Glossary of Terms

Sure Travel (Pty) Ltd

An air ticket is seldom simple.  It’s often subject to "advance purchase" restrictions, change penalties, no-show penalties, minimum stay periods, or non-refund clauses. You may be limited by "capacity controls" or "yield management" -  which means that the same seat on an aircraft on the same day and the same flight can have up to 20 different prices. And flying "direct" doesn’t necessarily mean you're flying "nonstop".

While airline-speak may be old hat to the seasoned traveller, some people might find themselves puzzled on occasion. Here is a “decoder” for some common terms that crop up in the world of travel.

For anything we’ve missed, just give us a call and we’ll help you to decipher it!


add-on - an option, usually at extra cost, added to travel arrangements


adjoining room - a hotel room that is next to another, but without connecting doors


advance purchase requirement - an airfare that must be purchased a certain number of days ahead of departure, usually 7, 14, or 21 days, for the best fare


airport transfer -  a transport service to/from an airport to hotel, etc, normally prepaid as part of a package tour, but available separately as well


All-inclusive -            should mean a plan that includes all meals, drinks, tips, service charges, accommodations, some watersports ( usually non-motorized ), etc.


availability - the actual inventory of seats that are really available to be sold at a certain fare. Just because a fare is presented as " available " between two cities does NOT mean seats at that rate are available. This causes much confusion when airfare ads are published, so you must read the " fine print " before calling your  agent and asking them to get that fare for you


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B & B - Bed & Breakfast; usually a quaint, country-style accommodation with a small       number of rooms, that includes breakfast each morning


balcony - sometimes called a verandah - an outside " porch " that is usually private


barge cruising - pleasure cruising along a canal system, such as in upstate New York or in Europe, in converted barges or new ships


base fare - the basic price of an airline ticket, before ANY taxes, surcharges, airport fees, etc.


beam - a ship's width at it's widest point; determines whether or not a vessel can pass through the Panama Canal


bellman - a person who carries one's luggage to a hotel room


Benelux - term for the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg


berth - usually refers to the bed in a ship's cabin; also the space at which a ship is docked


blackout dates - refers to a date or series of dates on which travel is NOT available. Can refer to airline, hotel or car rental arrangements.


blocked space - seats, rooms, and/or cabins held on airlines, in hotels, or aboard ships. Usually held speculatively and made available at reduced rates.


boarding pass - a receipt with a seat number, now issued only at check-in at the airport. A ticket is not valid unless a boarding pass has been issued


bonded - protected or guaranteed by a bond, usually referring to the protection of passenger's funds


bridge - the navigational center of a ship


bulk fare - a fare only available when buying blocks of airline seats; usually lower than published fares


bumping - the airline practice of denying boarding to confirmed passengers who hold tickets on a specific flight, due to an oversold condition. The carrier will ask for volunteers to take later flights, and will normally provide some sort of compensation in the form of vouchers or tickets for future travel. Rules for when compensation must be provided are complicated; ask the ticket agent for a copy of that carrier's rules, as each has their own set of guidelines.


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cabin - the passenger area on an aircraft; the stateroom aboard a cruise ship


cabin steward - the person responsible for maintaining/cleaning the cabins aboard ship


cancellation penalty - the monetary penalty due when travel plans are cancelled, usually after final payment has been made


carrier - generic term for any company that transports passengers and/or freight

carry-on - currently, there are no uniformly enforced airline restrictions concerning carry-on luggage. Most carriers state that the bag must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. The usual maximum measurements are said to be 22 X 14 X 9 inches. At most airports, there are bag checking "frames " that you can insert your carry-on into to see if it meets these requirements.


cashless cruising - a term that applies to the system of onboard payment used for most all cruises; the final bill for any such purchases is presented against a credit card or cash deposit given upon check-in.


change of equipment - when a flight, with a single flight number, lands and changes the type of airplane used before continuing on to it's destination


