Picking which airline to fly with is far more than price…

For most people, picking a flight is all about price. But assuming price is equal – which airline you choose can make a massive difference in the amount of cities you’re able to take in. Some people hate connections on principle, but if you work them effectively, they can be the perfect way to explore a city on the cheap, and let’s be honest, some cities don’t need multiple nights, anyway!

What Is 23:59?

Any connecting flight under 24 hours counts as just that – a connection. Anything over 24 hours counts as a stopover, which most airlines charge more for, on a large majority of plane tickets. By building in stopovers up to 23 hours and 59 minutes, you’re able to save money on the ticket, leave the airport, hit the city, (or the beach) and explore until your next flight. With the emergence of cheap airport lockers and storage options, it’s easier than ever to shed your bags and be free to roam.

How To Use 23:59

The best way to maximize 23:59 is to seek bad connections in great cities, or use multi city flight booking to create connections manually. And yes, this works equally well on points tickets as well. For example, if you’re flying Cathay Pacific, to Vietnam, you’ll be connecting through Hong kong. If you can find a flight that lands mid day and leaves mid day the next day, you can take in a full dinner, drinks and stroll around the city, before carrying on. Or better yet, if you land early in the morning and leave late at night, you don’t even need to pay for a hotel! This sort of thing works all over the world, so it’s great to use airlines with hubs in places you’d like to visit.

Booking Multi City

Building stopovers in can be so much fun. Some airlines, like Icelandair, Air Canada and Emirates will even allow extended stopovers at no additional charge. Once you’ve found a cheap round trip ticket, you change to “multi city” booking mode, to add in the stops separately. Here’s a great example to play with, for a trip from San Francisco to London, with a two day stop built in- in Iceland. If there’s a place you’d really like to see on the side, go for an airline guaranteed to take you there. Think ANA or JAL for Tokyo, Finnair for Helsinki, British Airways or Virgin Atlantic for London, you get the point.

Negatives Into Positives

With airport lockers and more and more airlines offering 24 hour bag drop, it’s easier than ever to shed your baggage and roam free into a brilliant city. While most people look at lengthy connections as a huge pain in the… yeah – you can end up catching a glimpse of some of the world’s best cities. And when you do, you’ll often find some cities don’t require much more than 24 hours, and those that do, you’ll come back for.

Have you used 23:59 in your favor?