Will this be the year SAT finally gets a nonstop flight to D.C.? (2023)

Jenn Hussey’s Washington, D.C., condo, where she often travels for a visit with her elderly parents, is only two miles from the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

But Hussey’s flight path always takes her to Dulles International Airport instead, a 27-mile trip by car or train from the Virginia suburb to her condo.

She often makes the same trip from San Antonio for her job as a methadone clinic accreditor and it’s equally inconvenient.

“Easily, it’s 45 minutes to an hour and that is like if the traffic gods have aligned,” she said.

For years, federal law has limited how many direct flights go in and out of Reagan National, forcing inbound and outbound San Antonio travelers to choose Dulles or even Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

But, in an effort to increase the affordability and efficiency of air travel and strengthen economic growth in the region, a campaign is underway to change the rules as this fall Congress takes up the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill.

It’s an opportunity that comes along only every five years, and though past attempts have failed, officials believe this time could be different for the San Antonio International Airport.

The law limiting flights to airports within a 1,250-mile perimeter of Reagan National, which is owned by the federal government, has been in effect for decades. Houston is inside the perimeter while San Antonio is 1,600 miles from the capital.

Through the years, a few exceptions have been made, which include Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

But other major U.S. cities like San Antonio have been shut out by what is an “antiquated rule,” said Brian Walsh, spokesman for Capital Access Alliance, a nationwide coalition of groups pushing Congress to act.

“There aren’t a lot of people who understand that the reason you don’t have a lot oflong-distance flight choices out of [Reagan National] is actually a rule that was passed by Congress in the 1960s,” Walsh said. “And it was primarily implemented at the time to protect Dulles airport.”

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It was a protectionist measure to drive development to the area near the airport, but that area has tripled in size in the last 20 years, he said. “It’s just a much different situation than it is today,” he said.

Walsh said the Alliance realizes that Congress likely won’t eliminate the perimeter rule altogether.

“We’re focusing on what’s politically feasible in this environment,” he said. “So we are making the case [to update] it to help meet the demand we’re seeing from states like Texas and Washington State and elsewhere by doubling the amount of flights that go in and out of Reagan each day.”

Three San Antonio business groups, including the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, have signed on to support the Alliance, along with Greater:SATX.

In its efforts to increase nonstop air service at the San Antonio airport, the economic development nonprofit has targeted European destinations first and D.C. second, said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of Greater:SATX.

“It’s been tough to prioritize that route tactically because of this perimeter rule,” she said. “If and when that goes away, D.C. from a domestic perspective is number one by far.”

Unlocking nonstop air service to Reagan National, also known by its airport code DCA, would be a “game changer” for many reasons, she said, starting with the access needed by San Antonio’s large military and Department of Defense presence, cybersecurity operations and aircraft manufacturing and maintenance sector.

“For me, this is more than a potential for upside corporate recruitment investment,” Saucedo-Herrera said. “This is about existing businesses in San Antonio having connectivity with with the capital region and also about potential new investment downstream.”

Greater:SATX is also supporting the City of San Antonio’s attempt to persuade Congress to expand the perimeter rule.

Though the city has not joined the Alliance, it is actively lobbying for the cause.

“We know this is going to be a heavy lift,” said Sally Basurto, director of the city’s government affairs department, at a recent meeting of the council’s intergovernmental relations committee.

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In 2012, Congress authorized only eight new slots for Reagan National, bringing the total to a current 60. Each route is considered a slot, so San Antonio would need at least two to establish incoming and outgoing service.

Then, five years later in 2018, San Antonio had another failed shot at DCA when U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) offered an amendment to a House bill that would have allowed airlines with nonstop routes into Reagan National to swap out an existing route for one that flies to cities outside the perimeter.

Earlier this month, representatives from Utah and Georgia introduced the Direct Capital Access Act (HR 3185), legislation that would add 28 additional flights, within and beyond the DCA perimeter.

Basurto cited a study commissioned by the Alliance that showed the perimeter rule is outdated and is making travel in and out of DCA more expensive and time-consuming.