Chunnel - slang for the tunnel beneath the English Channel, from England to France, through which the Eurostar train passes


circle trip - any trip that involves more than a single destination, but which returns to the initial point of departure


city pair - the departure and arrival cities on an airline booking


coach - the " economy " section of an aircraft, which may have literally scores of different fares for the same flight


collision damage waiver - car rental insurance covering any damage to a rental vehicle ( CDW ); many credit card companies cover their clients in this area if they use that card to pay for the rental. Check with you credit card company to see if you are covered and to what extent


commuter - term referring to the small, regional airlines, sometimes called puddle-jumpers


concierge - a hotel employee who provides additional advice, recommendations, and other services to guests, such as restaurant reservations


connecting flight - an air journey that requires changing planes at an intermediate city along the way


couchette - the sleeping compartment of a train, that can contain up to 6 beds


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deck - the floor area of a ship. cabins, etc of a cruise ship


deposit - the funds needed to be paid to secure a booking


denied-boarding compensation - that payment and/or voucher given those bumped from a flight; may be somewhat


disembark - to get off an airplane or passenger ship


direct flight - a flight to another city that stops at least once en route, but does not involve a change of equipment ( you do not have to change planes )


disclaimer - a legal document that advises clients that a travel agent acts only as a middleman in the sale of travel products; any liability ultimately lies with the supplier, i.e. airline, hotel, car rental company, tour operator, railway, etc.


domestic fare - a fare charged for travel within a country


double occupancy - the way in which almost all cruise fares and tour packages are quoted, that is, based on two people traveling together. Most hotel rooms are quoted based on two adults to a room, as well


drop-off charge - the fee added to a car rental when the vehicle is returned to a city other than where it was originally rented.


duty-free - being exempt from any import tax


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electronic ticket - a " paperless " airline ticket allowing one to check-in and fly with just proper photo ID. What may look like a ticket is actually just a paper passenger receipt. E-tickets cannot be lost, or used by anyone else


embark - to board a plane or cruise ship


en suite - in the hotel industry, indicates that a certain feature(s) is directly in the room, or adjacent to that room


English breakfast - basic meal of cereal, juice, eggs, meats, and other beverages. Common with most hotels in the UK/Great Britain


Eurailpass - a special fare ticket that allows either unlimited train travel, or travel for a certain number of days/weeks, in many European countries


European plan - a rate at a hotel that includes no meals


excursion - a side trip from a main destination, usually at added cost and optional

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fare basis (code) - the sometimes confusing code or codes on which the price of an airline ticket is based. Some itineraries contain many different codes. Most will indicate whether a fare is refundable or not. If even one fare code contained in a ticket is nonrefundable, then the entire ticket becomes nonrefundable. Even some first class fares are now nonrefundable


first class - most aircraft have at least some first class seats up front, which offer much more room and upgraded cabin service, meals, etc. Worth the price on some long, international destinations, if you can afford it


FIT - foreign independent tour - actually used generically now for a travel package put together by a travel agent from separate components such as car, hotel and airfare, adjusted exactly as the traveler wishes. May include city tours, theater tickets, and other " independent " options, and may also include custom mapping/routing to accomplish the client's goals


fjord - a narrow inlet from the ocean, usually bounded by cliffs, and with spectacular scenery.

Most are located in Alaska, Norway, and New Zealand


fly-drive package - a travel package featuring airfare, rental car, and perhaps hotels.


Force majeure - literally means ‘greater force’. Essentially it is related in the T&C

to allow a travel agency to cancel a transaction should an unforeseen event occur.


full service hotel - a hotel with restaurant facilities


funnel flight - a flight, such as on a regional or commuter carrier, that " feeds " larger planes which continue on to other destinations. Also, the use of a single flight number for an itinerary that really involves a connection with two separate flight numbers, thus making the itinerary appear to be a direct flight with a change of aircraft as opposed to a connection.


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galley - the kitchen on a ship or plane


gateway city - a city that operates as an arrival or departure point for international flights


global distribution system (GDS) - an international computer reservation system that accesses many databases of suppliers, airlines, etc. in different countries, such as AMADEUS or TRAVELPORT


global positioning system (GPS) - system of satellites that allows miniature radio receivers on earth to pinpoint one's location within a few feet.


Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) - solar based time in Greenwich, England, from which time in all other time zones in the world is based



half pension - a hotel rate that includes breakfast and one other meal, usually dinner. Sometimes called Modified American Plan (MAP) or demi-pension


hard-copy - a printed version of a document, such as an airline ticket or hotel voucher


high season - the time of year when a destination gets the greatest crowds, and thus can increase hotel and rental car rates, etc. As an example, summertime is high season for travel to Europe


hostel - an inexpensive accommodation, usually dormitory style, popular with the student crowd - thus the term " youth hostel "


hub - an airport or city in which an airline has a major presence and many flights to other destinations. Many carriers use the hub-and-spoke system to maximize profits by keeping the aircraft in the air as much as possible. Flights to the hub are many, and from there flights to many other destinations are scheduled


hurricane season - in the Caribbean primarily, and the Southeastern US, a period from June through October during which such storms are likely to occur


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IATA- International Airline Travel Association


in season - meaning only available at certain times of the year


in transit - en route; in the process of travelling


incentive travel - travel as a reward for an employee's outstanding performance


inclusive tour - a package tour that bundles transportation, accommodations, transfers, sightseeing, possibly some meals, etc


inside cabin - a stateroom aboard ship that has no window. Sometimes smaller, but at times the same size as an outside cabin


interline connection - a flight on one airline that connects to a flight on another carrier - these tickets are usually more expensive than flying all on one carrier but may be the only way to get to a destination in some cases. Also unless an interline agreement for baggage handling exists, you may have to claim your luggage from the first flight and recheck it on the next carrier's flight.


