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Direct flights -- Why? What about Mileage Credit?

Direct flights -- Why? What about Mileage Credit?

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Old Aug 12, 19, 8:36 am   -   Wikipost
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Originally Posted by tlawrence85 View Post
'Direct' flights are not the same as non-stop flights.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_flight

"A direct flight in the aviation industry is any flight between two points by an airline with no change in flight numbers, which may include a stop over at an intermediate point."
Non-Stop -- A flight between two airports with no stops / no other airport involved.

Direct flight -- a flight booked as a flight between two airports BUT will involve a scheduled connection (landing/departure) at another airport. The same plane may or may not be used for each segment of the flight. {On UA, generally does not involve the same aircraft and may use a different type of airplane}

Why done
  • So that the direct flight shows as a competitive option vs non-stops in third party online booking sites.
  • Conservation of flight numbers, due to shortage of 4-digit flight numbers, this allows for more flights without using more flight numbers

For UA, mileage credit is the same for a non-stop and a direct flight. You "lose" out of the extra flight miles.
Possible resolution is to see if the direct flight can be split into the separate flight segments -- some times this is possible, other times it is not.

There can be seat assignment issues on direct flights especially if aircraft type is different.
Upgrades will not clear on direct flights in advance unless upgrade space is available on both flights. Gate upgrades will process based on the individual flights.


Related thread
Direct Flight Seat Selection Bug?

Selecting Seats/Upgrade Issues on Second Leg of "Direct" Flight Itinerary

Solution for seat assignment missing on direct flight

Upgrade Individual Flights on direct flight
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Old Apr 29, 13, 7:45 am
  #1  
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Question Direct flights -- Why? What about Mileage Credit?

Searching for award space on United.. I see a number of 'direct flights' with 'Time on ground - Change planes' listed. How is that not a 1-stopper?
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Old Apr 29, 13, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by NetBrowser07 View Post
Searching for award space on United.. I see a number of 'direct flights' with 'Time on ground - Change planes' listed. How is that not a 1-stopper?
'Direct' flights are not the same as non-stop flights.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_flight

"A direct flight in the aviation industry is any flight between two points by an airline with no change in flight numbers, which may include a stop over at an intermediate point."
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Old Apr 29, 13, 8:37 am
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the same way southwest does. when i was doing SDC yesterday, .bomb was trying to offer me a two stop direct flight from xxx to yyy. no thanks.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 10:17 am
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The Island Hopper is a direct flight between HNL and GUM with only 5 stops on the way.

Originally Posted by ddrost1 View Post
the same way southwest does. when i was doing SDC yesterday, .bomb was trying to offer me a two stop direct flight from xxx to yyy. no thanks.
I thought that WN's "direct" flights are generally on the same aircraft (i.e. no change of gauge).
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Old Apr 29, 13, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by ralfp View Post
I thought that WN's "direct" flights are generally on the same aircraft (i.e. no change of gauge).
Hard to have a change of "gauge" when they only fly one airframe, 737's. (and yes, I know they have different variants of 737's)
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Old Apr 29, 13, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by NetBrowser07 View Post
Searching for award space on United.. I see a number of 'direct flights' with 'Time on ground - Change planes' listed. How is that not a 1-stopper?
To add only a little to other comments.

A Direct flight is sold as a single segment between origin and destination, despite changes of airplane(s), types or anything else. That can be important. On award travel DL LGA-GIG will count as one leg although you'll be on a 752 out of LGA and a 764 out of ATL. Normally that does work to consumer benefit but sometimes they do refuse that too.

There are a good number of long multisegement direct flights too, mostly holdovers from long-gone days (PanAm had flights #1 and #2, this is flight #1 itinerary from 1970's LAX-SFO-HND-HKG-BKK-DEL-KHI-(BEY or THR)-IST-FRA-LHR-JFK-PHL. Nobody since then has gone quite that far with direct flights. This one had no change of gauge, 747 throughout. UA ran #1 and #2 for some years with altered routing and downguaged equipment following their purchase of PanAm routes.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by ddrost1 View Post
the same way southwest does. when i was doing SDC yesterday, .bomb was trying to offer me a two stop direct flight from xxx to yyy. no thanks.
And you have to be pretty careful, because sometimes the SDC options for "direct flights" don't even show that there are plane changes, so one could select it thinking that it is a non-stop but end up having to switch multiple times just because United can't figure out how to use new numbers.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 10:43 am
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I thought that WN's "direct" flights are generally on the same aircraft (i.e. no change of gauge).
That they are. I took TUL-ATL once that was listed as a direct flight. It stopped in DAL and AUS on the way but I never got off the plane

