stopover ticket ticketing strategy

How to search Momondo for international ticket long layover cities

a table with a glass of beer and food on it

Last month Kelley and I flew from Stockholm Arlanda to London Heathrow as the first flight leg for our Stockholm to San Jose, California SJC round trip tickets. We return to London and Stockholm at Christmas. The tickets cost €511 ($558 USD) when I ticketed April 29, 2017.

Besides getting a relatively low fare for Christmas travel from California to Europe, we also had a good deal for travel from Europe to the USA in late June. As a bonus, we had 20 hours between flights after landing at London Heathrow. A hotel reward night booked at InterContinental London Park Lane awaited us.

The reward night at InterContinental Park Lane did not cost 60,000 points. I redeemed my annual free night given each year to IHG MasterCard members.

Underground Luxury in London

Kelley was able to pick up her checked luggage at Heathrow for our 20 hour overnight transit stay in London. Oyster cards in hand and holding enough credit to get us to London Hyde Park Corner and back the next day. £3.10 one way in off-peak hours for the 45 minute trip on the London Underground from LHR Terminal 5 to Hyde Park Corner by Buckingham Palace.

We were at InterContinental Park Lane within 90 minutes of the plane landing and drinking in the Park Lane bar by 7:30pm, gobbling down appetizers.

IC Park Lane bar

The next morning, after a quick walk through Hyde Park in warm summer rain showers and breakfast, we leisurely headed out of London via Hyde Park Corner Underground.

July11-2005-Memorial-1  July11-2005-Memorial-2

Memorial in Hyde Park for victims of 7/7/2005 London bombings terrorist attack.

Back at London Heathrow Saturday by noon and sitting in the British Airways Terraces lounge with 2.5 leisurely hours before boarding the flight to San Jose.

£6.20 ($8.00 USD) each round trip for 45 minutes into central London on a Friday evening 6:30pm and 45 minutes back to Heathrow at 11:00am Saturday morning.

Piccadilly Line

In December, we stopover in London again on a 21 hour international transit layover. Or even quite a bit longer, if we happen to miss that last flight segment to Stockholm at Christmas.

How to find long city layovers on international tickets

San Francisco/San Jose to London searching

Airline tickets between many international destinations allow a transit layover at an intermediate airport for up to 24 hours. Often these layovers are available at no additional ticket cost to other available low fares for the route.

In this post I show how to search to find airline tickets with long layover times at intermediate airports for San Jose/San Francisco to London.

Step One: Use Google Flights to establish a base line for low fares and low fare dates for the route.

Google Flights: San Jose to London LHR Sun Oct 1 – Mon Oct 16

United Airlines $561.96 round trip is lowest fare.

SJC-LHR $562 Oct1-16 UA

Overnight in Zurich, Switzerland on the low $562 round trip ticket.

This ticket has an overnight layover in Zurich, Switzerland. That could be a real ticket bonus, however, this itinerary is arrival in Zurich at 10:45pm and departure the next morning at 9:30am.

I want a layover as close to 24 hours as I can manage. Otherwise, an overnight layover without time to hang out in the city is primarily a hotel expense for a short night at Zurich airport rather than an opportunity to spend a day in Zurich sightseeing and dining.

Finding Long Layover cities with often provides itineraries not found with Google Flights. The fare search below is one of those times when does not return a lower fare than Google Flights for the Oct1 to Oct 16 date search.

SJC-LON $586-ota Oct1-16

Virgin Atlantic San Jose SJC – Los Angeles LAX – London LHR – Las Vegas LAS – San Jose SJC

$586 round trip  Sun Oct 1 – Mon Oct 16

SJC-LHR $586 VS Oct1-16 low fares show SkyTeam using a regional commuter plane to hook up to Virgin Atlantic flights from LAX and into Las Vegas.

Even better is a $606 Finnair codeshare for British Airways nonstop flights between San Jose and London on time efficient routes.

Now there are base line fares established with all three major alliances at $562 United/Star Alliance with an overnight in Zurich, a quick one stop Virgin Atlantic/SkyTeam fare $586 and the quickest nonstop with Oneworld at $606 flying British Airways nonstop on Finnair codeshare flights.

