How to Decide Between Direct and Nonstop Flights

Nov 28, 2018

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

It’s easy to think a direct flight and a nonstop flight are the same thing, but they're far from it.

Nonstop is simple: You go straight to your destination, no stops made.

If you’re flying on a direct flight, you’ll stay on the same plane and make at least one stop. Stops can take up to an hour while some passengers leave and others board.

Pros of flying nonstop

The main perk of nonstop flights is you spend the least amount of time in the air as possible.

Additionally, you will never have to worry about weather delays in the stop city or cities.

The con: They can be more expensive than direct flights.

Pros of flying direct

While they aren’t as convenient as nonstop flights, they still have their perks. For instance, at 5 feet, 4 inches tall, I’m happy to not have to change planes and try to get my carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment twice.

You’ll rarely get to a smaller town nonstop from a major city without a connection. Since the flight is direct, you’ll never miss your connection if the flight is late.

Another cool bonus of a direct flight is you can pick up a friend in another city along the way. This is great for friends now living in different parts of the country.

If you have a choice between a nonstop and a direct flight to the same location, the direct flight could also be a better option if the price is lower, you have accrued frequent flyer miles and are close to a free ticket or the departure time is more realistic for you.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.