Plane on tarmac
The convenience fee Save: US fares Save: international fares How to tell which is cheaper What to do during layovers

There’s a little known extra you pay for certain flights. Let’s call it a convenience fee, or the extra you’ll often find added to the total airfare cost for a nonstop flight.

Why Nonstop Flights Cost More

Airlines know nonstops are more popular than connecting flights because most of us would prefer to take one flight instead of two. They get away with charging more for the nonstop because they know will pay. But are nonstops always worth it? Judge for yourself with these airfares found in May 2017 for travel in July:

U.S. FLIGHTS

Detroit to Seattle

  • Nonstop: $359
  • One stop: $296 – Save $63

Washington, D.C. to Seattle

  • Nonstop: $420
  • One stop: $340 – Save $80

Atlanta to Cancun

  • Nonstop: $612
  • One stop: $476 – Save $136

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Chicago to Rome

  • Nonstop: $1537
  • One-stop: $1089 – Save $448

New York to Seoul

  • Nonstop: $1622
  • One-stop: $1068 – Save $$554

Los Angeles to Paris

  • Nonstop: $1739
  • One-stop: $1053 – Save $686

The savings for individual travelers are hefty enough, but just imagine what a deal it is for a family of four.

Find Out Which Flight is Cheaper

Always compare airfares: Shop an airfare comparison site that shows prices for all airlines as well as prices for both nonstops and connecting flights. Once you see the savings (or lack of savings), it’s easy to make an informed decision. If the connecting flight is cheaper, decide if it’s worth the inconvenience of a longer travel day.

Connecting Flights – What to Do in Airports

In some cases, a connecting flight isn’t an inconvenience, it’s a plus. A few examples of stuff to do during a long or short layover in the airport.

  • Break time for kids. Taking kids on a 10-hour flight can be more stressful than two shorter flights. Let them stretch their legs in the airport (many of which now offer play areas for children).
  •  Break time for adults. Domestic layovers can last up to four hours, plenty of time to catch up with a friend or relative over a meal. Today’s airports come with lots of services, too, including yoga classes, massage spas and art exhibits. Even better, get up and walk; you too will want to stretch those legs.
  • Side trips. Layovers can be as long as 24 hours on some international flights which may allow for a quick tour of a city you might otherwise miss.