opposite of a non-stop flight

Luke Lue

New Member
Mandarin - China
I just researched a little bit about non-stop flight.
A non-stop flight is basically a flight between two points with no intermediate stops. But I wonder what is the opposite of a non-stop flight? Do you call it, like, indirect flight? or because there will be stops in between, you may try "connected flight"?
Thanks!
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    There isn't a specific term for it as far as I know. You'd have to say that your flight went from A to C with a stop at B.

    I haven't heard the term "indirect flight" being used. A connecting flight is a new flight, where you get down at one airport and catch another plane.
     

    Luke Lue

    New Member
    Mandarin - China
    There isn't a specific term for it as far as I know. You'd have to say that your flight went from A to C with a stop at B.

    I haven't heard the term "indirect flight" being used. A connecting flight is a new flight, where you get down at one airport and catch another plane.
    Thanks for the reply. I suspect that this is the case. I may as well go with connecting flight, which is at least indicative of stops.
     

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    A flight from A to B without stop(s) in between is a non-stop flight.
    A flight from A to B with one or more stops without having to change plane is a direct flight.

    I am not aware of a term to describe what Luke Lue is asking.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Interesting. If that's the case, you have answered Luke Lue's question. I thought "non-stop flight" and "direct flight" were synonymous.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    ... but see this from Wikipedia, which conforms to my experience:

    "The term "direct flight" is not legally defined in the United States,[3] but since the 1970s the Official Airline Guides have defined the term simply as a flight(s) with a single flight number.[3](In earlier years "direct" in the OAG did mean "no plane change".) While so-called "direct" flights may thus involve changes in aircraft (a "change of gauge"), or even airline[3] at the intermediate point, they are typically—but not always—differentiated from "connecting flights" in that the airline will enforce a dependency between multiple legs of the flight, so that leg two cannot operate if leg one has failed to arrive at the departure airport."
     

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    What I described in post 4 may be out of date; it could have changed (not for the better) since I retired from the industry.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I use "direct flight" to mean "non-stop flight". I suspect many other customers (not airline employees) do too.

    If airlines use it with a different meaning, then their customer-service people must get into tens of thousands of arguments every day.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Direct" is probably a PR term that makes all the stops seem less onerous.

    If I hear a travel agent say, "I have a direct flight for you from New York to Mexico City." I would assume that it was non stop. Properly stated it would be "I have a direct flight from New York to Mexico City with a stop at Dallas."

    I assume that if I had to change planes it would no longer be a "direct flight". So in that regard a "direct flight" is preferred over an indirect one.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... I assume that if I had to change planes it would no longer be a "direct flight". So in that regard a "direct flight" is preferred over an indirect one.
    Unfortunately, sdgraham (and the Wikipedia entry he quoted) are correct. A so-called "direct" flight can involve a plane change. This typically happens when a flight from A to B and then C has many more passengers on one leg (A-B or B-C) than the other, so the airline replaces a larger aircraft with a smaller one (or vice versa) for the second leg of the flight. I have been on such flights more than once.

    The statement there that "leg two cannot operate if leg one has failed to arrive at the departure airport" is not, however, always correct. If leg 1 is delayed by more than an hour or two, perhaps cancelled entirely if there is bad weather at its departure point, leg 2 may depart anyhow - especially if most of its passengers do not come from leg 1. This can lead to the confusing situation of an airline having two aircraft, both called "Flight 214" or whatever, in the air at the same time. They have special temporary flight numbers, usually in the nine thousands ("Flight 9XXX") to deal with this situation. It doesn't happen often, but with thousands of flights departing every day from airports all over the world, it happens often enough that they need a standard procedure to handle it.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I think it would take only one trip on a "direct flight" to bring travelers' vocabularies up to speed. :D

    Seriously, the "direct flight" on the same aircraft with en route stops might be on its way to being a thing of the past. My impression is that airlines (the one I fly, at least) want to empty the cabins at each stop, perhaps for security, perhaps for their convenience in cleaning or seat assignments.

    I don't fly as much as I did pre-retirement, but on a recent trip via Chicago (or perhaps Denver), the woman deplaning ahead of me was confused by her smartphone app that said her connecting flight to California in 40 minutes or so was at the same gate she just exited.

    I heard her talking to the gate agent who assured her that all was well and, yes, it was the same aircraft, but with a different flight number. :confused:
     

    Scrawny goat

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    To get back to your original question, I call those journeys ‘two sector flights’. I’ve also taken ‘three sector flights’ (with two changes). I think it’s probably jargon, but there was a time I did a lot of long haul travel and I must have picked it up then. It’s a handy expression, but not terribly commonly used I think.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I just researched a little bit about non-stop flight.
    A non-stop flight is basically a flight between two points with no intermediate stops. But I wonder what is the opposite of a non-stop flight? Do you call it, like, indirect flight? or because there will be stops in between, you may try "connected flight"?
    My answer way above was based on my long experience writing for Cathay Pacific Airways, but I thought it would be good to research the terms to see if anything has changed recently, or if Cathay Pacific's terms were for Asia, and perhaps not all of the world.

    All of the major sources I found agree with the following definitions from Condé Nast Traveler, so I'll just quote those below. The article is longer, so you might like to read it:

    The Important Difference Between Non-Stop and Direct Flights

    Non-stop

    A non-stop flight is from one airport to another, without any stops along the way.

    Direct

    A direct flight is from one airport to another, but includes stops in one or more cities along the way. The flight number or aircraft and your boarding pass remain the same, however, until the final destination is reached.


    It goes on to say that you will often stay onboard or, if local regulations require it, you may have to disembark with your luggage and then reboard the same plane in the same seat.

    Connecting

    Connecting flights are from one city to another, with a layover stop in between to change planes. Each flight requires a separate boarding pass, but they're on one itinerary.


    As has been noted, many passengers, especially those who fly infrequently or who are flying for the first time, consider "direct" and "nonstop" to be the same, so it pays to look at your itinerary before you book your ticket. Many of the "hub airlines" will take you from A to B through their hub, C. That would be considered a direct flight.
     
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