Self-transfer refers to a booking with divided tickets that puts all the responsibility for boarding the plane in time on the passenger. The term denotes that the planes will be changed until reaching the needed destination.
There are multiple methods to save on flights. A good solution is to divide the flight route into a few parts and separate the tickets correspondingly. Nonetheless, such agreements involve certain risks and, as we believe, this requires careful consideration and planning.
A flight on separate tickets requires at least one unprotected connection (a type of connection when passengers are 100% in charge to get to the next flight.) As such, airlines are not obligated to offer refunds or rebookings if travelers miss this unsecured connection for any reason.
Check here the risk scenarios you may meet down the road: your departure gets canceled or rescheduled, your baggage comes late, you are detained at a checkpoint, you cannot go through customs and/or immigration control (on time or at all), you get lost at the airport and cannot find the needed gate, etc.
While it is impossible to predict the issues that may tangle the situation, careful preparation will be of great help in addressing some of these contingencies. If you plan to travel internationally using divided tickets, the first step is to carefully study and provide all the necessary documents for your trip - visas, medical cards, etc. Passengers are solely responsible for obtaining the travel documents required for their trip. (For more information, check Planning a trip with separate air travel bookings and What travel documents do I need for my trip?)
Navigating the airport is not always a pleasant procedure. Thankfully, in the present day, almost all airports provide reference maps on the Internet. (They are easy to find: for example, you can search for "map of Los Angeles airport" or visit the Los Angeles International Airport website - www.flylax.com) Search for your arrival and departure terminals/gates, and see if you can roughly find the path from the first to the second.