Expanding the number of long-distance flights could reduce ticket prices by an average $60, the study showed, and generate at least $400 million in economic benefits and $70 million in added tax revenues.

Lawmakers opposed to the change in slots and perimeter rules charge that their out-of-state colleagues are only looking out for themselves. United Airlines, which operates from about 70% of the gates at Dulles, also appears to be against any changes, Walsh said.

“We know that there’s going to be great opposition to this national effort, but we do appreciate the attention being brought to it at the national level,” Basurto said.

In April, the city worked to get a letter signed by a bipartisan delegation of Texas congressmen sent to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging them to authorize more direct flights from South Texas to DCA.

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican whose district includes San Antonio, also testified before the committee.

“This is a great milestone that we have accomplished and we will continue to work with them on our future action items and strategy,” Basurto said.

Assistant City Manager Jeff Coyle said the city is not partnering with the Alliance because its strategy to eliminate the perimeter rule “may be too heavy of a lift.”

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“The second issue is, we’re not married to a particular airline yet, either,” Coyle said. The Alliance is partnering with Delta Air Lines in its efforts.

“We may ultimately work with American or Southwest or United —or Delta — and so we’re cautiously talking to and appreciating the work that they’re doing,” he said.

San Antonio airport officials are talking with the airlines because demand is high, said Brian Pratte, chief air service and marketing officer for the San Antonio Airport System.

Before the pandemic, about 200 passengers a day flew from SAT to DCA and the same number the opposite direction. About that number also flew to and from Dulles and Baltimore airports, he said.

“San Antonio is the second largest market that is not served from DCA and that’s based on existing demand,” he said. “We’re closely behind San Diego. You can imagine both cities being military cities, we’re both very eager to get that.”

Pratte confirmed he has talked with airline partners about DCA service. “Yes, there’s interest in serving the route,” he said. “When airlines are looking at potentially profitable opportunities, they want to put those assets where it will make money and this is certainly one of those opportunities.”

Walsh of the Alliance said this go-round is the most nationally organized effort he has seen at getting more Reagan National flights than he has seen in 10 years and that could spell success for San Antonio.

“The expectation broadly is that when you consider the demand that exists in Texas, [San Antonio] would be one of the cities that the airlines would look would look at very closely,” Walsh said. But, “this is really going to be won or lost at the grassroots level.”

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Is a direct flight always nonstop? ›

Though the term 'direct' is used interchangeably with 'non-stop', the two are different. In a direct flight, you do not change planes and you have only one flight number. Unlike the non-stop flight, the plane makes a stop en route to the final destination for refueling and picking up and dropping off passengers.

Why are there so few nonstop flights? ›

Demand is the biggest reason; other reasons is competition in the area. Which airports specifically?

Which US city has the most direct flights to it? ›

Chicago still beats DFW for having the most combined domestic and international destinations among U.S. airports. O'Hare has 270 nonstop destinations worldwide, 10 more than DFW, according to Airports Council International.

Can a direct flight have stops? ›

A direct flight is from one airport to another, but includes stops in one or more cities along the way. The flight number or aircraft and your boarding pass remain the same, however, until the final destination is reached.

Why is it so hard to get a direct flight? ›

As airlines splinter their networks into increasingly frustrating fragments, finding nonstop, direct flights is more difficult than ever. Here's where to look. Ever since the airline industry returned from its pandemic-enforced slumber, carriers have struggled to maintain consistent schedules.

Which is better nonstop or direct flight? ›

Non-stop flights behave exactly as they sound; you'll fly straight from one airport to another, with no stops along the way. Direct flights, on the other hand, aren't quite as convenient. While the flight number doesn't change, the term “direct” means the plane may make one or more stops along its route.

How long is the current longest nonstop flight in the world? ›

Auckland (AKL) to New York (JFK) / Air New Zealand & Qantas / 8,828 miles / Boeing 787-9 (Qantas flight launches June 14, 2023)

Why is Southwest getting rid of nonstop flights? ›

Southwest Airlines is dropping nearly 20 nonstop routes in January to free up planes for flights with stronger demand, including its new Hawaii routes. Airlines routinely eliminate flights with weaker-than-expected performance but don't trumpet the cutbacks like they do new flights.

