Shorthaul Flights: Full Service Indirect Vs. Low Cost Direct

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Most major, full service airlines around the world operate a ‘hub and spoke’ route network model. This means that on most of their flights, you will be flying either to or from one of their hubs.

You might be lucky enough to have a direct flight, especially if you live near a hub, otherwise you may have to connect, at least once. Connecting can add significant time to your journey because the connection may not be in a straight ‘as the crow flies’ line, adding to the flight times, and the layover at the hub may be significant.

Low cost carriers have realised this and will either consider any airport they base a plane in overnight to be a ‘hub,’ or only operate direct routes with no option for passengers to connect. Ryanair boss Michael O’Learly once famously said ‘passengers will fly from nowhere to somewhere, or somewhere to nowhere but not nowhere to nowhere.’ So provided they can operate a direct flight from either a ‘real’ airport or to a ‘real’ airport, passengers don’t mind where they begin and end their journey.