Last night, I was in the unfortunate situation of a forced extended layover, due to a delayed flight. The airline automatically rebooked my connecting flights and booked hotel reservations, and informed me as such when I checked in. That meant, that I had to exit the passport control, to travel to a hotel outside the airport area.

In my case, it was no problem, since my layover was in the Schengen area, for which I don't need a visa. But what if that was not the case? What if I had a funny passport, and the layover was not in a country that I would automatically be issued a visa-on-arrival?

Some airports do have hotels or sleeping arrangements inside the airport itself, but not every airport do. Would I be forced to spend the night (and possible longer) on a bench inside the transit area? What if the airport in question do not allow long stays in the transit area, or are not open night-time? Would I be denied boarding at an earlier itineary? Who is responsible?

  • 5
    As the airline is usually fined if you're denied entry I doubt they'll rebook you to an airport where you aren't allowed to stay.
    – neo
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 12:47
  • @neo That's true, but maybe they don't know of the delay at the time of boarding. Or perhaps they need to make an emergency stop (in which case I guess very special conditions apply). Also, pnuts' assumption is correct.
    – Nix
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 12:54
  • Your passport will probably be held while you are escorted to and from the hotel...
    – karancan
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 13:43
  • 3
    @karacan I've had a forced layover in Frankfurt. Unfortunately the airline screwed me over and didn't book me a hotel but did so for other passengers with "previleged" passports. There was little I could do about it. CORRECTION - there was nothing I could do about it in the end. So IMO, there is a chance you will probably have to stay inside the international zone of the airport for as long as it needs. I did for 19 hours. Fun!
    – dearN
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 21:54
  • 1
    @dearN, that sounds more like an answer than a comment.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


Depends on the country and situation. In some areas, stranded passengers are taken to a nearby hotel but are restricted to that hotel.

I encountered this with a delayed flight in Asia. Fortunately my nationality allowed me visa free entry so I entered through the immigration line, the others were escorted direct to the hotel bus by immigration and airline staff. At the hotel their passports were held at the front desk and the doorman would only let those of us who had our passport out to explore. I ended up making a couple of trips to the local market for baby supplies for two couples stuck in the hotel.

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