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15+ Terms to Augment Your Airline & Airport Acumen


Here is an inconclusive list of various airline airport terms, words, phrases, and jargon that are often used by pilots, crew members, airport staff, etc.

For the last few weeks, I have been trying to put together a sort of glossary database of travel words, airline airport terms, and travel-related phrases often thrown around in the travel industry, but that most of us don’t understand (myself included). During the process of looking up a term or abbreviation that I don’t understand or recognize, I have been adding it to the page as I go, once I feel that I now comprehend it.

So, this post is dedicated to some of these words, and a more permanent version can be found on our new DJ Glossary page. This is nowhere near a complete list, and if you know a term that you think should be included, please comment below! Here is a list of jargon related to the airline industry:

Open Jaw – A trip to where a passenger flew to one destination, but returned from another. For example, SFO to JFK there, but LGA to SFO on the way back. Though JFK and LGA are both in NYC, they are two separate airports, thus and open jaw arrangement.

APEX fares – Advanced Purchase Excursion fares; typically the cheapest fare available, unless “Super APEX” is offered. Lower airfare prices existing due to highly restrictive prerequisites, such as availability, min/max stay requirements, and advanced purchase.

Back-to-Back Ticketing – An airfare booking ploy used by savvy fliers to circumvent high fares from airline’s fare system by purchasing two sets of R/T tickets for either one or two flights, while making use of knowledge that Saturday stays usually are cheaper than midweek R/T flights. There are two slightly different examples as to how this could work, both of which we go over in detail in its glossary page. Read more about back-to-back ticketing here »

Throwaway Ticketing – Another, more popular ruse, where a traveler, only intending to travel one way, buys a roundtrip ticket that is cheaper than the intended one way ticket alone. Then, the other half of the ticket is simply not used, or “thrown away”. This one won’t get you in as much trouble as back-to-back ticketing, but it is advised that travelers wishing to use this form of ticketing use the first leg; you can almost never fly the second leg of a roundtrip ticket without first flying the first leg. Though it is in more of a gray area, airlines may still seek to penalize you if they become wise to it; better to be safe by researching the fine print, or not trying it at all.

Next Page: More Airline Airport Terms »

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Christian Eilers
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Christian Eilers
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