¨I think arriving at or departing from any airport in America is just horrendous these days.¨
Under a hub-and-spoke model, airlines arrange the bulk of flights to go to one or more central hubs. Under a point-to-point system, most flights go directly between two destinations.
For example, let’s say you are flying between Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio. Using a hub-and-spoke model, you would fly from Los Angeles to one of several hubs and then connect to another flight from these hubs to Columbus. (Hubs on this routes include: San Francisco (United), Chicago (United/American); Denver, Houston (United); Dallas (American); Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis (Delta), etc.).
Using the hub-and-spoke model, you have many options for flights per day, but the trip is long (usually a minimum of seven to eight hours). Using the point-to-point model, you fly non-stop from Los Angeles to Columbus.
Flying point-to-point (or nonstop) the trip lasts three-and-a-half hours and there are fewer flight choices. (There are two flights a day on this route.)
Rarely nowadays; however in the past, it was commonplace that airplanes would make a stop in another city. (A flight from Los Angeles to Columbus probably stopped in Chicago or Denver). These flights are called direct flights since you do not have to change planes. If you change planes, it is called a connecting flight.
Airlines often charge more for non-stop flights than connecting flights. For example, when I checked on the cost of flights from Los Angeles to Columbus, I found that the non-stop flights on average cost between $50-$100 more than routes that required a connection.
Consumers (including myself) are often willing to pay more for a non-stop flight than one that requires a connection to avoid the time and hassle of making a connection.