buy a ticket with a ¨Intermediary International Connection¨ country that requires a visa to enter.

Want More Information About Minimizing Hassle During Flight Connections?

Check out this article from Smarter Travel.

Additional Long-Term Travel Related Posts From Fifty Plus Nomad

Paul Heller has been a lifelong avid traveler and language learner and teacher, Even as a child, he told Santa Claus that he wanted to visit all the children worldwide. At seven years old, Paul wanted to retire to Mexico. At eight, he memorized the name, capital, location, and some facts about every country worldwide. At twelve, he found a book "Lonely Planet: Southeast Asia on a Shoestring" and started developing his own itinerary for a future round-the-world trip. He remained obsessed with travel; after getting a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and working as an administrator, He spent his vacations going to different countries around the globe studying language, touring, and volunteering. In 1994, he quit his job and lived in Russia as a volunteer English instructor. He discovered that he loved teaching languages. In 2004, he decided to make a living out of his travels and founded a community of people who love to travel just like him. He developed 5 three-hour classes about living and traveling long-term worldwide which he taught in over 50 adult education programs throughout the US. After his parents passed, he realized his dream of traveling around the world; cruising and touring some of the most remote places like the North Atlantic, Patagonia, and Oceania; and learning new languages (he knows Spanish, Italian, French, and Russian). Paul encourages everyone to learn foreign languages. He knows that it can be frustrating and slow but that anyone can learn a language if they put in the work and, most importantly, learning a language is well worth the time and effort because it opens up a whole new set of people, ideas, and cultures. He is currently spending the next chapter of his life in Mérida, México. He is excited about using this blog and his classes and workshops to inspire and equip fellow Fifty Plus Nomads with the language, cultural, and psychological skills necessary to be successful and happy long-term travelers and expats over 50.

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