These can be two types of direct flights –
(i) the airline may go non stop from the departure city to the arrival city, e.g., from Delhi to Mumbai, or Delhi to London. It means there is no change in aircraft or flight.
(ii) The airline may go from the departure city to the arrival city via another or many cities, e.g., Delhi to New York via Dubai and London, without changing aircraft or by the same flight number of the same airline.
Direct flights are suitable for any tourist or travel operator because it is convenient. There is no problem with airport formalities, transfers, and stopovers.
But sometimes it is not possible:
- there may be no direct flight,
- any sector may be tiny where large airlines may not serve,
- the frequency of trips may not be suitable for the itinerary
e.g., one wants to go to Nairobi (Kenya) from Nagpur.
In another case, if a person visits Delhi – Rome – Paris – Oslo. In both cases, there is a breakage in the journey.
This breakage may be due to two reasons :
(i) unavailability of direct flights
(ii) the tourist wants breakage to visit the cities.
In both cases, if there is no direct flight or break in the journey, then he has to change the airplane that is known as flight transfer or connections. While making connections, one should use the Official Airline Guide (OAG) Book. It is a comprehensive book about all IATA member airlines, flight schedules, city/airport codes, etc. In this post, at first, one should find out the departure and arrival points on an airline route. Then select some intermediate points as a hub. Then connect the places with minimum connecting time. The minimum connecting time is the shortest time interval needed to transfer a passenger from one flight to the next trip. Each transfer or connection needs minimum connecting time, which depends on several factors, e.g., types of transmission, level of technology at airports, etc.
There are 4 types of transfers :
Domestic to Domestic:– When a passenger changes flights in his own country, e.g., Delhi to Nagpur and Nagpur to Chennai. Such connections take less time because there are no immigration formalities.
Domestic to International:– When a passenger comes from a smaller place to larger airport (hub) to board international flights, e.g., from Lucknow to Delhi and Delhi to London. Such transfer needs immigration formality, so it takes a longer time.
International to Domestic:- When a passenger London to Delhi and Delhi to Jaipur, it has some case as No. 2, i.e., it takes a long time.
International to International:– e.g., from Delhi to London and London to New York. Such a connection also takes a long time due to immigration formalities.
Besides, if the airport has inferior technology or staff is not very efficient, or the plane is very more significant (e.g., A-380), then that also takes a longer time. Typically, in the case of domestic flights needs at least 30-60 minutes while in International connection needs 2-4 hours. This is known as check-in time or reporting time. Usually, all domestic passengers are advised to report 30-45 minutes and international passengers to report 3-4 hours before the actual time of flight, known as check-in time.
Now we can understand the case of transfer by an example. A passenger arrives at ‘A’ airport at 0930 Hrs. And the next flight to the next destination is at 0945 Hrs., otherwise there is no flight for the next four days, then what can we do? The answer is that he cannot take the next trip. It does not matter that this is a domestic or international flight. In both cases, if he has to change his flight, then he will leave the airplane, reach to arrival lounge, his luggage will be handed over to him, then he will move for next ‘Board Pass’ (which is needed to enter in a plane), then to next departure lounge with baggage checks, then to next flight. All these formalities will take a lot of time. If it is a case of an international trip, then add the time of both sides’ immigration formalities.
Thus, while making an Air Itinerary, one should keep an eye on the timings of flights with the connecting schedules with a safe margin of time. There can be a delay in flights due to several reasons.
Reference: DDEKUK content is Written By: “Prof Ravi Kumar Bhushan” DTHM, KUK