You may need to take more than one plane to get to your final destination. This is called having “connecting flights” or “transit“.

This could happen within Canada or outside of Canada.

Within Canada means, for example, if you would like to travel from Mexico to Ottawa, you’d most likely need to book your flight from Mexico to Toronto to Ottawa. Connecting your flight in Toronto is called “Transitting in Toronto”. In this case you’d need to switch planes in Toronto and declare your luggage with Canadian customs when you arrive in Toronto. Then you will need to recheck your luggage for the Ottawa flight.

Outside Canada means, for example, flying from Moscow to Toronto with your flight landing first in Frankfurt (your transit airport). In this case you’d need to switch planes in Frankfurt and most likely you would have informed your Russian travel agency to check your luggage directly to your final destination (Toronto). In this case, what you need to do when you land in Frankfurt is go straight to your Toronto departure gate without re-checking your luggage.

To reduce the stress of finding your way through an unfamiliar airport, book your tickets with at least four hours between flights. This gives you time to go through security and find your next departure gate with time to spare. If you can, get all your boarding passes at your original airport to save time. When you reach your gate, show a staff member your ticket so they can confirm you are in the right place.

If you miss your flight, it’s okay. Find a representative for your airline and they will help you. Don’t let travelling through an unfamilar airport be intimidating. Be confident! Thousands of people do it successfully every day, and you can too!

Here’s a great tip: Write, “I don’t speak English. Can you please help me find my next flight (example: AC 462)”, on a piece of paper. Use this if you’re not comfortable with your level of English.

Photo credit: Nick Harris1 / Foter / CC BY-ND