I don't know how it works in USA but in Europe if you have a intercontinental flight you can always make stopovers as long as you want. For example both in the summer of 1998 and 2001 we came to USA, both times we had our flights with BA
directed via LHR
. So normally we would take 1 or 2 days off to visit a bit England ( in 1998 we stayed in London and in 2001 we went to Ipswich ). Last December 2002 we flew from LIS
and we spent a night in Bern, in our way back from LAX
we'll stop again in ZRH
and spent 2 days in St. Gallen. So as you can see a stopover is very convenient to visit a little bit and relax also before a long-haul flight.
Regards and next time take the advantage of that!