top of page

        Travel Terms Glossary

We have provided a glossary for your use. The travel industry is filled with jargon and acronyms and we hope you find this glossary/dictionary of travel terms useful when you run across a term you are not familiar with.


A la carte

This usually refers to meals, an indication that each dish is priced separately; also that a choice of meals may be available, such as on a tour.


A directional term, used on ships and aircraft, which describes something off to the side of the vessel, such as the wings.


An option, usually at extra cost, added to travel arrangements.

Adjoining rooms

Two hotel or accommodation rooms that have a door connecting them from the inside, allowing the guests to combine the two rooms into one larger room.


The total number of seats allowed to be sold at a particular rate.

Airport access fee

A fee paid to the airport authority by car rental companies for the use of shuttle vehicles. This often appears in customer’s car rental bills.


A person who has the power to act as the representative for another person.  Most Frequently in travel, a specific kind of agent such as a travel agent.


Toward the rear of a ship.

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

Sold for one price that includes charges and fees that are often added separately.

All-inclusive package

A tour package in which most travel elements are purchased for set price. Also called an all-expense package.


A desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place

Average room rate

The total guest room revenue for a given period divided by the number of rooms occupied for the same period.


Base fare

The cost of an airfare prior to addition of fees, taxes or surcharges.

Blackout dates

Specific dates in which special fares or promotions do not apply. Typically exist around holidays or special events.

Boarding pass

A ticket issued at airport check-in that authorizes airplane boarding.

Bulk fare

A reduced fare for purchases of a large number of tickets.

Business class

While amenities vary based on the airline, business class generally falls between first class and coach.


A relaxing and romantic vacation or getaway taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.

Baggage Allowance

The amount of baggage a passenger may transport without having to pay extra charges, determined by the carrier.

Bed and breakfast (B&B)

Overnight accommodations usually in a private home or boarding house, often with a full American-style or Continental breakfast included in one rate.


Usually refers to the bed in a ship’s cabin; also space at which a ship is docked.

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. A Boarding Pass is not a ticket but allows you to board a plane or ship or other modes of transportation.



The passenger area on an aircraft; the stateroom aboard a cruise ship.

Cabin Crew

The collective group of flight attendants and the purser as a whole. The cabin crew is responsible primarily for handling the duties within the cabin.

Cancellation penalty/fee

The monetary penalty due when travel plans are cancelled, usually after final payment has been made.


The captain is the pilot or commander of an aircraft or a ship


Generic term for any company that transports passengers and/or freight.

Corporate agency

A travel agency that usually caters to medium-large sized businesses.

Conventional Tours

A gathering of professionals or others to discuss matters of common interest in a foreign land.


Currently, there are no uniformly enforced airline restrictions concerning carry-on luggage.

Certified Tour Professional (CTP)

A designation conferred upon tour professionals who have completed a prescribed course of academic study, professional service, tour employment, and evaluation requirements. The CTP program is administered by the National Tour Association (Lexington, KY) and is open to individuals employed in any segment of the tourism industry.

Certified Travel Associate – (CTA)

A travel professional certified by the Institute of Certified Travel Agents, who has passed a series of rigorous tests, assuring the traveling public of professional competence.

Circle trip

Any trip that involves more than a single destination, but which returns to the initial point of departure.

City Guide

A tour guide who points out and comments on the highlights of a city, usually from a motor coach or van.

Confirmed Reservation

An oral or written statement by a travel supplier that they have received and will honor a reservation.

Connecting Flight

A flight that makes a stop at an intermediate point where the traveler must change planes in order to continue/connect to another flight to reach their destination.

Connecting Room

Two rooms that are connected to each other by a door. These rooms can be sold as a connecting/adjoining room to the same party or separately to two different parties (in which case the doors are locked from both sides).



A computerized, organized collection of individual customer information.


The floor area of a ship. Some cruise liners have as many as 11 or more decks.


An advance payment required to obtain and confirm a reservation.


The geographic place to which a traveler is going.

