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I am looking to buy a two flight ticket from Vienna to Kathmandu via Kuwait. The flight site has a warning, saying "self transfer", I might be required to check out and check in my baggage.

This ticket is half the price of other tickets with "managed transfer". How many problems can I expect?

What if buy "meet and greet" service, where might they wait on me and will they help with getting my baggage, rechecking if necessary .etc?

Do I need a visa on arrival or is there an option of not going through that? I am an Austrian citizen.

What else might go wrong or be a hassle?

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    Related: travel.stackexchange.com/a/171372/30703 especially the "Are there any other consequences to self-connecting?" section.
    – jcaron
    Oct 10, 2023 at 22:54
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    The ticket is cheaper because of the risks involved with a self-transfer. Buying “Meet and greet” likely won’t save you from the expense/hassle of rebooking if your first flight is late/cancelled and you miss your onward flight as a result.
    – Traveller
    Oct 10, 2023 at 22:59
  • @Traveller is lateness the biggest issue? This means basically if the first flight is eg 3h late its best not to board it in order not to risk missig the second flight with 5h transit? I also have insurance for missed flights. Oct 10, 2023 at 23:09
  • @user1721135 Not sure if your insurance would cover you if you opted not to board the first flight, you’d need to check the T&C.
    – Traveller
    Oct 10, 2023 at 23:21
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    @user1721135 Remember that you have to take out of your layover time the check-in deadline (probably 1 hour) on one end and the time it takes to deplane, get to passport control, get your visa-on-arrival, wait for your bags and get to the departures area for the other flight (probably 1 hour as well, but no experience in that airport, and that depends on the airlines involved) so you end up with only 3 hours buffer, not 5. Also, if you miss the check-in deadline, you will have to buy the new ticket at the last minute, usually more expensive, and you may have to stay overnight at your expense.
    – jcaron
    Oct 11, 2023 at 9:01

1 Answer 1

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How many problems can I expect?

Depends a lot on the details. The main problem with self connections is missing the connection. If you do miss it, you are fully responsible. The connecting airline will treat you as a "no show". In the worst case, they will cancel your ticket including any return flights and you may have to buy a new same day ticket on the spot, which can be VERY expensive.

What if buy "meet and greet" service, where might they wait on me and will they help with getting my baggage, rechecking if necessary .etc?

In my opinion that doesn't help much and it may cost more than the price difference to a normal ticket. They are often not allowed in the secure area and they can't make your bags come out any faster.

Do I need a visa on arrival

Yes. You will have to go through immigration and customs, enter Kuwait properly and then go to the check in counter of the second airline.

What else might go wrong or be a hassle?

It's a significant hassle as compared to a normal connection. You have to line up at immigration, then wait for your bags, you may have to line up at customs. Your second airline may be in a completely different terminal, so you need to figure out how to get there. Then you need to line up again at check-in counter of the second airline. You need to be at the front of the line BEFORE the check-in deadline. And when you finally have your boarding passes and dropped your bags, you will line up again at security.

I only recommend self connections for experienced traveler who can look at airport layouts and track records for immigration and delay performance, who can assess what a reasonably "safe" connection time is and who have some idea about "Plan B" if things go sideways.

A lot depends on your specific details (which airlines, which flights, terminal layout, etc) but I would not do this under 4 hours even if the details look good.

Note that some companies like KIWI offer a "guarantee". I recommend reading the rules, terms and conditions VERY carefully and Google some customer reviews.

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  • And don't forget the trouble with visa, airlines which do not allow people to board even when they have the right visa and more so without visa.
    – Willeke
    Oct 11, 2023 at 14:13
  • @Willeke. OP is Austrian and can get a Visa on arrival in Kuwait. No need to have one at boarding.
    – Hilmar
    Oct 11, 2023 at 14:22
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    In the case of OP very little risk in terms of visas. But indeed in the general case for future readers, there could be issues with visas, as the first airline will consider that the transfer point is the final destination and will want to see documentation showing the passenger(s) can enter that destination, not just transit.
    – jcaron
    Oct 11, 2023 at 14:57
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    Lost luggage on the first leg is also going to be a massive problem. They're not going to ship your stuff to your final destination, so you'll have to figure out how to deal with your stuff stuck in Kuwait. Basically, anything that goes wrong is on you, and they treat your trip as if it is ending in Kuwait and you'll have to deal with the rest.
    – Nelson
    Oct 12, 2023 at 1:14
  • @Nelson. In my experience most airlines DO ship lost luggage to where you are when it finally shows up. It typically takes a few days for bags to resurface and expecting anyone to stay in one location is unreasonable.
    – Hilmar
    Oct 12, 2023 at 15:46

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