As it turns out, all flying was not created equal. Though it may seem like long and short-haul flights are exactly the same in all ways other than the time they spend in the air, they’re not. In fact, there are several key variances between them that make them quite different from one another.
Which one is better? That depends on what type of flier you are and what you prefer. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to find out 10 key differences between short-haul and long-haul flights that will help you to prepare yourself for your next trip.
10 Short Haul: You Might Not Get A Meal
Whether you love plane food or not, a flight is always better when you’re actually served a meal. It helps to break up the flight time and keep you energized. Plus, there’s nothing worse than being hungry on a flight!
On short-haul flights, though, you might not get a meal at all. Depending on the airline policy, the time you travel, and the length of your flight, an in-flight meal might not be coming your way at all. This is a major advantage to longer flights, where meals are a given. Better bring your own snacks!
9 Long Haul: There Are Usually More Crew On Long-Haul Flights
One of the big differences between long and short-haul flights is that the latter typically includes smaller numbers of crew members. When you’re traveling on a longer flight, various laws state that there has to be more staff on hand. As a passenger, that means that there will be more crew members available during the flight.
That’s not to say that you’ll have your very own flight attendant or anything like that! Although if you do want your own butler during the flight, some airlines offer this service in their first-class cabins.
8 Short Haul: The Plane May Be Much Smaller
Typically, the planes that travel longer distances tend to be bigger than those that travel shorter distances. This isn’t always the case, and sometimes larger planes are used on short-haul flights. But most of the time, the planes that are used to make long trips, between seven and 14 hours (and sometimes more!) are larger.
The downside to being on a smaller plane is that you may feel any turbulence more than you would on a larger plane. But smaller planes are quicker to board and exit since they don’t carry as many people.
7 Long Haul: Many Long-Haul Airliners Have More Classes To Choose From
Another key difference between long-haul flights and short-haul flights is that the planes used for long-haul flights often have a variety of classes to choose from. Along with coach, there might also be business class and first-class, along with premium.
On the other hand, the planes that are usually used on shorter trips, which tend to be smaller, might not offer the variation in classes. Instead, you’ll have to ride in coach or business if first class is not offered. For those who would never book anything other than coach, this would make no difference anyway!
6 Short Haul: The Seats May Be More Restrictive
As we mentioned, the planes that are used for short-haul flights are often smaller than those used for long-haul flights. Not all the time, but most of the time! That means that the seats can be more restrictive and, as a passenger, you can end up feeling more cramped as a result.
Often, these smaller planes are not as comfortable to travel on as the larger ones. So by extension, it may be less comfortable traveling short-haul than long-haul. The upside, then, is that a short-haul flight is over much more quickly!
5 Long Haul: The Crew Are Getting Paid More To Be There
It only makes sense that when you work longer hours you get paid more money. That means on longer flights, the crew are getting paid more money than they would be on a short-haul flight. Of course, this doesn’t drastically change the flight experience for you as a passenger, or it shouldn’t. But it may mean that crew members are more attentive.
Some larger planes that are used for long-haul flights have bedrooms for crew members, as well as private restrooms for them. They can retreat to the bedrooms when they finish their shifts.
4 Short Haul: There Might Not Be In-Flight Entertainment Available
These days, a lot of us rely on electronic entertainment to make traveling more bearable. While more and more people are bringing their own devices with them, many still rely on the airline to provide entertainment during the flight. But on shorter-haul flights, this is not always available.
Larger aircrafts used for longer flights tend to come with a screen at the back of each seat or a portable screen that is offered to passengers. While you may be able to purchase something like this on short-haul flights, it’s not always available.
3 Long Haul: You’ll Probably Have To Use The Lavatories At Some Stage
Having to use the restroom on a plane is not an ideal situation. Nobody likes doing it, but on a longer flight, you may not have a choice. On a shorter flight, you can get away with purposely not drinking for an hour so you can wait until the plane lands to go. But on a longer flight that lasts for 14 hours or more, that’s just not a good idea.
If you’re traveling on a long-haul flight and you don’t like using plane restrooms, slowly start to accept the fact that you’ll probably have to use it at least once on the flight.
2 Short Haul: There Probably Won’t Be A Stopover
Another key difference between short-haul flights and long-haul flights is that there tend to be no stopovers on shorter flights. This should come as no surprise! If you can reach your destination in a reasonable amount of time, there is no need to land anywhere else on your way.
But if you’re traveling from one side of the planet to the other, a little stopover might be necessary. Layovers can either be a savior or a hindrance, depending on how long they are, where they are, and what kind of traveler you are.
1 Long Haul: You’ll Have To Get Up And Stretch Your Legs
If a flight is an hour or two, most people can get away with sitting for the entire time. But if you’re in the air for several hours, it’s always a good idea to get up and stretch your legs at least a couple of times during the flight. This can be awkward if you’re the person in the middle seat or the window seat, but the others in your row will just have to get over it.
When you sit down for too long without getting up to stretch, you risk running into all kinds of health issues. So make sure you’re prepared to stretch every now and then when you’re on a long flight!