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The aircraft parking area at an airport, usually adjacent to a terminal.



Is the backward movement of the seatback, and can be used to distinguish between good seats (full or lots of recline) and bad seats (seats with minimal or restricted recline).

Are earned through flights or credit cards that can be redeemed for award travel or upgrades. Typically these are earned at a different rate than “Elite Qualification Miles”/ “EQM”.

Redeemable Miles:

Are overnight flights, and can be quite brutal when short in length if you do not sleep well on planes. Hence the term “Redeye” is usually related to the passengers “Red Eyes” due to lack of sleep.


Airlines providing short- and medium-haul scheduled airline service typically connecting smaller communities with larger cities and hub airports and operating turboprops of 9-78 seats and jets of 30-108 seats. Arrangements with mainline partners commonly take the form of contract flying or pro-rate flying.

Regional Airline:

Seating allocation and boarding passes which can only be assigned to the passenger at the airport.

Restricted to airport check-in:

Previously known as “Yield Management”, Revenue Management refers to variable pricing strategy, which when executed perfectly is designed to ensure that a given airline sells 100% of the seats on its flight(s). A related industry term you might also hear is “Load Factor”.

Revenue Management:

Simply refers to circling the globe on a trip or a specific type of ticket that is booked with an airline taking the passenger all the way around the globe with a predetermined number of stops and no backtracking, from home country back to home country.

RTW (Round the World):



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


Are airlines that have operating agreements between one another but are not part of the same alliance.


The final portion of a ticket which acts as a receipt for the passenger’s own records.

Passenger Coupon:

Is an airline industry term for “passenger” or “passengers”.


Is a combination of “Pax” (passenger) and “Ex” from (experience). This word refers to the overall passenger experience on a given airline/aircraft and “PaxEx” is usually used on social media with a hashtag.


Pacific Daylight Time (GMT - 8hrs).


The amount the passenger has to pay in order to make a change to the travel arrangements or cancel the ticket once it has been issued.

Penalty Fare:

Are reports that are sometimes filed by pilots when they encounter noteworthy conditions such as turbulence and icing. Current PIREPs can be viewed on Aviation Weather, and these can give you an indication of how smooth or bumpy your flight is likely to be.

PIREP (Pilot Reports or Pilot Report):

Is the industry term for the forward distance between two seats, measured from the same point on each seat (e.g., seatback to seatback). More pitch means more space and legroom, less pitch means tighter quarters.

Pitch (Seat):

Is located above each seat or row of seats and generally includes illuminated signs (seat belt, Wi-Fi/devices), air vents (gaspers), reading lights, and oxygen masks.

PSU (Passenger Service Unit):

Is the head flight attendant on a given flight. They will often introduce themselves to you on international first and business class flights.




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

Offline Connection:

The distance traveled by a passenger on a single flight number (i.e., coupon). The average is computed as the ratio of RPMs flown to passengers enplaned and commonly referred to as length of haul.

On-Flight Trip Length:

Also referred to as “OW”. Oneworld is one of the three major global airline alliances with Star Alliance and SkyTeam. Oneworld has 13 members and flies to 158 countries with over a thousand destination points.

Oneworld Alliance:

These upgrades occur in cases such as overbooking one cabin and upgrading passengers to the next cabin up from their ticketed cabin. An important distinction between OpUps and Upgrades is that OpUps happen without the use of any upgrade points.

OpUp (Operational Upgrade):

Is a ticket that allows the traveler to depart from a different airport to the one in which they landed. (For example: you could fly from London to Sydney but return to London from Perth).

Open Jaw Ticket:



Are travel portals, online travel outlets and websites which include sites such as ‍‍‍Expedia‍‍‍, ‍‍‍Booking.com‍‍‍, and ‍‍‍Orbitz‍‍‍ where travel‍‍‍ is booked.

OTA (Online Travel Agency):

The price of a ticket minus any third party commission or tax.

Net Fare or Net Rate:

A ticket which cannot be used to fly with another airline.


Nonstop flights are flights without stops between the origin destinations. Nonstop flights are always direct flights, but not all direct flights are nonstop flights.

