Direct, nonstop and connecting flights-what’s the difference?
When you’re booking a flight, it’s important that you are aware of the difference between nonstop, direct and connecting flights. Believe it or not, there is a difference. If you are new to travel or just don't know, you could be in for a very big surprise. Fortunately, our Travel Experts have flown more than a few flights to know the difference. So, before you sit down to book your flight, read our Travel Experts guide to choosing between direct, nonstop and connecting flights. Nonstop flights are just that, flights that leave one airport, arrive at another with no stops. Usually, nonstop flights are the most expensive option, but are also big time savers. Direct flights are NOT nonstop. Not many carriers have DIRECT flights, but knowing what direct flights are is important. A Direct flight is a flight between 2 cities, that makes at least one stop en route to the destination. For example , you want to book a flight from San Juan (SJU) to Chicago Midway (MDW) on Southwest Airlines. You select the flight that has 2 stops and no plane change. This is a DIRECT flight. You will remain on the plane, but you’re stopping twice along the way. If you were click on the link in the picture below, you’d see that this flight stops in Baltimore and Pittsburgh to pick up (or drop off) passengers before getting to your final destination. Using the screen caps below as a reference, you’ll see that the cirlced flight has 2 stops with no plane change. In the second image, we’ve clicked on the link so that you can see where the stops are. Passengers who booked this flight, from SJU to MDW would simply remain on the aircraft; whereas those who booked, say SJU to BWI will deplane. Example of a direct flight Showing stops made en route Finally, there is the connecting flight. In this case, you’ll have two flight numbers (maybe more depending on connections) and also a change of aircraft. You’ll have enough time (hopefully) to to make the 2nd flight. Usually connecting flights are less expensive than nonstops, but could take hours longer to arrive to your end location. However, since you are changing planes, there’s a chance that checked baggage can miss the connection, or that YOU could miss your flight. This can happen if the first flight is late, if there’s bad weather at one airport or the next (or even along the way) or even if you take too long getting from one gate to the next. (That’s an entirely different blog post!) Allowing sufficient time between flights is something that the Travel Experts always suggest! There you have it…we hope that you now understand the difference between nonstop, direct and connecting flights and that you’ll be able to make an educated purchase when you’re ready for your next trip.