Direct Flight

A flight that goes from a traveler’s origin to their final destination with no intermediate stops.

Domestic Fare

An additional fare added to an international flight/fare.

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.


To move to a lesser level of accommodations or a lower class of service.

Duty-free imports

Item amounts and categories specified by a government that are fee of tax or duty charges when brought into the country.


Early Check-In

A perk that allows a guest to check in at an earlier time than the standard check-in time.

Electronic ticket

A paperless ticket that allows travelers to fly with only a photo ID. Commonly referred to as “E-ticket’s”

English Breakfast

Basic meal of cereal, juice, eggs, meats, and other beverages. Common with most hotels in the UK.


Someone who leads or conducts a tour of a group


estimated time of arrival.


estimated time of departure.

Excess Baggage

Checked luggage that exceeds the weight limitation of the expressed baggage allowance policy by the specific airline. Excess baggage fees vary by carrier, but tend to be very expensive.

Exclusive fare

Discounted airfares offered by travel consolidators.


FAM Trip

Familiarization Tour or Trip. FAMS are marketing initiatives, inviting either media or travel trade professionals to tour a region or destination to experience it firsthand.

Family Plan

A plan offered by most hotels that allows children to stay in the same room as their parents at no additional charge. Age requirements vary between hotels.

Fare basis

The code that determines the price of an airline ticket.

First class

The class which offers the most premium service. Enhanced seating, meal selection, and drink offerings staples of this services.

Frequent Flier

One who flies frequently.

Full house

A hotel with all guest rooms occupied.



The kitchen/kitchenette area of a plane or train or ship.


The specific area in an airport where passengers board a plane for a flight


Global Distribution Systems

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Solar based time in Greenwich, England

Group tour

A travel package for an assembly of travelers that has a common itinerary, travel date, and transportation.


A person or company qualified to conduct tours of specific localities or attractions.



A printed version of a document

Honeymoon Travel

Honeymoon travel is a category of travel where a newly married couple travels while celebrating their marriage.


an inexpensive accommodation, usually dormitory style, popular with the student crowd


an airport or city in which an airline has a major presence and many flights to other destinations.



The International Air Transport Association supports aviation with global standards for airline safety, security, efficiency and sustainability.


Institute of Certified Travel Agents located in Wellesley, MA.

In Transit

En route or in the process of traveling.

Inbound Tour

A tour for groups of travelers whose trip originates in another location and usually in another country.


The planned route for a trip. It is a pre-planned experience with where to go, when and what to expect when you get there.


Jet Bridge

An enclosed, movable connector which extends from a terminal gate to a plane, allowing passengers to board and disembark without having to go outside.

Jet lag

A temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones.

Jump Seat

A flight term referring to an auxiliary (extra) seat for persons who are not operating the aircraft, such as the cabin crew or perhaps a trainee.



A measure of distance using the metric system

King Room

A hotel room that has a king-sized bed.


Land Arrangements

All non-flying reservations upon arrival such as hotel, car rental, tour reservations, etc

Land Destinations

A land destination or travel destination is a place to which one is journeying,

Land Only

A rate that does NOT include air transportation and usually refers to most other land-based charges such as hotel accommodations, transfers, taxes and perhaps other optional items like theme park tickets, car rental, etc

Land Transfers

Travel by train, bus, limo, taxi, uber to/from an accommodation, airplane or cruise ship.

Late Booking Fee

A fee due if travel arrangements are made at the last minute.


The period of time spent between connecting flights on the ground.

Leisure travel

Usually signifies traveling for relaxation, vacation, or to visit friends/family.

Lowest available fare

The most inexpensive flight currently available.

Luxury Class

The most expensive, high class accommodations or category of fare, like a suite or first class.


Maximum stay

The longest period of time a traveler can stay at a particular destination and still qualify for the promotion or discounted fare.

Meet-and-greet service

A pre-purchased service for meeting and greeting clients upon arrival in a city, usually at the airport, pier, or rail station, and assisting clients with entrance formalities, collecting baggage, and obtaining transportation.