Non-stop Flight:



Refers to a non-revenue passenger, typically airline employees or family of airline employees. These seats are available on standby basis and are given away only after all revenue passengers have been accommodated as needed. The availability of these seats if often referred to as "Space A" or "Space Available".


A ticket which is specifically for just one passenger and cannot be used by anyone else.


The term re‍‍‍lating to passengers or either arrive late or do not arrive at all to travel on their booked flight.


An airline with annual operating revenues of more than $1 billion, as defined by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The practice of using points credit cards to purchase cash-equivalent instruments (gift cards, reloadable debit cards, etc.) which are then redeposited somehow to pay off the credit card balance, for the sole purpose of earning points.

Manufactured spend:

Metal refers to the actual owner/lessee of the aircraft, regardless of the ticketing airline. For example, a British Airways ticket might be ticketed as British Airways but all or part of the itinerary might be on American Airlines metal (American Airlines planes). This is important because mileage earnings and upgrade redemptions are often restricted to the home airline's metal.


Also known as “MR”, is a flight taken for the sole purpose of earning either redeemable or elite qualifying miles.

Mileage Run:

The smallest amount of time that is allowed to change planes at an airport. If these conditions are breached it is known as an Illegal connection.

Minimum Connecting Time:

A journey where the passenger does not just fly between two airports to reach their final destination but where they stop in-route any number of times and perhaps spend time in each of the destinations (‍‍‍see ‍‍‍Stopover‍‍‍). The flights do not need to be with t‍‍‍he same airline but it is advisable to plan the journey carefully so as to avoid issues with ticket restrictions and onward connections.

Multi-hop or Multi-leg:



An air carrier holding a certificate issued under section 41102 of Title 49 of the U.S. code that: (1) operates aircraft designed to have ‍‍‍a maximum passenger capacity of more than 60 seats or a maximum payload capacity of more than 18,000 pounds.

Large‍‍‍ Certificated Air Carrier:

Lie-flat seats recline a full 180 degrees to convert into a fully flat bed, and are generally considered to be standard equipment on top‍‍‍ tier long-haul business class products these days.


This refers to the percent utilization of a given flight or route, or set of routes, and is the result of an airline's revenue management‍‍‍ strategy.

Load‍‍‍ factor:

A long-haul‍‍‍ flight is generally one that last longer than 6-8 hours.


Th‍‍‍e cheapest‍‍‍ legal flight to the travelers chosen destination.

Lowest Fare‍‍‍ Routing (LFR):



Is a trade association of the world’s airlines. IATA has 290 airline members, primarily the major carriers that represent 117 countries‍‍‍.

IATA‍‍‍ (International Air Transportation Association):

Is a specialized‍‍‍ agency of the United Nations. ICAO codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation.

ICAO‍‍‍ (International Civil Aviation Organization):

Is the ‍‍‍entertainment content that certain airlines provide passengers.

IFE ‍‍‍(In-Flight Entertainment):

Flights that are booked where the time between landing and taking off on the next flight does not adhere to the legal minimum requirements‍‍‍.

Illegal‍‍‍ Connection:

Using multiple airlines to reach the final destination. There may be a formal relationship between the carriers to facilitate baggage transfer and ticketing or it could simply be two or more unconnected companies where the traveler is responsible for luggage‍‍‍ and connection timings (see Multi-hop‍‍‍).

Interline‍‍‍ / Interlining:

Is an abbreviation‍‍‍ for “Irregular Operations”, which can include delays, cancelations, mechanicals, and equipment changes.






A major‍‍‍‍‍‍ airport where an airline has many flights leaving to smaller destinations.


Is the practice of booking a multi segment ticket which has a stop in your desired destination city, but actually terminates in a different‍‍‍ city, for the purpose of securing a lower fare than would otherwise be available between your origin and desired destination.

Hidden‍‍‍ City Ticketing:

Are‍‍‍ the air vents that are usually located above your seat.


Refers to an airport that serves as a connecting or origin airport to an international destination. A gateway may also be a hub for ‍‍‍a given airline.