International Date Line - at 180 degrees longitude, the date on one side of this imaginary line, running from the north to the south pole, is different from the other. The line runs through the Pacific Ocean, and because of it, it is possible to leave one destination on one day, and arrive in another the day before


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jet lag - a upset of one's biological clock, due to travel across many time zones


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kilometre - a measure of distance used in almost all other countries, equal to about 5/8 mile.


king room - a hotel room with a king bed


knot - a nautical measure of speed equaling approx. 1.5 mph. A ship traveling at 15 knots is traveling at about 22 mph.


kph - kilometers-per-hour - land speed measurement in most countries. 60 kph equals approx. 36 miles-per-hour


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land arrangements - all the details of a the land portion of a trip ( hotel, car, tours, sightseeing, etc. )


land-only - a rate that does NOT include airfare; usually includes most other land-based charges such as accommodations, transfers, taxes, and perhaps other optional items like theme park tickets, etc.


last-seat availability - the ability of a travel agent to get, literally, the " last seat " for you on a particular flight, either at a certain fare or actually the last remaining seat on an aircraft.


late booking fee - a fee due if travel arrangement are made at the last minute. Normally covers express delivery of documents and other last-minute arrangements that may have to be made by a tour operator


latitude - imaginary horizontal lines of angular distance, measured in degrees north or south of the equator


layover - a period of time spent during a trip, sometimes overnight, while waiting for a transportation connection - usually a change of planes


LDW - loss damage waiver - additional insurance pertaining to car rentals, covering theft and vandalism in addition to accident damage


lead-in price - the lowest available price for a travel product, often pertaining to cabins on a cruise ship. Usually, there are only a few staterooms available on board each cruiseliner in this category, but often better accommodations are only slightly higher in price.


leg - on segment of a journey, normally referring to an air itinerary, such as the " outbound leg " or the " return leg "


leisure travel - travel for pleasure as opposed to business


lido deck - usually the deck on a cruise ship that surrounds the pool area


load factor - the percent of available space on an aircraft or other form of transportation that has been sold to date


lowest available fare - the current, lowest airfare available for purchase right then - may or may not change within minutes/hours/days


lowest fare - the lowest published airfare between two cities; may NOT have seats available at that fare, as the airlines usually have a limited number of those seats on any given flight


low season - the period when a destination experiences it's lowest prices and the fewest number of guests


luxury class - the most expensive, high-class accommodations or category of fare


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maximum stay - the maximum time you may stay at your destination in order to qualify for a specific airfare. Normally most fares have a 30-day limit, but some are less. Usually, the longer you stay, the higher the fare will be


minimum connect time - defined as the minimum time necessary between connecting flights


modified american plan ( MAP ) - meal plan that includes two daily meals, usually breakfast and dinner


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no show - a passenger who doesn't show for a flight, hotel, or rental car booking


non-refundable - a fare that cannot be refunded either in cash or via a credit card credit


non-transferable - an air ticket that cannot be used by anyone else ( all tickets are such nowadays )


nonstop - referring to an air flight that does not stop enroute to it's first destination, that is, a single flight segment with no intermediate stops


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occupancy rate - the percent of hotel rooms expected to be filled during a specific time period.


off-peak - a time when less travel occurs. Fares are usually lower during these times


open jaw - a trip in during which there is no travel by air between two cities


open return - a air ticket with no return date specified. Rarely done these days, usually quite expensive and not allowed on most discounted fares


operator - a company providing transportation or travel related services ( airline, cruise line, railway, hotel, car rental company, etc. )


outbound - the departure leg of a journey


overbooking - the practice of selling more airline seats than are available on a specific flight, to make up for no-shows


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passenger facility charge (PFC) - a fee for the use of many airports, added in to the cost of an air ticket - another name for an additional tax on travelers


passenger name record (PNR) - the official name of one's reservation in a computer reservation system (CRS)


passport/visa service - a service that will take your passport and hand carry, if necessary, to the appropriate embassy in order to expedite a visa.


