Passengers are always surprised when their flight has a stopover. You have booked a direct flight and direct means that there is no stop. This assumption is fundamentally wrong and the widespread error is occasionally exploited by airlines, but also by tour operators.
If you want to fly without a scheduled stopover, you have to book a so-called non-stop flight. In the case of direct flights, there may be any number of stopovers and, on top of that, it is not necessary to explicitly draw attention to this circumstance. From a purely legal point of view, it is sufficient if a direct and not a non-stop flight is offered and this gives the tour operator and/or airline the license and later Complaints will come to nothing. But what exactly are the differences that passengers should look out for when booking?
A direct flight is a non-stop flight from a departure airport to a destination. However, the term "direct flight" does not necessarily mean that the flight is non-stop. A direct flight may have one or more stopovers, however passengers remain on board the aircraft throughout the flight. During the stopover, for example, the aircraft can be refueled or passengers can board and disembark.
A non-stop flight is a flight that goes from a departure airport to a destination with no intermediate landings or stopovers. On a non-stop flight, the plane stays in the air throughout the flight and lands directly at the destination. A non-stop flight is usually faster and more convenient than a direct flight with stopovers.
It is important to note that a non-stop flight is not the same as a "non-stop flight" as this term only means that the flight continues without interruption, but is not necessarily non-stop or non-stop.
Some fictional examples of direct flights with stopovers are:
- New York – Los Angeles with a stopover in Chicago
- London – Sydney with a stopover in Singapore or Dubai
- Frankfurt – Bangkok with a stopover in Abu Dhabi
- São Paulo – Tokyo with a stopover in Madrid or Dubai
- Dubai – San Francisco with a stop in Dallas
Important: There is no limit to the number of stopovers on a direct flight. It depends on various factors, such as the flight route, the type of aircraft, the flight schedule and the airline, whether a direct flight with one or more stopovers is offered. Passengers should therefore always research the details of the flight before booking their trip to ensure they have the right expectations and that the trip suits their needs.