The last time I will fly WN again..
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Old Apr 29, 13, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by fieldeng View Post
That they are. I took TUL-ATL once that was listed as a direct flight. It stopped in DAL and AUS on the way but I never got off the plane

The last time I will fly WN again..
I think the point was that on WN at least direct means "same plane", so you can stay onboard and generally won't miss a connection (though that's not guaranteed) -- other airlines (like UA) use the same flight number even when you must exit and connect to a completely different plane, which IMHO is just dishonest.

Side story -- one of our favorite family trips was a WN one-stop flight PIT-MDW-SMF. We landed at MDW early, and had a relaxing 45 minutes chatting with the FAs and the pilot on the mostly empty plane. The pilot invited my young kids to sit in the cockpit, which they loved. My son and I then decided to get off to go walk around the terminal a bit, and the GA took our names and old us to just be back 5 minutes before boarding would start, and she whisked us back on the plane first, no muss no fuss. Don't always like extra stops, but this time it was great.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 11:15 am
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Originally Posted by jmastron View Post
...use the same flight number even when you must exit and connect to a completely different plane, which IMHO is just dishonest...
It is not dishonest.
Direct- same flight number
Non-stop= without stops
Those are two definitions that have been clear and unambiguous since the 1950's. It is only during the last few years that people have been confused.
The larger the network the more direct flights they usually have. The more small airports served from a single large one, the more direct flights they will usually have.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 11:27 am
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Originally Posted by jbcarioca View Post
It is not dishonest.
Direct- same flight number
Non-stop= without stops
Those are two definitions that have been clear and unambiguous since the 1950's. It is only during the last few years that people have been confused.
The larger the network the more direct flights they usually have. The more small airports served from a single large one, the more direct flights they will usually have.
I disagree completely with this. It may be clear and unambiguous to those in the industry and many frequent travelers, but I hear MANY occasional flyers and even frequent flyers use the terms interchangeably. In fact, I've noted the confusion at least since the early 90s, when I myself was confused about it.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 12:01 pm
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I recall that the term "direct" was a carryover from the railroads. A direct routing may stop at numerous places enroute.

the airlines added that a plane change was also allowed on the same flight number. grrrrrrr

Sadly, many people think that direct = non-stop.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by jbcarioca View Post
It is not dishonest.
Direct- same flight number
Non-stop= without stops
Those are two definitions that have been clear and unambiguous since the 1950's. It is only during the last few years that people have been confused.
The larger the network the more direct flights they usually have. The more small airports served from a single large one, the more direct flights they will usually have.
I don't have an issue with the non-stop vs direct terminology, when "direct" is used to mean the plane stops one or more times and you stay on it. It's the usage of "direct" to include changing planes that I find dishonest.

There's no functional benefit to the passenger for such a plane-changing "direct" flight over a connecting flight -- you have to get off one plane and find a different gate, wait in line to board again, the onward flight can (and often does) leave earlier than the inbound causing the same misconnects. In most cases, there are drawbacks for the passenger over a connecting itinerary -- counts as only one segment and miles may be shortchanged as AAA-CCC vs AAA-BBB-CCC, sometimes upgrades and seats are harder to deal with.

The airline benefits by faking search engines into showing the flight first; that's really all.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by ddrost1 View Post
the same way southwest does. when i was doing SDC yesterday, .bomb was trying to offer me a two stop direct flight from xxx to yyy. no thanks.
This brings up the eternal question, to which I've been seeking the answer: if you were to further SDC in the middle of that "direct" flight, to a flight with a different flight number, what mileage credit would you get?
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Old Apr 29, 13, 5:41 pm
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With the exception of the island hopper, does UA still have direct flights where passengers can remain on board during the intermediate stop?
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