fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Don't confuse 'direct' with 'nonstop' flights

I was trying to book a flight between cities in other states to coincide with my time off while working out of the area. I found multiple flights, including "direct" flights and "nonstops." I always thought direct meant nonstop; now I'm thinking otherwise. Can you help?

— Bart E., via email

It sounds perfectly plausible to think of direct and nonstop as one in the same, but that's not the case.

A lot of us confuse a direct flight with a nonstop flight. A nonstop flight is just that, airport to airport, with no intermediate stops. A direct flight, is a flight from, let's say, Medford to Seattle with a stop in Portland but with no change in flight number or aircraft.

Medford airport Director Bern Case said almost every plane is headed to more than one destination after it leaves Medford.

"Flights to Portland don't necessarily come back here," he said. "Some go to Boise or Spokane."

Direct flights were quite common, until Congress deregulated the airline industry.

"In the milk-run days sometimes you would see a plane make four or five stops," Case said. "After 1978 when deregulation began you saw the development of hubs and spokes."

One Since You Asked old-timer (he swears it wasn't a biplane) recalls taking a direct flight in the early '70s from Salem to Boise, with stops in Portland and Pendleton. He highly recommends nonstop flights over direct flights.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.