Brandenburg Airport Berlin - Main Approach to Terminal
Brandenburg Airport Berlin – Main Approach to Terminal. Taken from

For the last few weeks, I have been trying to put together a sort of glossary database of words, terms, and 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
    1. Let’s say you live in Philly, and have two prospective job interviews in Boston; both are midweek ($$$), and they are on two different weeks. So you need to make two costly midweek trips, PHL-BOS. Because you know that Saturday stays usually make a flight cheaper, you can book a trip that leaves PHL for BOS on Monday of Week 1, and returns Friday of Week 2. Then you book the exact opposite trip, leaving BOS back to PHL Friday of Week 1, and returning to BOS Monday of Week 2. However, you go for your first interview on Week 1 using PHL-BOS of the first leg of Trip 1 and returning BOS-PHL of the first leg of Trip 2. Then, for the next week, Week 2, you use the second leg of Trip 2, PHL-BOS on Monday of Week 2, and return on second leg of Trip 1,BOS-PHL on Friday of Week 2. It sounds more complicated than it really is; I tend to have a knack for that.

      Back To Back Ticketing
      A confusing caption which I came up with to illustrate the seemingly complicated definition of back-to-back ticketing. Constructed using the ever-powerful graphic design program – MS Paint
    2. The other, less likely way that back-to-back ticketing has been used is when a buyer, only intending to fly once, buys two roundtrip tickets, but flies one leg of the first ticket and the one leg of the second ticket only. It was done by knowledgeable fliers for a time, but is much harder now, because the price for the same set of arrival/departure destinations do not vary as much in price like they used to, and also because now most airlines now require a traveler to fly each leg of the ticket in order as purchased; you can almost never fly the second leg of a roundtrip ticket without first flying the first leg. Though either strategy is not illegal, many airlines will penalize you if they catch on, by perhaps confiscating tickets or, more likely, cancelling frequent flier status. Be careful!
  4. 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.
  5. Hidden City Ticketing – One more tactic, similar to throwaway ticketing, where the traveler buys a roundtrip ticket with a layover, and the layover is the intended city of travel. The rest of the ticket is not used. This is for when A ticket with a layover at the intended destination is cheaper than a booking the flight right to the intended destination. For example, I was looking for tickets recently to Panama City, Panama (PTY). At the same time, I always am on the lookout for tickets to Bogotá, Colombia (BOG), so I can visit my girlfriend. The tickets to BOG were about $577 at the time, while tickets to PTY from JFK were about $640. I found a ticket to BOG for $577 on United, which had a layover in PTY. Only problem is, if I didn’t fly leg 2 and 3 of this flight, they wouldn’t let me fly home from PTY on leg 4. Always be careful (and never check bags!)!
  6. Funnel Flight – Now this is what I consider a shoddy scheme that some airlines pull. A funnel flight is one where a flight changes planes at a certain stop, though usually billing itself as a nonstop flight. The plane may leave an airport (usually a smaller, lower-key destination) flying to another, but stops off at an airport close to the departure(probably more of a major airport) to “feed” or “funnel” the passengers onto another plane. The flight will keep the same flight number on both segments, and still counts as only one leg flown. Fliers who travel often hate this tactic, as they do not get the extra mileage or qualified segments in their frequent flier accounts, though most people believe this should count as a layover.
  7. Hub (Airline) – An airline hub is the central part of the Hub and Spoke Model. An airline’s hub is where that particular airline has a heavier presence, usually in cities that also feature the airline’s headquarters or other administrative offices. If an airline has a large presence in a city that is not home to offices, it is usually referred to as a focus city or a secondary hub. Airlines that have their hub in a particular location usually offer some of the most competitive pricing on flights, either inbound or outbound. JetBlue has its HQ in Queens, New York, and has a hub at JFK. When flying with JetBlue, you will notice that most of their special offers relate somewhat to JFK. Another example is Delta, which has their HQ and primary hub at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l Airport, and likewise offers great rates on destinations to and from ATL.
  8. Single Supplement – An additional charge added to a solo traveler, when prices were originally quoted for dual occupancy. It is usually tacked on to anything that includes a room, such as cruise packages or vacation packages. When looking at prices, check to see if there is a phrase such as “based on double occupancy”. The price for one person for the same package may be considerably higher, to offset the cost of only one person utilizing a room, instead of two.
