Quick learn for you folks contemplating a long-haul trip in the near future, and a concern that comes up from time to time: What is a direct flight versus a non-stop flight?
In simplest terms, a direct flight departs one location and arrives at another, but it may make a stop/stops on the way. Fly Emirates to Colombo (Sri Lanka) from London and you might stop in Malé (Maldives) but you can't get off the plane! This was a hard life-lesson for me back in 2011 when I fancied myself a clever so-and-so, bagging a free dip in the ocean en route. The Maldives looked beautiful from out the little window anyhow.
I've since stopped in a great many third countries, including Ireland, Iceland, and Cyprus and enjoyed only the porthole view. It seems to be a cost-effective way for airlines to service longer routes that don't necessarily hit capacity. It is quite commonplace in China and I know a few people who've lost their carry-on in the confusion that comes with using a plane like a public bus.
A non-stop flight is more literal, the plane will depart one location and arrive at the final destination but without making any stops in between. Book these where possible.
Hope that helps and happy travels - Shy