Meeting/conference tour

A tour designed around a specific meeting or conference for the participants.

Minimum connect time

Defined as the minimum time necessary between connecting flights – 30 minutes domestically, usually – ideally, at least an hour

Multi-day tour

A travel package of two or more days


Net Fare

The price/fare of an airline ticket before it has any commission or tax added to it.

Net Rate

This refers to hotel room inventory that is sold via a third-party distributor at prices subject to commission

No Show

A traveler that does not appear or “show up” for their flight, hotel or car rental reservation, without officially canceling the reservation.


A ticket in which no money will be refunded to the customer if they cancel the reservation.


A ticket that can only be used by the person who was originally on the reservation.


A flight that travels directly to its destination without any stops, connections or layovers.


Occupancy Rate

The percentage of all available hotel rooms at a given property that is either estimated/expected/projected or actual during any given day or period of time.


Any company that provides any transportation service


The departure leg or segment of a journey.

Outbound Tour

A tour that takes travelers out of the area, usually from a domestic city to another country.


Passenger Facility Charge (PFC)

An additional fee for use of the airport facility.

Passenger Name Record (PNR)

The official name of a customer’s reservation in a computer reservations 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 Capita Costs

Costs per person.

Point to Point

Refers to the fare between two cities.

Published fare

A fare immediately offered for purchase by the airline. This does not include heavily discounted flights usually offered to consolidaters.



A room that accommodates four persons.


The process of sorting and retrieving information


Rack rate

The price of a hotel prior to discount.


to double-check a reservation.

Record locator

The number assigned to a reservation in the airlines number. This number is unique, as it will never be assigned again.

Red-eye flight

A flight in which the travel takes place between the hours of 9pm and 7am.


When a new ticket is issued as a result of a change of plans.

Round trip

Two flights: the destination flight and its return trip.

Room Occupancy

A hotel term where a room has been booked or occupied



The world’s largest global distribution (reservation) system. Often referred to as a GDS


The journey that includes wild life viewing (and sometimes hunting).

Saturday Night Stay

Requires staying over a Saturday night to receive a special fare or discount.

Single Room

A room that is only guaranteed to comfortably accommodate one guest


Refers to the sleeping compartment on board a train.


The spa offers health and beauty treatments like steam baths, massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, etc.

Special Fare

Any fare that deviates from normal pricing.


A premium hotel room that usually offers a living room and kitchenette in addition to the bedroom.

Shoulder season

The period of time between busy and quiet seasons in which prices are typically at a midpoint.



A schedule of prices/fares.


A building where customers report for their trips via airplane, train, bus etc. Also called a depot or a station.


A prearranged, prepaid journey to one or more destinations that generally returns to the point of origin,

Tour Guide

A person qualified and often certified to conduct tours of specific locations or attractions.


Local transportation and porterage from one carrier terminal to another, from terminal to a hotel or from a hotel to an attraction.

Through passenger

A passenger who remains on the plane at a connecting stop on the way to his/her final destination.

Ticket stock

Blank airline tickets.

Travel agent

An individual or company that sell travel services on a commission basis.

Travel agency

Usually used in the travel industry to refer to an ARC-appointed storefront retailer.


Unlimited Mileage

A term used by car rental companies to denote that there are no mileage restrictions for the rental.

Unrestricted Fare

An airfare with no limitations or restrictions.


To move to a better accommodation or class of service.



The relationship between the benefits of a product or service, and the price.


A large and luxurious country residence that is often a fancy vacation home. The word literally means “country house for the elite”.


A document that grants permission/entry to a country for a specific purpose and for a finite period of time.


Documents that are exchanged for goods and services to substantiate payment that will be paid or has already been paid.



A list of customers/clients awaiting a confirmed reservation for any transport


A written acknowledgement that a passenger has declined something.


Yield Management

Calculating and analyzing the profits (or the yield) earned per customer.

bottom of page