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Short-Haul – Glossary Definition


Want the definition of short-haul flights? Learn the meaning of short-haul, see some examples, and get a better understanding of this travel glossary term!

Wondering about the definition of short-haul flights? Keep reading to learn the meaning of short-haul, see some examples, and get a better understanding of this travel glossary term!

Delta Connection regional jet on short-haul flight definition
Regional jets such as this Delta Connection typically make short-haul flights. Taken by Nick Morales via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

What is Short-Haul?

Short-haul is airline terminology to designate a flight length that is usually less than 3 hours long. In certain cases and by certain flight agencies, a short-haul flight may instead be determined by its distance rather than flight time.

In airline parlance, short-haul flights are those many flight organizations consider to be under three hours in length. However, it isn’t an exact science, so the meaning can vary airline to airline.

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, known as EUROCONTROL, defines short-haul routes as any flight less than 930 mi (1,500 km), for example. United Airlines, on the other hand, defines short-haul flights as those less than 700 mi (1,100 km).

More on Short-Haul Flights

The opposite of short-haul flights are long-haul flights. Between these two flight time measurements are medium-haul flights, though not all airlines and aviation agencies recognize the term medium-haul, instead using only the terms short-haul and long-haul routes.

Because short-haul flights are quite quick as far as flight time, most are flown on single-aisle aircraft (known also as narrow-body aircraft), rather than on wide-body, dual-aisle aircraft. Most short-haul flights may offer a drink service or a snack service, but usually not a full meal service.

A short-haul flight is often a domestic flight, though it depends on the route, of course. In the United States, a flight from Boston to San Francisco (domestic) would be considered a long-haul flight, but an international flight from Miami to Havana, Cuba would be considered as short haul.

Virgin Australia is one example which uses the terms short-haul flight and domestic flight separately. They define a domestic flight as any within Australia, while a short-haul flight are those between Australia and nearby countries in Southeast Asia and Oceania.

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