  9. Airline Alliance – These are agreements of cooperation between groups of airlines. Alliances offer airlines more flexibility and larger networks, while giving travelers such conveniences as the ability to earn frequent flier miles on a partner program of the airline flown. The three largest airline alliances are Star Alliance, oneworld, and SkyTeam. For example, travelers who like to earn US Airways’ Dividend Miles can travel on an Air Canada flight and earn Dividend Miles, because they are both partner airlines in the Star Alliance.
  10. Codeshare – An agreement between two airlines to share the same flight. A ticket may be purchased on one airline, but the plane may be from a different airline. A flight from JFK to San Salvador (SAL) was in the past available to purchase via Delta. The actual flight and crew were from TACA airlines, which had also offered tickets to the flight. A way for one carrier to partner up with another airline to increase the places that they fly to.
  11. Through Passenger – Passengers who are not disembarking at a specific stop. When a trip has a layover, at the layover airport the traveler is a “through passenger”. Other passengers on the same flight may be at their final destination. This is useful to know in airports when disembarking a plane on a layover. There may be two separate paths, for either through passengers, or passengers who have reached their final destination. Going down the wrong path may cause a passenger to leave the secure area, in which case they would need to go through the security checkpoint again.
  12. Airline Designator – Abbreviated codes, most commonly referring to the ones assigned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). On airline boards and tickets, usually these are coupled with the Flight Number, such as DL1234, where “DL” is the designator for Delta Airlines, and 1234 is the flight number.
  13. Airport Code – Also define by IATA, this is a 3-letter designation for most major airports around the world (JFK, AUA, CGK, etc.).
  14. Gateway City – A city with an airport, usually an international hub airport, that serves as an arrival and departure point for further connections to outlying cities and/or countries.
  15. Saturday Night Stay – A term used by almost all airlines which refers to this as a requirement for obtaining certain promotional fares. A R/T flight that has a Saturday night stay is usually more economical than a midweek flight.
  16. Standby – Referring to a passenger who does not have a confirmed seat on the intended flight, such as in overbooked flights, and must “stand by” until a seat becomes available or otherwise the next flight.
  17. Mileage Run – Unofficial term adopted by many veteran frequent fliers that distinguishes flights flown for the sole purpose of earning the most “miles” or points in one’s frequent flier program. Most fliers who do mileage runs do so on the weekend, when they have time off of work. Mileage runs are done in earnest towards the end of the year, as fliers scramble to gain the required “miles” needed to ensure the airline status they want for the next year. A representation of this would be a frequent traveler who, in November, realizes they need 9000 more SkyMiles on Delta Airlines so that they can continue as a Gold Medallion for the next full year. The traveler then decides to do a mileage run on one weekend, to earn the miles that they need, while paying the least amount of money. Leaving Friday after work, they do a trip, from ATL-BOS, while making a stop in LHR, SAP, IAD, and CDG (bad example, but you get the point). After returning, the flier now has sufficient SkyMiles to ensure Gold Medallion status on Delta for the next year. One more note, many fliers who do mileage runs may never even leave the airport; if done on the weekend, a roundtrip flight with 2 or 3 layovers each way, which are typical in mileage runs, can leave very little time to leave the airport’s secured area with time enough to get back in for the next flight out.
  18. Mattress Run – Similar to a mileage run, a mattress run is executed when a traveler, who is a member of a hotel chain’s frequent stay program, stays a few nights at a hotel with the sole purpose of bulking up on whatever points the hotel’s program offers. The benefits of doing mattress runs include possible free nights earned, higher status in the program, and more amenities, services, and upgrades offered as the result of the higher status. Hotels typically have offers where guests can earn an increased number of points for stays during these promotions, which are when a lot of mattress runs are undertaken.
More words to come soon, in other travel categories! For these and more definitions, check out the Dauntless Jaunter Travel Glossary.


Comment! Complain! Come On! Please?

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here