What term can I use to express the delay between two connecting flights in the following situation: I fly down to one airport and wait there without exiting until I take another flight to reach my destination.

5 Answers 5



is the term for the wait between the arrival time at an airport (not the final destination) and the time of departure.

  • 1
    wiktionary says a layover is an overnight stop only
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Nov 8, 2011 at 14:51
  • 1
    @z7sg: Each to their own. I personally would say stopover implies overnighting, but layover (standard terminology in the UK bus industry) is usually much shorter, and may only be a few minutes. Nov 8, 2011 at 15:03
  • 9
    Safety tip: Android phones don't always know this word. Thanks to autocorrect I accidentally texted my wife that I had "a 2 hour lover" in Dallas. Fortunately she was amused. :-(
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 8, 2011 at 15:11
  • 1
    @z7sgѪ: many other on-line resources just say "A short stop or break in a journey".
    – Mitch
    Nov 8, 2011 at 16:17
  • 1
    @z7sgѪ: I went ahead and asked a relevant question at meta.ELU. I think wiktionary is wrong, but then what if -I- am wrong.
    – Mitch
    Nov 8, 2011 at 16:38

In American English, this is often called a layover,

a short stay somewhere between two parts of a journey

In my experience, it is most commonly used to describe a wait of several hours between flights or trains, during which you often do not or cannot leave the transit hub. How long is your layover in NYC? Can we meet for lunch?

Layover is sometimes used to describe an overnight stay, but in American English I would tend to ask, instead, How long are you staying? if I expected the answer to be that you were staying at least one night.

  • +1 for layover, I believe stopover not to be in American usage.
    – Brendon
    Nov 8, 2011 at 14:58
  • 1
    @Brendon, stopover
    – Unreason
    Nov 8, 2011 at 15:47
  • 2
    I like the ngram, but I've never heard the word stopover used in conversation. Maybe it's a regional thing?
    – Brendon
    Nov 8, 2011 at 15:56
  • An unusual number of birds seem to make stopovers in that ngram so I think that might distort the numbers a little too. Stopover is definitely attested in COCA as @z7sg pointed out somewhere... I just haven't heard it much!
    – aedia λ
    Nov 8, 2011 at 16:02
  • books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 13, 2015 at 11:14

You can call the wait a stopover.

  • you're right about the link. fixed. lone word from where?
    – Mark
    Nov 8, 2011 at 14:37
  • ah i meant all one word ;o) fixed now anyway
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Nov 8, 2011 at 14:49
  • I did see the spelling "stop-over" in at least one dictionary. I'm curious - is this the usual term in British English? I would say "I'm stopping over there for a bit", maybe, but I don't think I've ever called a wait a stopover. (I am from the east coast of the US.)
    – aedia λ
    Nov 8, 2011 at 14:54
  • @aediaλ I don't think it's exclusively British. It gets a lot of hits in COCA. More than layover.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Nov 8, 2011 at 15:15
  • I'm from the east coast of the US as well and I would only say stopover. To me a layover is overnight or at least a long period of time, like 6 hours or more.
    – Mark
    Nov 9, 2011 at 7:54

The common simple phrase for this situation is being "between flights."

  • Hey, what do I know, I've only been a pilot for thirty-plus years? : )
    – Stan
    Jun 21, 2016 at 16:19

A Layover, in my experience, has always meant a long time between flights (enough to possibly eat, or stay over night in a hotel).

If I'm just changing planes (e.g., Flying from Cleveland to Orlando, but need to catch a connecting flight in Baltimore in, say 1-2 hours), that's merely a "connection."

If I have that same flight, but the time between flights is more like 4+ hours, I'd call that a layover. Overnight is definitely a layover. Airlines call that overnight a "stopover," but to me, it's always been a layover.

Over time, I think the term Layover has come to mean ANY connecting flight, even if it's only 1 minute. I think its meaning has changed over time.

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