PASSENGERS are wasting money by buying the wrong type of flight tickets because they simply don't understand the difference between non-stop and direct flights.
The two terms sound similar, and are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference.
Both types of flight carry a single flight number and passengers don't change planes, however direct flights can sometimes stop en route.
That could either be to drop passengers off, pick others up, or to top up on fuel.
As aviation blog BudgetAir.co.uk points out, those stops give passengers a greater chance of getting delayed than a non-stop flight, but it could save them a bit of money.
They wrote: "The two are different. In a direct flight, you do not change planes and you have only one flight number.
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"Unlike the non-stop flight, the plane makes a stop en route to the final destination for refuelling and picking up and dropping off passengers. If you are in a hurry, a direct flight may not be the right choice.
"A non-stop flight is just as it sounds – a flight that goes from one point to another without making a stop. They are usually the most expensive flights.
"Passengers on non-stop flights are not affected by unexpected delays at the airport after take-off, including refuelling."
There are several examples of these direct flights that stop en route available, some of which were highlighted by aviation website simpleflying.com.
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They state: "Cathay Pacific has been known to offer several flights a day between Hong Kong and Singapore, with some of them making a stop in Bangkok en route. The airline has also been able to sell Bangkok – Singapore tickets as a result."
Although that flight is technically a direct route between Hong Kong and Singapore, it still has a stopover in Bangkok.
Those travelling the full distance between Hong Kong and Singapore won't get off the plane while it stops, but those travelling to Bangkok will.
Similarly, those flying from Bangkok will board the aircraft at that stop.
That stopover increases the risk of delay because of the change of passengers and the need to once again get takeoff permission at another airport.
Simple Flying also revealed another common direct route that stops, between London and Sydney.
That route includes a stop in Singapore, and is therefore direct, but not non-stop.
Some airlines will offer both a non-stop and a direct route between the same two cities, so they can charge more for the non-stop route.
Simple Flying added: "Singapore to New York is a route on which Singapore Airlines passengers actually have a choice between non-stop and direct.
"For those wanting to save money by traveling in standard economy class, the carrier also connects the two cities directly via a two-hour stop at Germany's Frankfurt Airport."
Although direct flights don't necessarily mean the plane won't stop, it's unlikely that they will nowadays, without first specifying.
Reader's Digest point out: "You probably won’t find yourself making any unexpected stops on a future flight.
"Airlines often don’t expect you to know the difference between the two terms, so it’s likely that they will still list every stop on a flight’s itinerary."
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