How long can a plane fly nonstop? ›

Theoretically, it could fly longer because all commercial planes land with a regulated diversion and reserve fuel and never with zero fuel. As such, the answer is that it could stay more than 20 hours in the air before running out of fuel.

What is the longest flight in the world? ›

Currently, the bragging rights for the longest flight in the world belong to Singapore Airlines. Its longest flight path, which connects Singapore's Changi Airport with New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, 9,585 miles away, takes 18 hours and 40 minutes. The carrier has been flying the route since 2021.

What is the longest direct flight in the US? ›

Hawaiian's Honolulu-Boston is the longest; for context, it's only 7% shorter than Los Angeles-London Heathrow. The 23 routes average 4,013 miles (6,458km), equivalent internationally to JFK-Munich and almost Miami-Santiago (Chile).

Which airline flies the most flights? ›

1) American Airlines (AA)

As of July 2022, major US carrier American Airlines (AA) flies to 350 destinations, including 269 domestic destinations and 81 international destinations in 50 countries.

Will flight stay on air without moving? ›

Airplanes stay in the air because of one simple fact-- there is no net force on them. And with no net force, an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays that way, even if it's in midair 10 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

What is hidden city ticketing? ›

Hidden city ticketing is when you buy a ticket with the intention of leaving the plane at a stopover, rather than the final destination. These types of journeys have the potential to save you a lot of money in comparison to a non-stop flight.

What happens if my direct flight is Cancelled? ›

If your flight gets cancelled by the airline, you are entitled to receive either a full ticket refund or a new flight. If the flight is cancelled after you have already arrived at the airport, you are also entitled to care.

Will flights get cheaper in 2023? ›

“In 2023, we expect that [trend] to reverse and year-over-year fares to fall,” Keyes said, pointing to Federal Reserve data indicating recent, modest drops in airfare—a shift that comes as airlines have begun to add more flights, fueling competition.

Are nonstop flights worth it? ›

For most people, nonstop flights offer a kind of convenience that is unmatched. A nonstop flight means less time in the sky (usually), less time at airports, and less overall time during the day that you have to devote to the travel experience. However, there are some benefits to a connecting itinerary.

Why are night flights faster? ›

At night, there's usually fewer flights and fewer passengers, so you can definitely expect faster movements on all lines. If you dislike weaving in and out through crowds, this is one of the best times to fly.

Are night or day flights better? ›

Pros & Cons of Flying at Night

As daylight heating gives way to nighttime cooling, the air generally becomes smoother and convective weather dissipates, providing a better ride for passengers and less work for pilots.

What do you call a flight with no stops? ›

While they may sound very similar, non-stop and direct flights are, in fact, not exactly the same. Indeed, while, as the name suggests, non-stop services will fly between two cities without other stops, direct flights may have them.

Are night flights or day flights better? ›

The early bird may be known for catching the worm, but it also catches the best flights. In fact, people who get the first flight in the morning can usually expect a smoother trip, friendlier staff, a cleaner plane and, often, a cheaper ticket.

Do pilots sleep on long flights? ›

Aviation regulators set the total hours pilots fly and how much sleep they must get between flights. During ultra-long-haul flights, pilots sleep in special cabins, which passengers can't access.

What is the shortest flight in the world? ›

Westray and Papa Westray, Scotland

The flight, operated by LoganAir has been in use for over 50 years and only takes 2 minutes which makes it the shortest flight in the world. In good weather conditions, you can reach Papa Westray in 47 seconds! The route is mainly used by island residents and tourists.

What is the longest passenger flight time? ›

1. Singapore Airlines: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
  • Flight number: SQ 23.
  • Aircraft flying: Airbus A350-900ULR.
  • Calculated distance: 9,527 miles.
  • Duration of flight: 18 hours, 50 minutes.
Sep 16, 2022

Will Southwest bring back nonstop flights? ›

Southwest Is Adding Over 20 New & Restored Nonstop Routes for 2023 Travel.

