Separate Tickets can come with great benefits but great danger meanwhile. We already disclosed why and when you should consider to book them in this post : Separate Tickets and When to Find Them
Now lets talk about risks and how to avoid them.
Most likely you will need to pay for check-in bags at each airline.
You will need to go through customs at connecting airport. Count in time for that.
There might be a schedule change or a flight delay. Lets look by taking an example- your flight from Tallinn (Europe) to Bangkok is in Two days, you have booked two separate flights, first flight goes from Tallinn to London, and second flight goes straight from London to Bangkok. You took a well six hour layover, which should be enough in order to re-check in your bags in London. Suddenly, flight from Tallinn to London, that you booked separately, got affected by a schedule change, now flight will depart five hours later. With this delay, there is no chance you will get on main flight from London to Bangkok. Main flight also won’t schedule you on next plane. Tickets are non-refundable, and you will lose $850 you paid for tickets, more if you end up buying new last minute ticket. However, for a domestic flight, due to a schedule change, Airline will refund $50 you paid for ticket.
How to be safe
- Make sure there is time between connections. If You decide to go with separate tickets, always, always make sure that there is enough time to change planes. I would recommend at least 7 hours between flights. In case you need to change the Airports, do at least 10 hours.
- Make sure you have alternatives. If you book separately domestic flight make sure you have other transport alternatives in case it got canceled. Check out if there are other airlines flying. Perhaps there will be one for your timings. Last minute flights might be more expensive but at least you won’t lost all segments.
- Contact airlines. If there are schedule change and you can’t make it to main flight contact either one of the airlines, explain situation and there is big chance they can save you and re-schedule you to a different flight. Also, if you book tickets far before departure, there might be a lot of schedule changes ahead, book just couple of months ahead earliest.
- Try to fly airlines in same alliance. For Example American Airlines policy states that passengers who fly separate tickets with One-world alliance should be threatened as they have single ticket, and also this way you can try to negotiate at the check-in desk and get your bags transferred all the way through to your destination, so you won’t need to re-check in again.
- Buy travel insurance. Most of insurances probably won’t cover exchange fees but they can reimburse travelers missed connections or travel delays.