As today’s air travel and airline industry becomes ever more diversified especially in the realm of low cost carriers versus standard airlines and major cities with multiple airports, there are more and more questions coming to us from travelers about the logistics of moving from one airport to another.
Now this is not the typical case most places. The norm is that a city has one major airport and all or most traffic flows through this hub. However many expanding world hubs like Bangkok to take an example are seeing ever increasing numbers of visitors and tourists. In this particular case Bangkok decided to put all the major carriers at one airport and all low cost carriers at the older airport across town.
Many people looking for flight combinations that include major and low cost carriers now need to be aware that they must traverse certain cities in order to link up from one airport to another. In many cases it seems like and can be a worthwhile savings. Another example would be Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, which receives major carriers, and Ciampino Airport which is low cost carriers. One might fly into Italy from outside, but find a better price connecting to another city within the country on a low cost carrier.
The fact of the matter is that where two airport scenarios are involved one must be very generous when planning out time to connect between the two. First of all many of these airports may have a connecting bus or even a free shuttle, but high speed rail lines and fast, reliable infrastructure is in many cases years away. A project that comes to mind is the high-speed rail link Moscow is undertaking to bring all three of its airports within fast connection of each other.
Thus in the meantime, one should plan with sufficient time to allow for things like crossing immigration. Often this can be an experience of varying timeframes. It can literally be twenty minutes or an hour depending on the time of arrival. Then there is baggage claim and even after these unpredictability’s one has to transfer often across town via a bus, train or taxi which all have their own schedules and possibilities of running into traffic. Finally at the new airport one has to cross security and arrive in plenty of time.
The fact of the matter is logistically a good rule of thumb would be to give oneself a good 5 hours between the arrival of the first flight and the departure of the second at a different airport. Obviously there are many factors that can change this, but it seems to be the most prudential approach. It also doesn’t hurt to spend at least one night in the transfer city so as to take out all the rush and hassle altogether. As airlines and airports expand and traffic increases, it will be an ongoing challenge to move passengers more efficiently between airports in large cities and places where low cost carriers are separate from regular airlines.