I took some grief (good-natured, I hope 😉 ) about the wording in a post yesterday. We’re going to vote on it.
Nonstop Debate About “Nonstop”
In Delta Plans 200 Daily Nonstops from Boston in 2021, I used the word “nonstop” to describe a flight departing from one airport and landing at another. A single takeoff, a single landing. Point A to Point B.
Then Jon added, “You could say that there are “non-stop” (direct flight) itineraries, but every flight stops at its destination.”
(I guess yesterday was John/Jon Day here at René’s Points.)
Yes, “nonstop” seems like an obvious misnomer. Every flight does indeed stop/end at a destination (intended or otherwise). No flight goes on forever (even if we’re in first class, relaxing in a lie-flat bed, sipping good liquor after a nice meal and really want it to never end!)
Many travel writers say “nonstop” because “direct” isn’t exactly an accurate term. More on that in a minute.
But then reader Haris (whose bio reads “You can’t spell CHARISMA without HARIS.” Amazing!) dropped us a Tweet and said:
Every flight is a non-stop.
— Haris (@kingharis) July 22, 2019
See? Haris gets me! But then I start rethinking this whole “nonstop” business.
Oy. This makes my head hurt.
Why Didn’t I Just Say “Direct”?
I stay away from “direct” because that word, too, can be misleading.
Direct flights can have connections. (I know, I know.) “‘(Direct)’ means that the flight number doesn’t change, even as the aircraft may make one — or more — stops,” Travel + Leisure‘s Erika Owen explains.
- Houston (HOU)
- Austin (AUS)
- San Jose (SJC)
Wait! We’re still not there!
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Tuscon (TUS)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
And finally arriving at John Wayne.
Jeez. You could Lime Scooter from Indianapolis to John Wayne faster than taking the “direct” flight.
What About “Flight”?
John (this one) later suggested “In this case the correct term is ‘flights.'” If I remember correctly from meeting him at the Chicago Seminars, John is (or was) a lawyer. (And a nice guy!) So correct verbiage is in his wheelhouse.
Yes, “flight” is correct. And, really, I couldn’t go wrong with it.
But then people may wonder if it’s “Flight? As in ‘nonstop'”?
Or “Flight? As in ‘direct’ when one needs to go 230 miles but ends up traversing the country three times on a Southwest flight in the process?”
Thank you to the people who commented. And thanks to everyone who participates with constructive, informative, and/or fun comments. Or with data points. Or relevant, thoughtful opinions. You keep me on my toes. And fingers.
I appreciate it.
So Let’s Vote!
What do you think?
What is a single operation from Point A to Point B? One takeoff, one landing.
- Nonstop (83%, 121 Votes)
- Direct (11%, 16 Votes)
- Flight (6%, 9 Votes)
Total Voters: 146
We’ll keep the polls open until Friday at 12 PM Eastern. (No interference or collusion, please.) I’ll post the final tally in Saturday’s weekly recap!
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