Do you know the different between a connecting flight and a direct flight?
Would you rather take a nonstop flight or a direct flight?
There IS a difference!
Beware the Direct Flight
A nonstop flight is scheduled to depart from one airport and land at another.
I say scheduled because sometimes a flight does not stick to its schedule—due to weather conditions, passenger loads, mechanical failures, or staffing issues.
A connecting flight is scheduled to depart from one airport, land at an interim airport so that you can change planes, and then continue to the final destination. NOTE that there can be multiple interim flights.
A direct flight is the worst of both flight options.
A direct flight is scheduled to leave from one airport, land at an interim airport with NO change of planes, and then continue to the final destination.
Direct flights are usually just as long as connecting flights.
For instance, nonstop flights between Atlanta and San Francisco are about 5 hours while direct and connecting flights are over 6 hours—often over 9 hours.
When researching flights, one simple step will ensure you are not duped into a direct flight rather than a nonstop flight.
That step is to sort results (list of flights) by time duration.
For instance, use a booking website like Kayak Explore to search for flight options for your desired dates and times. Most likely, there will be a combination of nonstop, one stop, and multiple stop options.
Select the option to show nonstop only flights and the option to sort by time duration. Note that results will not be sorted by price.
If there is a huge difference in flight times, then it is a hidden direct flight. Selecting the details button will show where the interim stop is.
Have you ever inadvertently bought a nonstop flight that was actually a direct flight?
See my split ticket information on Condé Nast.