One of my biggest pet peeves is when I see airlines (ahem, Southwest) marketing direct flights like they’re non-stop. Don’t get suckered by airline lingo, especially here in the United States. A direct flight and a non-stop flight are not the same thing. Here’s how my good friend (and co-host of our weekly #TravelSkills Twitter chat) Chris McGinnis defines the two in his daily newsletter:
- Non-stop: A non-stop flight is just what it says: a single flight between two airports with no stops. Business travelers prefer non-stop flights because they are the fastest. Unfortunately they are usually the most expensive.
- Direct: While a direct flight might sound like a non-stop flight, it’s not. A direct flight makes at least one intermediate stop along the way to its final destination, but has only one flight number. So if you choose a direct flight between Atlanta and San Francisco you’d fly on one plane the whole way to SFO. But that plane would make a stop in, say, Dallas, or Denver, where it would drop off and pick up more passengers, like a bus. Due to these stops, direct flights can add an hour or more to your total travel time.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.