Distance Flown

Hi guys,
Can you explain this to me.
What is the difference between
Direct distance
Planned distance
Flown distance

Sometimes the flown distance is almost 50% higher.
One emirates flight that I tracked had a planned distance of 8400 and distance flown was 12400. Won’t it run out of fuel this way ?
Todays Transat LGW-YYC the figures are
Direct: 4,388 sm Planned: 4,391 sm Flown: 6,009 sm

Thanks in advance.

Direct distance is on a straight line between the origin and destination.

Planned distance is on the route that is filed, as aircraft don’t always get to fly direct.

Distance flown is how many miles the aircraft actually flew, which can vary depending on route changes in flight, holding patterns, etc.

Straight line or great circle distance?

That would probably be a great question for Flightaware Staff. I would assume great circle?

Don’t forget about the winds. Even though the distance may be longer, the flight time may be less than flying the shorter distance due to tailwinds.

I guess that makes sense. Winds can make a huge difference.
Will the planned fuel be enough for such a deviation ?
The emirates I talked about was DXB - IAH and it flew an extra 4000 miles making it a 12000 mile trip instead of the usual 8000 and change.
Thank you so much for the replies.


Some of those extra miles may actually be a glitch as well. Sometimes Flightaware receives buggy data and the aircraft will suddenly appear to be hundreds of miles off course.