per diem - " by the day ;" in the cruise industry, the per-day cost of a cruise, per person


personal effects coverage - additional car rental insurance covering loss of personal property from the rented vehicle


point-to-point - refers to the fares between two cities; the service between two cities without additional segments or any continuation


port - the place where a ship docks; a place visited by cruise ship; the left side of a vessel


port charges/taxes - fees levied by local authorities upon the cruise lines for each

passenger visiting a port of call, normally added to the total cruise fare


porter - a baggage handler


porthole - usually a round, sealed window in a shipboard stateroom


pps - Per person sharing. Common pricing reference for accommodation when the room is not quoted as single


pricing from - this usually implies that the quoted rate allows for flexibility in the advertised package. The client can stay for longer or add some extras which will affect the price


published fare - an airfare that is listed in the carrier's tariff


purser - aboard ship, the person responsible for providing a wide array of services such as information, making change, stamps, etc. Found at the purser's desk


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quad - a room suitable for four persons


quay - a pier - pronounced the same as " key "


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rack rate - the standard price of a hotel room before any discount has been taken.


reconfirm - to recheck a reservation


record locator - the number assigned to one's reservation in an airline's computer system


reissue - the generation of a new ticket that is exchanged for another, due to a change of plans, dates, flights, etc. May involve additional fare, penalties and fees


res - short for " reservation "


rollaway - a cot or other bedding that can be added to a hotel room to accommodate another guest. There is often an extra charge for this


round trip - a flight to a single destination and return


run-of-house (ROH) - refers to a hotel room, the type of which is assigned at the discretion of the hotel shortly before you arrive.


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scheduled carrier - an airline that operates a on a regular, published schedule


segment - a " leg " or part of a journey, usually in reference to an air itinerary. One take-off and landing during air travel constitutes a " segment "


self-drive - a rental car


shore excursion - tours that are purchased as an option when visiting ports of call while on a cruise; can sometimes be bought before you cruise


shoulder season - a period of time between high and low seasons, where prices at a destination are between their highest and lowest


single supplement - an additional charge when purchasing a cruise or tour whose pricing is based on double-occupancy. This supplement can be as much as twice the PPS rate


sleeper - the sleeping compartment aboard a train


spa - a resort area centred around a mineral springs, hot springs and the like, typically where one can find massage, hydrotherapy, exercise, steam baths, etc.


special interest tour - a tour catering to the needs of a specific interest, such as bird-watching, whale-watching, river rafting, mountain biking, rain forest exploration among many others


stateroom - another term for a cabin aboard ship


stopover - a planned stayover in a city for a day or more, while enroute to another destination. Sometimes adds significantly to the cost of an air ticket


student visa - permission to enter a country, issued to a student, normally for the purpose of attending school in that country


suite - a hotel accommodation with more than one room, or sometimes a single room with distinct sleeping and living areas


supplier - any company that supplies travel and/or related services to the travelling public


surface - travel over land that does not involve an aircraft


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tariff - a schedule of prices/fares


T&C - Terms and  conditions. At Sure Travel what we really mean by T&C is the conditions

of transaction


theme cruise - a cruise devoted to a specific interest


Third party service providers - Travel agents don’t own any of the product they sell

and are merely agents for the product. The third party service provider is the supplier of the

product that the agent is selling


Travel insurance -a Sure Travel consultant is duty bound to offer their clients travel

insurance. It is invariably a small additional cost to the total cost of a trip but will save the

client so much more if the unforeseen happens. Ask your consultant more about the available

travel insurance products, especially the top-up products if you are booking with a reputable

credit card


through passenger - a passenger who is not disembarking at a particular stop while enroute to the final destination


twenty-four hour time - used extensively in South Africa, Europe and other countries


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unlimited mileage - no mileage restriction when renting a car.


unrestricted fare - an airfare that has no special advance purchase, Saturday stay or certain days to travel requirements, and is usually refundable. Many full coach and most first-class fares are unrestricted


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value added tax (VAT) - a tax on


verandah - a roofed-porch


visa - usually a stamp in a passport allowing entry into a country for a specific purpose and a finite amount of time


visa service - a service that can expedite the processing of a visa. A fee is charged that varies, depending on the nature of the service needed. Visas are usually stamped into the pages of a valid passport and are issued for varying reasons and periods of time.


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waiver - a written acknowledgement that a passenger has declined something, such as insurance coverage for a trip, for example


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