The terms associated with air flights might sound very foreign if you are not a seasoned traveler. Flight segment is a term typically applied to portions of an itinerary where you will land in multiple cities along the way. However, technically all flights have at least one flight segment -- on a nonstop flight, the segment is from the city where you take off to your final destination.
Look for the term "stop" when choosing a flight itinerary. For example, if you see "2 Stops" next to a flight, you will land twice en route to your final destination. According to the International Air Transport Association, or IATA, flight segments refer only to stops where the next flight continues under the same flight number. Every stop adds another flight segment. For instance, if you have two stops under the same flight number, you will have three flight segments: city A to city B, city B to city C and city C to city D.
Pay attention to the amount of time between segments. If you are traveling from Los Angeles to New York with a stop in Chicago, for instance, compare the landing time for the Los Angeles to New York segment with the take-off time for the Chicago to New York segment. If the time between segments is very short, you are more likely to miss your second segment in the event the first flight runs behind. Choose a flight with at least one full hour between segments to give yourself some wiggle room.
Make plans for long layovers in between segments. In some cases, you might have several hours or even an overnight stay between segments. Rather than sleeping in an airport, make arrangements ahead of time to get a shuttle to a hotel and then return to the airport the next day. If your layover is during the daytime, find out about local attractions that can be reached quickly via cab or shuttle as a way to bide your time. Ask your airline if you will be able to retrieve your checked luggage during a layover; if you can't, pack enough essentials in your carry-on bag to get you through the layover stop.