Is the global direct link between travel agents and OTAs for the purpose of viewing inventory/pricing and/or booking airline tickets‍‍‍. The three largest GDS are Sabre, Amadeus, and Travelport (Apollo, Galileo, and Worldspan).

GDS‍‍‍ (Global Distribution System):

Als‍‍‍o k‍‍‍nown‍‍‍ as UTC (Universal Coordinated Time) or Zulu.

GMT ‍‍‍(Greenwich Mean Time):





Is ‍‍‍the fare bucket code for First Class.

F ‍‍‍Fare Code:

Is the‍‍‍ acronym for Flight Attendant.


Stands‍‍‍ for the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is a federal authority that governs the US aviation space.


Airlines‍‍‍ use single or double letters to designate a fare class, such as J for business or Y for economy.

Fare ‍‍‍Class / Fare Bucket:

Flow control is a common type of delay wherein the FAA or ATC will limit the number of aircraft that can depart for a given destination‍‍‍, generally due to weather minimums or restrictions.

Flow Control‍‍‍:

Anyone‍‍‍ ‍‍‍who flies on a regular basis and is a member of one or more airline loyalty programs.

FF (‍‍‍Frequent Flyer):

An automated system that allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel‍‍‍ to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.

‍‍‍Electronic‍‍‍ System for Travel Authorization (ESTA):

Are ‍‍‍First Class Suites that feature a door, allowing the passenger to achieve the ultimate in air travel privacy.

Enclosed‍‍‍ Suites:

Are miles‍‍‍ earned which count toward elite status, often a different number from redeemable miles.

EQM‍‍‍ (Elite Qualification Miles):

Refers to the plane itself, and each aircraft model has its own IATA and ICAO identifier. Equipment can also refer to a specific model‍‍‍ of aircraft and/or manufacturer or simply an equipment class that includes all sub model designations.


Stands‍‍‍ for Estimated Time of Arrival.


Eastern‍‍‍ Standard Time (GMT – 5 hrs).


Checked-in luggage which exceeds the weight of the Baggage allowance. If you are only just over then you might be lucky but be warned‍‍‍ that payments on excess weight can be very expensive.

Excess‍‍‍ Baggage:

A ‍‍‍tax ‍‍‍levied on a good, service or activity.

Excise‍‍‍ Tax:



Is a flight‍‍‍ that goes directly from point A to point B (this sometimes includes stops made for fuel and staff changes).

Direct‍‍‍ Flight:





Are penalties that you will incur if you cancel your flights. Most fares have this clause in them so travel insurance is advisable if your plans‍‍‍ are likely to change.

Cancellation‍‍‍ Charges:

A certain number of seats on a flight to which a cheaper price has been allocated. This percentage changes depending on how quickly‍‍‍ the seats are sold.

Capacity‍‍‍-Controlled Fares:

The ‍‍‍organization responsible for transporting passengers or goods – in terms of flights, this will be the airline.


An air carrier holding a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct‍‍‍ scheduled services interstate and, when authorized, to overseas locations. These carriers may also conduct nonscheduled or charter operations.

Certificated‍‍‍ Air Carrier:

Similar to a “J Fare Code”, C is a business class fare bucket on many airlines, and is used by some Frequent Flyers when referring‍‍‍ to travel in the business class cabin.

C Fare‍‍‍ Code:

An aircraft‍‍‍ which is used by a specific group be it customers of a particular holiday company or an individual party.


The time before departure when your luggage goes onto the airline and boarding cards are issued. For long-haul this is 2 hours whilst short-haul is approximately 1 hour. Be aware that in these times of occasional heightened airport security, the check-‍‍‍in time can vary.


A marketing practice in which two or more airlines agree to share, for marketing purposes, the same two-letter code used to identify‍‍‍ carriers in the computer reservation systems used by travel agents.


As defined by US federal law, an airport receiving scheduled passenger service and having 2,500 or more enplaned passengers‍‍‍ per year.

Commercial‍‍‍ Service Airport:

This is the legal contract that the passenger enters into with the airline with the terms outlined when the traveler receives the ticket‍‍‍.

