What's The Difference Between A Direct & A Non-Stop Flight?

What's The Difference Between A Direct & A Non-Stop Flight?
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Your guide to common flight terminology

Bhavika Govil
May 15 , 2019
02 Min Read

Frequent flier or travelling by plane for the first time--there are a few terms that baffle us all when flying. Put a stop to the confusion and read below the meanings and explanations to some of the most common flight terms. 

Red-eye flight


Ever heard the phrase “I’m flying on the red-eye” or “I took the red-eye to _________ (insert destination here)” and been bemused? Red-eye flights, despite their ominous name, are actually quite simple--they are flights that leave passengers with sleepy or tired, red eyes. In other words, these are flights that leave at night and reach a destination only in the morning. Red-eye flights leave the traveller tired and often jet-lagged, but on the upside, can be cheaper than regular flights. In addition, they have the advantage of a full day ahead.


This is a simple one. ETA is the estimated time of arrival at a destination. You’ll hear the term during the captain’s announcement to the flight passengers.    


A sneek peak into a cockpitA less common term is ETE, which means estimated time en route. Simply, that means the duration of the flight, or the time between take-off and touchdown. 

The difference between direct and non-stop flights

Often used interchangeably, you’ll be surprised to know that in terms of flights, ‘direct’ and ‘non-stop’ aren’t actually the same thing. A non-stop flight flies from point A to point B without any stops at all. A direct flight is one in which passengers don’t have to change flights during their journey, but the flight itself may take stops at different destinations either to take on more passengers, refuel or other reasons.  


An ATC towerSitting in an aircraft with an unexplainable delay? The pilots must not have got clearance from ATC. ATC refers to Air Traffic Control, the service provided by the authorities who plan the air traffic, in other words, try and navigate flights safely from and to the airport’s airspace. They’re the ones who oversee the schedule for the runway and time for take off, landing, taxying of flights. And if you’re flight is circling for too long before landing, they’re probably the ones who haven’t given clearance to land them. So you know whom to blame!

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