How do Layovers Benefit Airlines?

I’ve always had this question on my mind; how do layovers make airlines money? I had a flight to Washington, and it was cheaper to stop at Las Vegas than to take a direct flight to Washington DC. American Airlines had to spend more money to take me from LA to LAS, then LAS to DC, as opposed to just taking me to straight to DC.

So, how do you think layovers make Airlines money?


I think it’s just a matter of how much demand is on the route, and I don’t think many people fly to D.C. (I think).
So for them, doing a flight from LA to DC would cost them more as there would be more empty seats…

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I don’t think they make them money per say… it’s just so that you stop at the hub to pick up more people. That’s why there’s no American Airlines flights from KMSY-KDEN, because there’snot a lot of American Airlines passengers that need to fly that particular route.

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It’s the hub and spoke system. Just google it, it would take forever to type out how it works. SWA is the only major airline in the US that doesn’t use it. They have more point-to-point flights. And if you’re talking DCA there’s not much that goes DCA-west coast because of the short runways.


The hubs are used to gather more people in one place, this making fuller flights and requires less aircraft.

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There were direct flights to IAD that costed more than the flights with layovers. I looked it up but I still don’t understand. Both flights ultimately led to the same airport, but the one that was longer (aka more fuel, etc.) costed more.

This video describes very well what @Vari2ty said :)


That was very informative! I learned something new 😂

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I watched the video, and this is what I gathered from it:

  • Airlines use hubs to minimalize the amount of routes they have

But there was a flight directly to IAD from LAX, that was more expensive than the connection. I’d understand if there was no direct route to IAD but there was, and it was more expensive.

The direct route to IAD is $367. LAX-LAS, then LAS-IAD is actually $485, which means the airline would be spending 118 more dollars to take me to the layover airport then to just take me to my destination directly.


What airline were you on?

I know they’re pretty expensive, but it’s the only flight I found at the time.

One moment please…

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Los Angeles is technically a Hub for AA. It costs more for that reason.

Wait sorry, I read your post wrong

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Ok… that’s odd. The fact that there would be a connection from a hub to a non-hub to a non-hub doesn’t make sense


A good resource to acknowledge would be Americans Airlines support.

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Well if you have a stopover, you only need to take the fuel for the first leg, thus you burn less fuel.

When doing Sydney to London, if I were to do a direct route, by the time I’m flying over Singapore, I have used more fuel than the plane that stops in Singapore

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There’s a difference between a stopover and a layover, but you are correct.

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People are willing to pay more for the non-stop, and people weren’t buying tickets on other flights. So they make more money on the non-stop, and they have one less empty seat on the flights that do not sell. That’s how airlines can have their figurative cake, and eat it too.


The airline is not spending $118 more dollars, you are paying $118 more dollars. If the former was the case, the profit margin would be 0%.