This is a question that often takes me by surprise. I’ve become so accustomed to my company’s definition of “international” that it seems like the only logical version. I don’t even realize when I have a conversation…and leave the other person in utter confusion. Especially when I talk about domestic trips to Canada and Mexico, but international ones to Hawaii. I even got this question from another company’s flight attendant this week, so I thought it was worth clearing up.
Here’s the deal: at my airline (at least) “international” has nothing to do with country borders. It’s only about whether – and how far – a flight path goes over water, because airplane evacuation water (“ditching”) is a different story – and certification – to evacuation over land.
See? That was easy. That’s how you get to Hawaii being “International” and Mexico being “Domestic”. No need to bother with more boring details than that. You’re sorted. Though if you’re really paying attention you’ll realize that Mexico can be either/or, depending on where you’re coming from. (Bonus points!)
Of course, foreign carriers will be a different matter. You know, any airline from a country that doesn’t take days and days to drive across? Yeah those. For them, domestic vs international doesn’t carry the same possible confusion. I can only say that in my experience they mostly talk about long-haul vs. short-haul flights. But if you know more detail than that, let me know and we’ll add it into the mix.