Free transit hotel can be of great convenience to travelers with long layovers, especially if they don’t have access to airline lounges. As an airline service, it is also the least advertised perk. Before you jump the gun in excitement, free transit hotel offered by airlines come under strict terms and conditions (no surprise there). The list below is by no means comprehensive or complete, I have compiled them based on personal/shared experiences and some research.
Airlines that offer free transit hotel
Before we get to the list, note that complimentary hotel night/s are provided only when the airline schedule forces long layovers. Passengers that choose a longer layover due to pricing or other reasons do not qualify for this perk.
- Air Canada (AC)
Does not restrict you based on schedule, instead, they use it as a tool to promote their city hub.
With a connection time of 6 hours or more (in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver) between consecutive flights, Air Canada offers complementary one night accommodation to passengers that book Latitude/Premium Economy/Business Class tickets. Economy class travelers can avail subsidized hotel rates. Hotels can be pre-booked online – details available here.
- Turkish Airline (TK)
TK does restrict this service by schedule, and based on personal experience, are very strict about the policy.
If Turkish airline’ schedule structure causes a long layover, a complimentary 2 night accommodation can be provided to Business class passengers with 7 hours or more layover. Economy passengers with more than 10 hour layover can avail the service as well. According to TK’s website “This service is not applicable when there is a shorter connection available within the time frame mentioned above.“
Complementary accommodation can be arranged through the TK ‘Hotel Desk’ located after the customs check. Matthew of ‘liveandletsfly’ did a comprehensive post on TK’s trasit hotel, do check it out.
- Qatar Airways (QR)
For passengers with extended layover times in Doha, QR goes a step further and arranges accommodation, visas, airport transfers and meals. The basic conditions are as follows;
No connection of less than 8 hours available
Transit time between 8-24 hours
Booking does not include flights to or from Abu Dhabi (AUH), Bahrain (BAH), Dubai (DWC or DXB), Kuwait (KWI), Muscat (MCT), Ras Al Khaimah (RKT) or Sharjah (SHJ).
Further details on transit hotels and conditions are available on QR website.
- Etihad Airways (EY)
For passengers flying premium cabins with a stopover in Abu Dhabi – EY offers one free night accommodation to Business Class guests, two free nights accommodation to First Class guests and two nights at the Emirates Palace to guests flying The Residence. Wow!!
For economy passengers, ET offers subsidized hotel rates – Book 2 night stay and get second night free!
- Emirates Airlines (EK)
For passengers that experience longer transit times due to flight scheduling, EK provides accommodation, meals, ground transportation and visa costs. Stopover restrictions;
First and Business Class passengers: 6-24 hours
Economy Class passengers: 8-24 hours
Hotels have to be pre-booked through Ek’s website and further conditions (fare paid, earlier connections, date of booking) apply. Details of the conditions and booking procedure can be found here.
- Air China (CA)
For passengers that transit overnight within 24 hours, CA provides free hotel stay, shuttle service and breakfast. This service is restricted to Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Dalian and Hangzhou. CA conditions include specific types of ticketing/connection in order to qualify for the free transit hotel – details available here.
- China Eastern (MU)
MU provides one night accommodation for passengers that transit overnight at Shanghai, Kunming and Xi’an, when there is no same day connecting flight. Tickets must be purchased from the Hong Kong official website of MU. Further details and hotel booking instructions are available here.
- China Southern (CZ)
Available in Guangzhou, CZ provides one free accommodation for passengers that transit overnight (8-48 hours) when there is no same day connecting flight. Booking can be done with an agent at counter of 20th gate in departure hall of Bai Yun airport. Depending on the fare paid and class of service, the accommodation can be in hotel grade A-D (as designated by CZ). Further details can be found here.
- SriLankan Airlines (UL)
For transit time in Colombo for over 8 hours (up to 24 hours), UL will arrange free accommodation as long as transit accommodation conditions are met – details available here.
- Royal Air Maroc (AT) **Hat Tip to reader JzTz for feedback**
AT provides accommodation and transfers for passengers with a long layover (due to flight schedules) in Casablanca. Hotel can be arranged through ‘Transit and Accomodation’ at arrivals. Details here.
- Ethiopian Airlines (ET) **Hat Tip to reader jack the hobo for feedback**
If the layover is between 8-24 hours, ET will facilitate a free transit hotel accommodation and ground transportation. This can be arranged through the ET interline desk at the airport. Stefan of Rapid Travel Chai, has a great guide to ET transit hotels and eligibility.
Airlines that offer discount hotel rates and other stopover services
Nobody does it better than Singapore Airlines (SQ), while they don’t offer free transit accommodations, SQ offers a host of transit hotel and stopover packages to experience the sights and sounds of Singapore – details are a must see
TAP Portugal (TP) , Asiana Airlines (OZ) (*Hat-tip to The Flight Detective*) and Korean Airlines (KE) also seem to offer noteworthy tours and stopover options with subsidized hotel rates if you are on a long layover.
Transit hotels can be a valuable asset on a travel itinerary, be it for relaxing before the next hop or simply using it for an extended stopover. Airlines that offer free transit hotel do so under strict guidelines, but can be leveraged for a great value. The key is to not assume eligibility since every airline has unique requirements.
As mentioned earlier, I am sure there are several other airlines that offer this service, this post is my way of collecting this information in one place. If you have experience with utilizing free transit hotel service, please share with a comment below.