Contract‍‍‍ of carriage:

Term ‍‍‍given to two single tickets bought to make up a return flight. (See SITI, SOTO and Split ticketing).

Construction‍‍‍ tickets:

A journey‍‍‍ where the passenger must change planes to reach their final destination.

Connecting‍‍‍ Flights:

The airport‍‍‍ where the traveler changes planes.

Connecting‍‍‍ Point:

Airlines often sell blocks of seats to a third party who then sell these tickets to passengers at discounted prices. The airlines are reluctant to publicly discount tickets and so mask this process through consolidators. The tickets usually have a number of restrictions‍‍‍ on them so check the conditions of your travel arrangements carefully before booking them.


This is the discounted rate that organizations and companies can negotiate with the airlines. Often the company’s country of origin‍‍‍ will determine which airline it is – usually one of the national carriers.

Corporate‍‍‍ Rate:

This ‍‍‍is part of the ticket that the passenger hands over at check-in and also contains the contract of carriage.


Dolla‍‍‍r‍‍‍ value of a good or service in terms of prices current at the time the good or service is sold.

Current‍‍‍ Dollar:

The basic price of ticket before taxes and other surcharges are added (these are usually a substantial amount particularly on lon‍‍‍ger‍‍‍ flights).

Bas‍‍‍e‍‍‍ Fare/Rate:

Is a form of upgrade which takes place after the plane has been boarded but before departure. It can also involve a downgrade, such‍‍‍ as when a passenger on an award is moved to the next cabin down to accommodate a revenue passenger.

Battlefield‍‍‍ Upgrade:

Are the actual miles flown with no class or status bonus. These are the basis for calculating “redeemable miles” and “elite qualification‍‍‍ miles”.

BIS‍‍‍ (Butt In Seat) Miles:

Specific‍‍‍ days or periods of time when special rates are not available due to high demand for flights.

Blackout‍‍‍ Periods:

A card given to the passenger after check-in which allocates a seat number or indicates a boarding pattern. The stub of the card should‍‍‍ be retained after going through the boarding gate to show to the flight crew once reaching the aircraft.

Boarding‍‍‍ Pass:

This means that the number of seats on the flight has been oversold. Sometimes you might be lucky and get “bumped” up to business‍‍‍ or first class but more often than not, you will simply be put on the next available flight. Try to check-in early to avoid this situation.







Is the‍‍‍ three digit code which is unique to a specific airport.

Airport‍‍‍ Code:

Is a group of airlines with interline agreements that allow travelers to book code-sharing flights and earn miles and receive status‍‍‍-based perks on all airlines in the partnering alliance.

Alliance‍‍‍ (Airline):

Are given on most international flights but some domestic airlines reserve the right to give kits only to passengers in First and Business‍‍‍ Class on long haul routes.

Amenity‍‍‍ Kit:

Are ‍‍‍seats that convert from a seat into a “flat surface” bed but do not recline the full 180 degrees.

Angle‍‍‍-flat Seats:

These‍‍‍ are usually the cheapest tickets the passenger can get though they are restricted in number.

APEX‍‍‍ (Advance Purchase Excursion) Fare:

Stands‍‍‍ for Air Traffic Control.


One seat transported one mile; the most common measure of airline seating capacity or supply. For example, an aircraft with 100 ‍‍‍passenger seats, flown a distance of 100 miles, produces 10,000 ASMs. Sometimes measured as an available seat kilometer (ASK).

Available‍‍‍ Seat Mile (ASM):

One ‍‍‍ton of capacity (passenger and/or cargo) transported one mile. Sometimes measured as an available ton kilometer (ATK).

Available‍‍‍ Ton Mile (ATM):

Customs‍‍‍ is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods

Customs‍‍‍ and Border:

Like C, J is a fare bucket used by many airlines to designate Business Class, and is consequently used by many frequent flyers to‍‍‍ refer to flights or tickets in that cabin class.

J Fare‍‍‍ Code:

An arrangement between carriers to charge special rates when a passenger uses their respective airlines. The fares are negotiated‍‍‍ by the airlines involved and the price is nearer to what the traveler would pay were they using just one company.