Why do flights take longer going south? ›

The main reason for the difference in travel time is due to the jet stream. The jet stream is high altitude wind that blows from the west to the east across the globe. Airplanes fly into the jet stream at 30,000 feet and then travel with these winds. You can watch a Breakdown about the jet stream here.

Why are nonstop flights more expensive? ›

It all goes back to supply and demand. Most travelers want to take the nonstop flight as it means getting there quicker and with less chance of disruption. That demand ultimately pushes prices higher.

What airline has never had a crash? ›

4 Qatar Airways

Like Etihad, the airline has never had a fatal accident, and its only hull losses have come about due to hangar fires during maintenance. Qatar Airways' planes, particularly its widebodies, are some of the industry's newest designs, and its fleet as a whole has an average age of 10.9 years old.

How many flights can a plane do in a day? ›

Nature of flights

Long-haul flights are generally those that last beyond six hours. Indeed, pilots flying long-haul only operate one or potentially two flights each day, while those making short hops can even operate as many as four to five flights a day, and a turboprop pilot will operate even more.

How many flights can a plane do in its lifetime? ›

Long-range widebody airliners, such as the Boeing 747, are designed for approximately 30,000 flight cycles. With an average of 1.2 cycles per day, such aircraft can last over four decades. The life limit of newer composite-driven widebody airframes is much higher.

Which is the most expensive flight in the world? ›

Airline tickets are at some of the highest prices the industry has seen in a while, but $66,000 for a single plane ticket? That's the price of the world's most expensive commercial airplane ticket, a one-way flight on Etihad Airways from New York City/JFK to Abu Dhabi.

How long do Planes rest between flights? ›

Long-haul flights generally require between 90 minutes to 2 hours for a turnaround.

What are the people on planes called? ›

Aircrew, also called flight crew, are personnel who operate an aircraft while in flight. The composition of a flight's crew depends on the type of aircraft, plus the flight's duration and purpose.

What is the shortest flight in the US? ›

About 76 miles north of San Francisco (SFO), directly up the coast, is the city of Santa Rosa (STS). United, using regional partner SkyWest, connects the two cities with the help of the tiny Bombardier CRJ-200. The flight takes 40 minutes gate-to-gate and spends only 15 minutes airborne on average.

What plane flies the longest route? ›

At 9,487 miles, the Singapore Airlines flight between JFK airport and Changi airport is currently the world's longest route. It is flown with an ultra-long-range A350-900 and takes about 19 hours. Traveling such long distances by air is not so uncommon these days.

Can a plane fly for 24 hours? ›

Theoretically it is possible but even a supersonic jet would be hindered by factors such as speed restrictions and in-flight refuelling. Yes – but only in theory. The Earth is roughly 40,000km in circumference at the equator, and completes one rotation every 24 hours.

What are the big 4 airlines? ›

Page 1
  • FlightFriday.
  • United Airlines.
  • American Airlines.
  • Delta Air Lines.
  • Southwest Airlines.
Apr 6, 2023

What are the big four airlines? ›

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are the top ranked airlines based on 2022 domestic market share. Delta operates out of Atlanta, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta's hub, sees the most passenger traffic in the United States.

What is the most common flight in the world? ›

As you can see from the rankings below, based on data from Diio by Cirium, the market between Jeju and Seoul's Gimpo airport is the world's busiest measured by number of flights and number of seats.

Why don t planes fly at night? ›

Night flying restrictions or night-time curfews, including night flight bans, are any regulations or legislation imposed by a governing body to limit the ground-perceived exposure to aircraft noise pollution during the night hours, when the majority of residents are trying to sleep.

Why do flights stop at night? ›

Sometimes planes need to operate in the night period when they have not been scheduled to do so. This could be for a number of reasons such as delays that have built up during the day or for a technical fault with an aircraft that needs to be repaired.

Can planes turn around in the air? ›

Though it's rare for flights to turn around mid-flight for no reason, it can happen — sometimes under bizarre circumstances.

