Glossary

What is a Stopover Paid by Carrier?

A stopover is a long layover between flights that gives you enough time to explore the midpoint city outside the airport. You can build a stopover into your itinerary the old-fashioned way, by booking a multi-city itinerary, but some airlines make it even easier either by adding incentives to spend a day or two in the midpoint destination or by including an extra stop in the flight itinerary at no extra charge.
This free stopover is known as a “stopover paid by carrier,” or “STPC.”


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What airlines allow free stopovers? How do you book a flight with a free stopover?

The list of airlines offering free stopovers changes fairly regularly, as some are temporary promotions and others simply alter what’s included from time to time. While this list is a good starting point, it’s not exhaustive.

If you’re curious about an airline’s STPC program and it’s not on this list, you can search for “stopover” or “free stopover” on the airline’s official website to see if they’ve got anything available when you’re ready to book.

While Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines don’t offer free stopovers per se, both official websites allow travelers to book multi-city itineraries with no additional “stopover” fees.

To book a free stopover with one of the airlines listed above, simply click on the link and follow the instructions—they make it easy. If the airline you’re flying isn’t listed, or the city you want to add on isn’t an option with one of these airlines, you’ll need to go the DIY route and book a multi-city itinerary. Just keep in mind that this isn’t a “free” stopover, though the difference in price when adding a stopover may be relatively small.

Do airlines provide free hotel and tours for long layovers? Which airlines offer Stopover Paid by Carrier?

As if getting an additional city to explore isn’t a sweet enough deal, sometimes you’ll see options for free hotel stays or tours to make a stopover even harder to resist. As noted above, these offerings change periodically, so this list isn’t exhaustive.

It’s not just airlines that put together free stopover packages—sometimes it’s the airports themselves that do it.

In some cases, airlines and airports offer stopover packages for a small added fee—so they’re not technically free, but they’re so cheap they might as well be. 

  • Singapore Airlines has stopover options that include a one-night stay in a hotel and transportation between the airport and the hotel, starting at SGD 41. 
  • Travelers through Doha can get a stopover package from Qatar Airways that includes a free visa and between 1–4 nights in a hotel, starting at $23. The airline also organizes a 3-hour Doha city tour, which any traveler through Hamad International Airport can book, for QAR 75.
  • Emirates offers stopover travelers discounted rates on accommodation (either hotels or apartment rentals) and hop-on hop-off bus tours, plus transportation to and from the airport.
  • In addition to Air Canada allowing a stopover with no additional airline charges, they’ll also throw in a free one-night hotel stay for Latitude, Premium Economy, and Business Class travelers.
  • The Transit & Stay Program at Tokyo’s Narita Airport pairs travelers with volunteer tour guides for a variety of experiences (such as a tea ceremony in a Japanese temple) in the city at all budget levels.

How long can the free stopovers be?

The length of a stopover paid by carrier varies by carrier. For example, Icelandair allows passengers to stay up to seven days in Reykjavik for no additional airfare while TAP Portugal allows stopovers of up to five days. When the airline or airport is paying for a hotel, the stopover is generally one day. 

Last Updated 
December 10, 2019