Layovers That Give Travelers a Break and Hub Cities a Boost

“More people are able to experience Reykjavik,” said Alex Chang, a data scientist with the airfare prediction app Hopper, who noted that airlines are advertising the stopover option on both sides of the Atlantic.

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A flight at Dubai International Airport. As long as you’re waiting for the next leg of your trip, why not take a desert safari?

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EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

Other airlines got into the game after watching what happened to Dubai when Emirates Airlines adopted the stopover idea in 2002. Emirates and other airlines in the region benefit from a home base at the midpoint of many global routes.

When the stopover began,, 16 million travelers passed through the Dubai airport. By 2016, it was the world’s busiest international airport, with 86 million travelers. Today Dubai has become a stand-alone, luxury-oriented destination and Emirates does not always offer the stopover.

Even when it does, the company still makes money by selling city tours, theme park visits and desert safaris through its travel company, Arabian Adventures, which is listed on its website. Because the tour company is part of the Emirates Group, travelers are likely to be reassured that they’ll make their onward connection, said Smita Natalia Deans, a spokeswoman for Emirates. The company takes responsibility for making sure its customers get to the airport.

Making stopovers work involves government coordination of visas and other paperwork to ease the way for short-time visitors. “There are a lot of factors that go into building a city like that,” Mr. Chang said. “But having people go through Dubai and contribute to the economy is part of the road map, and it’s been successful, so that other cities and other countries are looking to replicate that.”

Even well-known European capitals now see the advantages of routing travelers…

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