Flights or airplanes have grown to be the most preferred mode of transportation for those ideally wanting to cover long distances. However, while you book flights online, you often may have come across terms like a direct flight, a non-stop flight or a layover/connecting flight.
Knowing the differences in these terms will help when you book flights online. The criteria for the difference between these three terms basically impact the ticket prices, length of the flight and the comfort of your journey. No two types of flights are identical here.
If you want to understand which type to choose when you book flights online the next time read further,
Firstly, direct flights and non-stop flights are not the same terms and cannot be used interchangeably. For direct flights, you do not have to change flights and even your flight number stays the same. However, the plane does take a stop en route to the final destination. This stop can be either for the purpose of refuelling and picking up or dropping off passengers or for both purposes. The stop can usually add about 1 or 2 hours to your total flight time.
Advantages of a Direct Flight:
- If you want to find a middle ground between saving money and time, a direct flight is the best bet.
- It is less complicated than layover flights as you don’t have to change any flights, lowering the risk of losing your baggage or missing your second flight due to a lack of enough layover time.
- They only take up an extra hour or two taking up less time than a layover flight.
Disadvantages of a Direct Flight:
- Direct flights are more expensive than a layover or connecting flights.
- It will definitely add 1 or 2 more hours to your commute time.
E.g: If you are on a direct flight from Delhi to Bengaluru, it is likely to have a stopover in Mumbai for refuelling or picking up or dropping passengers.
In the literal sense, a non-stop flight is just like it sounds. It makes its journey from one point to another without taking any stops in between. Non-stop flights have a single flight number and passengers complete their journey without a delay for any of the reasons including delay in airport takeoff, layover time, refuelling, etc. Those who take the time factor into consideration and don’t want to waste any should opt for non-stop flights. It is to be noticed that all direct flights are non-stop flights for at least some time.
Advantages of a Non-stop Flight:
- It is the most convenient if you don’t want to face any hassle of changing flights.
- It is the quickest way to cover the distance between two destinations as there are no stops and you do not have to waste any time waiting.
- Since you are not changing flights, you do not have to worry about having less time to switch planes or lose your baggage.
Disadvantages of a Non-stop Flight:
- Non-stop flights are the most expensive ones as they provide the luxury of not wasting any time.
- Long-haul non-stop flights can be exhausting for travellers.
E.g: If you take a non-stop flight from Delhi to Bangalore there will be no stop in between both destinations.
Layover or connecting flights are the ones that usually have at least one stop between the first and last destination. During the layover, passengers get off the first flight and change flight services to get on another flight. So, during the trip, they fly on two or more flights and have different flight numbers. So basically while you book flights online from Point A to Point B, layover flights usually take you via a Point C in between where you have to change flights.
If you are looking for some sort of mini-tour then layover flights can be your option, because sometimes the layovers are several hours long, enough to take a small tour of the city you have stopped in. For e.g. Changi Airport of Singapore offers tours to passengers who are having a layover at the airport.
However, layover flights need a lot of precision in planning as you need to balance the timings of both flights giving you enough time to hop off one, clear the formalities and hop on another flight. Usually, long-distance flyers, those who want to travel halfway across the globe, prefer taking these connecting flights. Many times, both connecting flights belong to the same company or alliance to help the passengers manage their journey.
Advantages of layover Flights:
- If you want to save money, layover flights are the best option as they are comparatively cheaper than direct and non-stop flights.
- You get to break a long journey into smaller parts and the layover time can be used to rejuvenate yourselves.
- A longer layover time gives you enough time to leave the airport and roam in the city.
Disadvantages of layover Flights:
- Time is the biggest constraint here as you will easily have to spare several hours in waiting before you complete your journey.
- You will have to check in and check out your luggage twice which means added waiting time.
- Depending on the airport terminal or gate number of your flight you will have to do a lot of walking across the airport.
- If there is a delay in the first flight and you do not have an ample amount of time in the layover, you might miss your second flight.
- Two different flights mean double the chances of delay due to weather or air traffic.
- If you prefer convenience over money, connecting flights might not be the one for you.
E.g: If you are flying from Mumbai to London, you would have a layover in Dubai before you continue your journey.
Also Read: 6 Flight Tips To Cope With Long Haul Flights
Direct, Non-stop or Layover, which Flight to book?
Now that you know the meanings, advantages and disadvantages between direct, non-stop and layover flights, the next time you book flights online you know which one to choose according to your convenience.
Once you book flights online, to complete your trip, the next step is going to get a visa online for the particular country. If you are planning to visit the country for a vacation then you should also check out some best yet affordable tour packages to complete planning your trip beforehand only.
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