top of page

Learn important industry terminology as used by the travel and tourism industry in relation to airline and travel bookings and operations.

Airline Terminology

Learn important terminology as used by airlines and aiports in relation to airfares, bookings, customs and travel operations.  

Advance Purchase Requirement

Ticket must be purchased a minimum number of days before the flight departs.


The Airlines Reporting Corporation - is responsible for supervising payments from travel agencies to airlines along with the manner in which tickets are issued to consumers.

Base Fare

The cost of an airfare prior to addition of fees, taxes or surcharges.

Blackout Dates

Specific dates in which special fares or promotions do not apply. Typically exist around holidays or special events.

Blocked Space

Seats reserved to be sold to third party companies at a discounted group rate.

Boarding Pass

A ticket issued at airport check-in that authorizes airplane boarding.

Bulk Contract

An agreement whereby an airline sells large blocks of seats at a discount for resale by a third party.

Bulk Fare

A reduced fare for purchases of a large number of tickets.

Business Class

While amenities vary based on the airline, business class generally falls between first class and coach.

Cancellation Penalty

A fee to charged to customers that cancel flights after booking reservations. Fees typically vary based on the agency or carrier.


A small fee that a travel agency or services adds to the total fee in order to make money.


A business that has contracts with airlines to sell tickets in bulk, generally at a discounted rate.

Domestic Fare

An additional fare added to national flights.

Electronic Ticket

A paperless ticket that allows travelers to fly with only a photo ID. Commonly referred to as “E-ticket’s”, they cannot be lost or stolen because it is an electronic reservation.

Exclusive Fare

Discounted airfares offered by travel consolidators.

Fare Basis (Code)

The code that determines the price of an airline ticket.

First Class

The class which offers the most premium service. Enhanced seating, meal selection, and drink offerings staples of this services.

GDS - Global Distribution System

An international computer reservation system that accesses many databases of suppliers, airlines, etc. in different countries, such as Sabre.


A city in which an airline has a major presence. Often, it is the city in which the airline was formed.


International Airlines Travel Agent Network - Administers the IATAN card, the only widely accepted form of legitimate travel agent identification.

Interline Connection

A trip with a connection flight from a different airline.


The period of time spent between connecting flights.

Lowest Available Fare

The most inexpensive flight currently available.

Maximum Stay

The longest period of time a traveler can stay at a particular destination and still qualify for the promotion or discounted fare.

Minimum Connect Time (MCT)

The shortest time required in order to successfully transfer to a connecting flight. It is recommended to select a connecting flight that exceeds the minimum connection time.

Net Fare

Implies the commission has already been added to the price of the fare.

No Show

A traveler that doesn’t appear for their flight, hotel, or car rental reservation.

Non Refundable

A ticket in which no money will be returned if the customer no longer intends to use the ticket.

Non Transferable

A ticket that can only be used by the person who was originally scheduled to fly at the time of purchase.


A flight that travels directly to its destination without connections or layovers.

Off Peak

A less expensive time to travel as result of lower consumer volume during these periods.


Any company that provides any transportation service. Not just limited to flights, it also includes trains, buses, and cruise ships.

Open Jaw

A ticket that allows the traveller to depart from a different airport to the one in which they landed. 

Offline Connection

A journey where the passenger travels on multiple planes using multiple airlines


When a carrier books more reservations than available seats.


Flights, hotels and services which are bundled together and sold at a specific price.

Passenger Facility Charge

An additional fee for the use of the airport.

Passenger Name Record (PNR)

The official name of one's reservation in a computer reservation system (CRS). The record includes all itinerary bookings and related information.

Point To Point

Refers to the fares between two cities.

Published Fare

A fare immediately offered for purchase by the airline. This does not include heavily discounted flights usually offered to consolidaters.


To reconfirm intention to travel and to double-check a reservation.

Record Locator

The number assigned to a reservation (PNR). This number is unique to that reservation.

Red Eye Flight

A flight in which travel takes place overnight, generally leaving late in the evening and arriving early the next morning.

Round Trip

Two flights: the destination flight and its return trip.

Scheduled Carrier

An airline that offers regularly scheduled flights between destinations.

Special Fare

Any fare that deviates from normal pricing (typically discounted).

Shoulder Season

The period of time between busy and quiet seasons in which prices are typically at a midpoint.

Through Passenger

A passenger who remains on the plane at a connecting stop on the way to his/her final destination.

Travel Agent

 An individual or company that sell travel services on a commission basis.

Unrestricted Fare

An airfare with no limitations. It is typically refundable and has no blackout days.


A written acknowledgement that a passenger has declined something.

bottom of page