Travel Lingo Every Agent Should Know

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Travel Lingo Every Agent Should Know

Stopover & Layover – Synonyms. Aye or Nay??

Direct Flight & Non-Stop Flight – Synonyms. Aye or Nay??

If you are an expert in the travel industry, you want your lingo to reflect just that. Especially when communicating with travel consultants, consolidators, and airlines – proper usage of terms ensure you stay out of sticky situations.

Here’s a glossary of travel jargon to add to your vocabulary:

  • ADM (Airline Debit Memo)

A memo sent to a travel agent from an airline alerting them of a fee charge. These fees are due to a mistake made in the booking or ticketing process.

  • Base Fare

The fare amount for all segments before adding taxes, fees and surcharges.

  • Blackout Dates

Calendar dates where promotions or specials are not available – usually due to a holiday.

  • Bulk Fare

A fare that you usually prices lower than published airfares. Only the tax collected shows on the ticket.

  • City Pairs

A pair of cities, as origins and destinations, on an itinerary.

  • Codeshare

A coalition between 2+ airlines which allows one carrier to market and collect the payment for a flight operated by another carrier. This allows the carrier to provide service to a wider range of destinations that they typically do not serve.

  • Direct Flight

Different from a nonstop flight! A passenger flying on a direct flight will not have any connections or change in flight numbers, but they may stop for refueling, to add/disembark other passengers, or to actually change aircraft. It can look almost the same as a nonstop flight in a GDS.

  • Electronic ticket

This ticket allows travelers to fly with only a photo ID. Commonly referred to as “e-tickets”, they cannot be lost or stolen because it is an electronic reservation.

  • FBC (Fare Basis Code)

An alphanumeric code which references the base fare of an airline ticket and fare rules regarding refunds, changes, advance and  minimum stay requirements.

  • Flag Carrier

A loose term, referring to an airline registered within a specific country or state which may allow it certain entitlements or privileges.

  • GDS (Global Distribution System)

An international computerized reservation system which allows agents to book and view live inventory from a wide range of suppliers such airlines, hotels and car rentals.

  • Hub

A city or airport that serves as a main point of transfer for passengers using a given airline.


The International Airlines Travel Agent Network is a globally recognized network for legitimate, qualified travel agencies. IATAN cardholders can receive special access to industry education and rewards programs.

  • Layover

Different from a stopover. A layover is a short period of time between connecting flights. On domestic flights this refers to stops of 4 hours or less. For international flights this refers to stops less than 24 hours.

  • Maximum stay

The longest period of time a traveler can stay at a given destination while still qualifying for promotions and/or discounted fares.

  • Minimum Connection Time (MCT)

A given minimum amount of time deemed sufficient by airlines and airport authorities for a traveler to make a connection between an arriving and a departing flight. If a connection time is less than the MCT it is considered an illegal connection. An agent might force an illegal connection in a GDS, but airlines are not required to protect if the connection is missed.

  • Net Fare

Also referred to as a consolidator fare or a or a private fare. This fare is contracted between an airline and consolidator and sold to retail travel agents.

  • Nonstop Flight

A flight with no stops en route to a passenger’s final destination.

  • No-Show

A ticket is marked “no-show” if a passenger does not show up for a flight. All remaining segments of the itinerary will be automatically cancelled.

  • Open-Jaw

An itinerary where the passenger flies into one city and out of another. For example, a ticket originating in JFK to flying into LHR and then returning MAN to JFK.

  • PNR (Passenger Name Record)

A 6-character alphanumeric code used to reference a passenger or group of passengers in a reservations system. Also called a record locator or confirmation number.

  • Red-Eye

An overnight or late-night flight that typically arrives at one’s destination in the morning. This is preferred by travelers who wish to have extra sightseeing time at their destination. These flights are often cheaper than flights during prime travel hours.

  • Reissue

The issuance of a brand new ticket & ticket number due to a change in date, times, booking class, routing etc. This may involve a change fee and possibly a charge for fare difference.

  • Seasons

  • Low Season

The cheapest time to travel to a destination. For example: With travel to Europe, low season is generally November through March, excluding Christmas. It is typically considered the worst time of the year to travel to a given destination, but travelers may opt for a low season ticket to benefit from cheaper fares.

  • High Season

Most expensive time to travel to a destination. For Europe, high season begins around mid-June through the end of August. It is considered the best time to visit a travel destination and airfare is typically highest during this time frame.

  • Shoulder Season

Shoulder seasons occur both in the spring and fall, where travelers may find reduced prices to popular destinations, but a tourist scene that is still a little more active than it is in low season.

  • Segment

A part of an air itinerary, including one take off and one landing. Aka, a leg of a trip.

  • Stopover

A built-in stop to an international ticket of 24 hours or more (or over 4 hours domestically). This allows passengers to visit an additional city on the outbound or return portion of their trip.

  • STPC (Stopover Paid by Carrier)

A program an airline might offer in order to encourage travelers to use a bad connection where the airline covers prearranged hotel, ground transportation and meals during during a stopover. This can be a great way for a traveler to experience a new city at no additional cost.

  • Utilization Date

The deadline to cancel or reduce group space before obligatory penalties kick in.

  • Waiver

Authorization given by an airline to waive a penalty/ fee.

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