Decoding Travel Jargon – Part I

March 11, 2014 4 min read

When you're travelling, there will be a multitude of people that you will need to deal with. From the courteous people on the airline reservation desk to the flight attendants to the person manning the hotel desk to the room service people. Although most of them will speak English (unless you're going to a country where no one speaks English, then that's another problem altogether), there will some terms/ phrases they will use which might sound confusing or like an alien language to you. If you are familiar with travel jargon  you might save a couple of dollars or prevent any fiasco from happening. We've compiled a list of some commonly used terms related to travelling and we hope that these come in handy the next time you travel.

ABF: American Breakfast. You will find this term in food menus in tourist hotels at places like Thailand, Bangkok, Hong Kong and the like.
Advance Purchase: This kind of ticket has to be bought a certain number of days before your travel date. Typically 7 or 14 days before.
Agent: A person authorised to resell tour/ travel packages.
Arrival: The time at which the flight lands at the destination
Airport Code: A 3 digit code that is different for every airport.
Add-On: Additional features in a tour package that can be bought for a fee.
ACT: Actual Time of Arrival

Base Fare: The basic price of the ticket, minus all the taxes and surcharges.
Baggage Allowance: The free baggage allowance an airline allows for each traveller. It varies between 20 to 22 KG for economy class.
Bed and Breakfast: Small scale establishments, mostly run by locals. For a homely feel while travelling, a bed and breakfast stay should be on your list.
Blackout Period: A time period in which airlines will not let you use any frequent flyer miles or any other promotional offers on your tickets. Basically a time period in which promotional discounts or special fares are not applicable
Boarding Pass: A card given to passengers when they check-in. This pass has to be given to the flight crew upon entering the aircraft, so keep it safe!
Budget Airlines: Short duration flights at relatively lower/ bargain prices.

Carry-On: Luggage which a traveller takes with them on the plane. There is a limit on the weight/ number of carry-ons per person which varies according to each airline. Know this limit from yours airline before boarding.
Charter Airlines: An aircraft hired by a group of people or by holiday companies, mostly for special holiday packages.
Check-In: A process in which an airline passenger registers themselves as having arrived for the flight. This is also done for hotels/ inns/ placing where travellers stay.
Check-out time: A set time (usually 12 noon) by which hotel guests are expected to leave/ empty their room. After that, the charges for another night's lodging will be levied.
Complimentary: Without charge. Free. For example, a hotel might offer their patrons a complimentary breakfast.
Connecting Flight: Usually on really long journeys, there is a stop where passengers change planes/ flights. These flights are known as connecting flights.

Daylight Savings Time: The process of artificially advancing clocks in Spring to increase the number of daylight hours in the evenings. The clocks are usually adjusted back to normal in autumn.
Day Return: A round trip in which the return is on the same day as the departure
Deck: A floor/ level on a ship.
Direct Flights: A flight which will take the passenger directly to their location, without them having to change planes.
Discounted Tickets: These tickets are usually at a lower price than that advertised by the airlines. You can find such tickets from agents.

Economy Class: Also known as Coach class.
E-Tickets: A ticket purchased online. Instead of a paper ticket, the passenger is issued an authorization code.
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival
EST: Eastern Standard Time
Excess Baggage: Luggage that exceeds the limits allowed per passenger by flights. Most airlines charge extra for excess baggage.
Exchange Rate: The numerical value at which a currency can be changed for another. For example, 1 Australian Dollar is equal to 0.66 Euro. Knowing these exchange rates comes in handy while travelling to different countries. This way you know how much cash you need to carry.
Emigrant: Someone who leaves their own country to settle in another.

Fare: The price charged for transportation, whether by bus, train or flight.
First-Class: The top most quality of seats in an airline or service offered. First-class is also usually the most expensive.
Flight Attendant: The nice people who look after passengers in a flight. They are trained for emergency situations as well.
Freebie: Like complimentary, something given free of cost.
Frequent Flyer Program: This is a program offered by most airlines to passengers who fly frequently with that airline. The idea behind this is to promote loyalty. Frequent Flyers get various rewards such as upgrades and other such services.
Full-Body Pat-Down: An alternative option for passengers who decline screening by the body imaging machine used by TSA. In this, TSA officials thoroughly check the person using their hands.

That's all for now! Following this, there will be more travel terms and jargon that we will be back to decode.

Till then, Happy Travelling!

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