San Jose to London LHR base line fare = $600.

Now the search for layover cities begins.

Momondo quickest flights

1. Click Quickest Flights filter on for your search.

2. Scroll to bottom to see page numbers for flight search results. flight pages 1

3. There are 231 pages of flight results. Go to last Page 231 to find the longest flights.

Momondo longest flights SJC-LHR

Longest flights on Page 231 are priced from $671 to $778. The objective here is to find a ticket price closer to $600 that also has long layovers.

Momondo LH xxx SJC-LHR

The last flight on page 231 has three overnight layovers with Denver 23hr, 40min on outbound flights and on the return flights 21 hours in Munich and 20 hours in Frankfurt. Great layover cities, but $200 more than lowest fares on this route. The objective is find tickets close to $600 round trip with long layovers.

Atlanta Overnight Layovers in both directions (21h 37m and 22hr 51m)

SJC-LHR $656 ticket Virgin Atlantic Oct 1-16

Page 227 shows a Virgin Atlantic ticket with overnight layovers in Atlanta in both directions. Might be a good fare if you want to combine visits with someone in Atlanta on your London trip.

SJC-LHR VS $656 Oct1-16

Vancouver Overnight Layover in both directions SJC-LHR $626 (filter for Star Alliance page 36 of 37 tickets).

Vancouver YVR 23 hours overnight Oct 1-2 (Sun 7:38pm – Mon 6:40pm)

Vancouver YVR 17 hours overnight Oct 16-17 (Mon 3:40pm – Tue 8:55pm)

SJC-LHR xxYVR $626 AC Oct1-16

Houston 20 hours layover on United Airlines return

SJC-LHR xIAH UA $630 Oct1-16

New York EWR 21 hours layover on United Airlines return

SJC-LHR xEWR $630 Oct1-16

One advantage of San Francisco SFO is the opportunity to layover in New York JFK rather than Newark EWR.

San Francisco SFO – Dallas DFW (24 hour layover) – New York JFK – London LGW – New York JFK (23.5 hour layover) – SFO

$628 Sun Oct 1 – Mon Oct 16


These are a few examples of the strategy for finding tickets with long intermediate airport layovers. London is not a particularly good example, if you want international layovers in Europe. Most of the layover opportunities are in the USA. San Francisco would probably be a better route to find layovers in European cities with more European airlines flying from there.

San Jose – London LHR Oct 1-16

Brussels, Belgium 21h 35m layover

$636 Star Alliance

SFO-LHR xBRU $639 Oct1-16

San Jose – London LHR Oct 1-16

Munich, Germany 19h 35m layover

$636 Star Alliance

SFO-LHR $636 xMUC Oct1-16

San Jose – London LHR Oct 1-16

Edinburgh, Scotland 16h 10min layover

New York JFK 23 h 25m layover

$655 Oneworld

SFO-LHR $655 xEDIxJFK Oct1-16

San Jose – London LHR Oct 1-16

Dublin, Ireland 19h 35min layover

Glasgow, Scotland 20h 15m layover

$648 Oneworld

SFO-LHR $648 xDUBxGLA Oct1-16

Long layovers in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Frankfurt and Munich on $500 San Jose SJC to Scandinavia tickets

One of the good deals currently available from San Francisco Bay Area airports are low fares around $500 round trip to Norway and Sweden with the alliance airlines. This kind of European destination offers many more opportunities to find long layovers in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Frankfurt and Munich.

That will be my next example for finding low cost tickets with long layovers in international cities.


  • John July 4, 2017

    Momondo is great for finding cheap international flights but how reliable are those booking websites? A lot of these websites have pretty bad reviews and ones with good reviews seem to price about the same or a bit less than what I found on google flights. So, what is your experience using some of the non-reliable websites on momondo to book your flights?

  • Ric Garrido July 4, 2017

    I have purchased Kiss&Fly and TravelMerry tickets through with no problems.

    Last week I found a $445 ticket through American Airlines website with overnight stopovers in Helsinki, London and Chicago on an SFO-OSL ticket. I was unable to replicate that itinerary through Google Flights or

    Once you find a routing on, you can always try to manually recreate the itinerary through the airline’s website or Expedia. May or may not work.

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