Joint ‍‍‍Fare:



Refers to a nonstop leg of a flight. These can be standalone as in the case of nonstop flights, or come in multiples for flights with stops between the origin and destination.


One that is brief in terms of distance travelled and time in the air.

Short-haul Flight:


Like PIREPs, SIGMETs is a combination of Significant Meteorological hazards, which are inflight weather advisories for pilots covering a certain area. These serve as alerts for things such as convection (thunderstorms), turbulence, icing, and visibility, and can be viewed on Aviation Weather. (Look for TURB or CONV segments as indicators of potentially bumpy/turbulent areas of your flight, and plan your beverage orders accordingly).

Situated In, Ticketed In (SITI):

Where you buy the ticket from the country you are leaving.

Situated Out, Ticketed Out (SOTO):

Where the ticket is bought from your destination country.



Is the third major airline alliance being founded after Star Alliance and Oneworld. SkyTeam has 20 members and flies to 177 countries with over a thousand destination points.

SkyTeam Alliance:

An air carrier holding a certificate issued under section 41102 of Title 49 of the U.S. Code that provides scheduled passenger air service with small aircraft (maximum passenger capacity of 60 seats or fewer or a payload capacity of 18,000 pounds or fewer).

Small Certificated Air Carrier:

Refer to seats that are available for “nonrev” passengers.

Space Available (Space A):

When you travel using two single tickets instead of a return in order to obtain a lower fare.

Split Ticketing:

This is if a passenger holds a ticket that does not automatically guarantee a reserved seat means instead that they are waiting fo‍‍‍r avai‍‍‍lability.


Usually an overnight stay (or possibly longer) at a location in-route to your final destination. This is usually done to break up a very long journey.


Is one of the three major global airline alliances with Oneworld and SkyTeam. Star Alliance has 27 members and flies to 192 countries with 1,330 destination points.

Star ‍‍‍Allia‍‍‍nce:

An air carrier authorized to perform passenger and cargo charter services.

Supplemental Air Carrier:



The distance between departure airports using an open-jaw ticket. The customer is responsible for organizing the travel between the two points of departure.

Surface Sector:

Referring to flights that cross the Atlantic Ocean. This generally means flights to/from the United States and Europe.

TATL (Trans-Atlantic):

Purchasing tickets that have previously been reserved.

Ticket Issuance:

Referring to flights that cross the Pacific Ocean, typically to/from the United States and Asia/Oceania.

TPAC (Trans-Pacific):

Refers to trans-continental flights or flights flying over a specific continent.

Transcon (Trans-Continental):


This refers to being seated up one cabin from the original fare. (Example: Premium Economy to Business on international flights; Economy to First on domestic US flights).





Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

Is a U.S. government program that enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. ‍‍‍VWP‍‍‍ travelers are now required to have a valid authorization through the‍‍‍ Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel, and are screened at the port of entry into the United States and enrolled in the DHS US-VISIT program.



W Fare Code:

W is commonly used to refer to international Premium Economy, as this is the fare bucket often used by airlines to designate the Premium Economy cabin. Other abbreviations include Y+ and Precon.



Y Fare Code:

Is the fare bucket code used by most airlines to refer to full-fare economy tickets, and thus is used by frequent flyers when referring to seats or tickets in that cabin, even if the actual fare bucket may be different.

U.S. Flag Carrier:

One of a class of air carriers holding a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and approved by the president, authorizing scheduled operations over specified routes between the United States (and its territories) and one or more foreign countries.

United States Visitor and Immigrant Indicator Technology (US-VISIT):

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration and border-management system that collects biometric identifiers from foreign travelers to determine whether they pose a risk to the United States.

Window of Convenience:

The traveler’s ideal departure or arrival time – plus or minus two hours.


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Major ‍‍‍Carrier / National Carrier:

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Air Travel‍‍‍ Glossary‍‍‍

Below is a glossary to assist you with most of those fancy airport and airline travel  terminology.

‍‍‍We try to keep the list as updated as possible and try and grab those that we missed. Let us know if you find one that we don't have.‍‍‍