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I am flying from BOM to MUC and the current fare is around 565 USD if I book Turkish via Istanbul. However, if I book each leg separately (BOM - IST, IST - MUC and the same for return), I stand to save around $60, which may not be considerable but I'm backpacking and I am looking to optimise my expenses. Any problems I could run into, apart from checking in my luggage again? Both the flights are through the same terminal and there's about 2 hours between each flight.

P.S.- In all probability, I'll still book the $565 fare, but I'm curious to know the answer :)

  • 7
    What's your backup plan if the inbound fight is >60 minutes late and you miss the connection? What's your backup plan if the initial checking staff can't / won't through-check your luggage? (Based on my experiences with IST, you've a ~0% chance of being able to clear immigration, collect bags, re-check bags and leave again in 2 hours) – Gagravarr Aug 20 '16 at 20:04
  • I'll second that, you can spend 60 minutes just in the immigration line in Istanbul alone. Also check your fares - it is possible one of your fares doesn't include baggage allowance (similar to BA worldtraveler/citytraveler), and if you add it, you'll end up with the same price. – George Y. Aug 21 '16 at 2:10
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There are a few problems you can run into:

  1. If your BOM-IST flight departure is delayed or otherwise rescheduled, it is the airline responsibility to bring you to the destination by rescheduling the remaining legs. Flying on two tickets it is your responsibility (consider change fees and possible unavailability of flights).

  2. If your BOM-IST flight is canceled, and you decide not to fly with them, you are eligible for full refund (i.e. both for BOM-IST and IST-MUC segments). However if you buy separate tickets, you're only eligible for refund of BOM-IST segment, unless IST-MUC is also canceled.

  3. You would be likely required to collect and recheck your bags. It may be still possible to check them to the final destination through if you're flying the same airline and can check into both flights (i.e. your next flight is less than 24hr away), but the airline doesn't have to do this.

  4. Because of 3) above you might need to have visa/papers for your connection; Turkish visa for US citizens, for example, is $20.

  5. Because of 3) above if your bag is lost on the first leg, the airline will only deliver it to IST once it is found. So you'd have to wait for your bag there.

  6. The amount of compensation you receive for a flight delay is different too, as it is based on your final destination, not connection destination.

  7. If you decide to change flights (move them a day ahead, for example), you'd have to change both tickets and pay 2x change fees, versus paying only one change fee.

  8. Finally, if your home or destination country doesn't like the connecting country, you might be in trouble on arrival. For example, if you're US citizen and flying something like Europe-Cuba-Mexico-US, and get a Cuban stamp in your passport (no idea if they put it or not), you might end up doing some explanation at home. Same if you "transit" this way through Dubai, and later try to fly to Israel, you'll get much more questioning due to UAE entry/exit stamps in your passport - which you otherwise wouldn't have.

There are however benefits too:

  1. If you decide to skip one leg, and jump into another, this would invalidate a single ticket. However you can do this when you have two tickets, as cancellation of the first ticket doesn't affect the second one.

  2. The frequent flier mileage is supposed to be calculated based on a straight line between origin and destination. Thus if you have two tickets, in theory you should rack up more frequent flier miles. In reality, however, it seems that most airlines I flew calculate them per segment and not by straight line, so I wonder if this still remains a benefit.

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I found a relevant answer here.

The baggage counter is after the immigration, so I will have to cross immigration (I assume I'll need a transit visa, for which I'll have to shell out ~$60). So, this does not seem to be 'worth it'.

  • 3
    Plus that if one flight is delayed they do not have to pay for getting you to your destination, which they will have to if you buy it as one ticket. – Willeke Aug 20 '16 at 20:24

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