Airline carriers serve flights to all parts of the world and within countries as well. Thus, referring to them as international and domestic flights, respectively. Now, although the purpose these flights serve is self-explanatory, nonetheless, here, we will focus on domestic flights and know more about them.
In this blog, we are going to take a look at what is a domestic flight and what are things you need to know when travelling.
What is a Domestic Flight?
A domestic flight is a commercial flight that transports passengers from one city or airport to another, where both the departure and arrival cities or airports are located in the same country.
Sometimes, domestic flights are also referred to as national flights, since they serve routes to and from different states and cities within a country.
For example, you reside in the USA and take a flight from California to Miami. This trip within the USA is called a domestic flight.
Domestic Arrivals and Departures in Airports
Generally, most airline carriers operating in any city serves both domestic and international flights. In order to avoid confusion among travellers, the airport’s terminal(s) have separate entrance and exit gates for domestic and international travellers.
These entrance and exit gates are further divided, having separate arrivals and departures sections for domestic and international flights. Thus, these are called Domestic Arrivals and Domestic Departures for domestic section and International Arrivals and International Departures for international section at airports.
However, there is also a possibility that there may be certain countries that serve domestic flights only. This could be due to the reasons that the country is geographically small, does not have multiple airports or there are no international routes with connecting flights.
Are Domestic Flights Cheaper than International Flights?
Well, yes! Domestic flights are usually much cheaper compared to travelling on international flights. As seen from the definition given above, since domestic flights are restricted to transporting passengers within a country only, their routes are thus, of short distances.
There are, of course, a couple of factors that play a key role in determining the overall cost and experience when travelling on a domestic flight to your destination. For instance, a flight’s route, airport and travel class are essential in determining how much you will be paying for your airfare.
Services and Facilities at Airports and In-flight for Domestic Travel
The availability of services and facilities on domestic flights and at airports can vary significantly, depending on the flight’s itinerary and airline carriers.
Also, bear in mind that not all airline carriers will offer the same kind of services to passengers travelling on domestic flights. You are likely to have a better experience when travelling on First or Business class cabins. Passengers travelling in economy class are usually limited to many services, while certain services may even require a charge.
Check in and Boarding
Airlines generally require passengers travelling on domestic flights to arrive at the airport at least two hours early. Airports can get crowded, especially on busy days and holiday seasons. And, because of this, waiting at the check in queue could become longer.
Similarly, the boarding procedure can take longer on such occasions. Passengers are issued boarding passes at airports or via e-mail (if ticket is purchased online) that allows getting on the plane.
Airlines have a strict policy with regard to the weight and size of baggage and the items in it. The contents of your baggage are checked thoroughly. There is checked baggage fee applicable in most airlines.
Also, if you are carrying items that are prohibited by the airliner’s regulations, such items are held back at the airport by officials.
Wireless internet connectivity (Wi-Fi) is offered both at airports and on flights. However, the service can be allowed or restricted based on factors, like passengers’ travel class, membership to an airline’s frequent flyer program, etc.
Availability of in-flight entertainment services, such as video and audio are also limited.
Meals, Snacks and Beverage
Passengers travelling on low-cost airline carriers are required to pay for the meals, snacks and beverage that are served on flights.
On shorter routes that are of a couple minutes only, airlines do not usually serve snacks, meals or beverage to their passengers.
On the other hand, if the flight’s route is longer, say, a couple of hours, then passengers are likely to be served snacks, meals and beverage.
Access to public and private lounges at airports are usually available to certain travellers only. Mostly, airport lounges can be accessed by passengers for a charge.
Is Passport required for Travelling on Domestic Flights?
There are certain regulations that may vary from one country to another. For instance, American citizens do not require a passport in order to travel within the U.S. on domestic flights. However, airlines may require such travellers to present a state-issued driver’s licence or other form of government-issued ID proof.
Also, as per the new travel policy, American citizens travelling on domestic flights will be required to carry REAL ID, which is a new type of ID proof and is being mandated from October 2021.
Domestic flights are a good choice for travelling to short distances within a country’s boundaries. The main reason being they cost less.
So, whether you are going on a holiday or a regular business trip to a city near your location, a domestic flight can get you there quickly and without burning a hole in your pocket.