Flight secrets: The one major mistake you could be making when booking a plane seat

Travellers are often on the hunt for both the cheapest – and the quickest – way to arrive at their final destination. When it comes to flights, this can often mean opting for a budget airline and a minimal number of stops. Particularly for long-haul destinations, the amount of travel time can be dramatically reduced by a low number of layovers, or a complete absence of stops until the final destination. Yet this time luxury often comes at a price, meaning holidaymakers are forced to do their sums and see what their budget allows.

Those using flight price comparison sites often look at the number of stops involved when making a journey, with the higher the number usually meaning a longer travel time.

Yet travel author Christopher Bartlett has warned honing in on a low flight time, or the phrase ‘direct flight’ could be a major error.

Talking of a potential costly mistake, he wrote in his new book Plane Clever: “People often misunderstand the term ‘direct flight’, thinking it means non stop when it may only mean the flight will be in the same aircraft, with several intermediate stops.

“Worse, in airline speak it could even mean the flight number remains the same throughout, with the need to change planes.”

He added: “Therefore, if you want to fly non stop, make sure it is truly non stop by doubly checking the number is zero.

“Websites usually give the total journey duration, which is a good indication.”


During a direct flight, the stop or stops can sometimes be to allow extra passengers to board the aircraft.

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It can also mean the plane can take on additional fuel.

Therefore, those looking to jet away should look for the particular phrase non stop on booking.

This means the aircraft will not visit another city, and simply take travellers from their origin to intended destination in one flight.

Meanwhile, when booking aircraft fares, Christopher also advised passengers to opt for ‘locked in’ price options.

Budget airline, Ryanair, recently announced it would double the amount of time passengers can amend bookings for free, if they realise they have made a mistake.

It has launched a 48-hour free charge grace period for changes to bookings instead of the previous 24-hour window.

The airline unveiled the amendment as part of its new customer care improvements.

Ryanair explained on their website: “Customers who have booked their flight directly on the Ryanair.com website have a 24 hour grace period from the time of original booking, to correct any minor errors (i.e. spelling of names, incorrect routings/dates/times) free of charge.”

It also promises to deliver “More Choice, Lower Fares and Great Care” to its 152m customers.

Daily Express :: Travel News Feed
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