What is a throwaway ticket? ›

Some airlines surprisingly charge less for round-trip tickets than for one-way flights. With this travel hack, we book you the cheaper round-trip tickets — you can simply “throw away” the return part and stay at your intended destination.

Is skiplagging illegal? ›

Experts say “hidden city ticketing” or “skiplagging” isn't illegal, but it is frowned upon by airlines. Getting caught could come with big consequences.

Can Skiplagging get you banned? ›

Continuously skip-lagging can result in being banned from an airline. This is particularly problematic for people who depend on regional airports, as there's often a dependence on a small handful of airlines. Being banned by one of them could create serious travel limitations.

What are my rights if the airline cancels my flight? ›

Cancelled Flight – A consumer is entitled to a refund if the airline cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the consumer chooses not to travel.

What happens if my flight is Cancelled and I cant get home? ›

If your flight is cancelled, many airlines will provide vouchers for you to buy food and drink. If you require accommodation, they may book a hotel and arrange transportation for you. Sometimes airlines are unable to arrange care and assistance for all passengers.

What are my rights if the airline canceled my flight? ›

Refunds Are Not Always Created Equal

The almost universal policy is that when an airline cancels your flight, regardless of cause, you have a right to a full refund equal to the remaining value of your ticket. Refunds are given in the same form as the ticket was purchased, either cash or credit.

What is meant by direct flight? ›

A direct flight in the aviation industry is any flight between two points by an airline with no change in flight numbers, which may include one or more stops at an intermediate point(s). A stop may either be to get new passengers (or allow some to disembark) or a technical stop over (i.e., for refuelling).

Do the terms nonstop and direct flight mean the same thing? ›

Nonstop flights do not make any stops, while direct flights may make one or more stops en route to the final destination. Passengers do not have to change planes in either type of flight, but direct flights may have stopovers along the way.

What is the meaning of direct flight? ›

Definitions of direct flight. a flight with one or more intermediate stops but no change of aircraft.

How are direct flights determined? ›

A: The airline's flight dispatch office will look at the most-efficient route. The selection of the route can include the mileage, wind and cost of over-flight permits. Based on these criteria the answer to your question would be because it is the most cost-efficient.

Is it cheaper to fly direct or with stops? ›

You are, on average, saving money by booking a one or two-stop flight compared to a nonstop.

What are people called that direct planes? ›

People, who are responsible for directing aircraft in the right position, are called marshallers. They do so by applying marshalling signals.

How far can a plane fly nonstop? ›

Airliners. The longest range jetliner in service is the Airbus A350 XWB Ultra Long Range, capable of flying up to 18,000 kilometres (9,700 nmi; 11,000 mi). The A380 is capable of flying 14,800 kilometres (8,000 nmi; 9,200 mi) with 544 passengers.

Are non-stop flights safer? ›

The most dangerous parts of any air flight are landing and taking off. The less stops and layovers, the lower your chance of being involved in flight accidents. Always try to book non-stop flights.

What is an example sentence for direct flight? ›

1. They'd come on a direct flight from Athens. 2. I've booked you on a direct flight to Paris.

What is an example of a direct flight? ›

A direct flight makes at least one intermediate stop along the way to its final destination, but has only one flight number. For example, if you choose a direct flight between New York and Houston you'd fly on one plane the whole way to Houston.

Can airline pilots choose where they fly? ›

Each pilot bids for the location they would like to be based, which is then awarded by seniority. The most desirable bases go to the most senior pilots, and the least desirable go to the most junior pilots. As a pilot, you can live anywhere and commute to your crew base.

Is it faster to fly north or south? ›

The reason for quicker flights while flying eastwards is jet streams. Put simply, these are fast-flowing, narrow air currents in the atmosphere found at high altitudes.

Should I fly direct? ›

Benefits of direct flights

If you are looking to save some money and time, a direct flight is the best choice. No time is lost as you change planes while being transferred to another flight, and they are usually cheaper than a non-stop flight. There are usually less complications when it comes to direct flights.


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