Air Travelers' Glossary


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z 

A/C - Aircraft

Aft - The rear portion of an aircraft.

APU - see Auxiliary Power Unit

ATC - Air Traffic Control

ATO - see Airport Ticket Office

Air Rage - Term used for the actions of a passenger who disrupts a flight.

Airport Ticket Office (ATO) - Ticket counter at the airport.

Apron - The parking area for aircraft at the terminal.

Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) - provides electric power to the aircraft when the engines are not in use.

Bulkhead - Dividers within an aircraft cabin.

Bump - To remove a passenger from a flight in overbooking situations.

Blackout Date(s) - Given dates during the year on which high traffic volume prohibits discount fares or non-revenue traffic.

Boarding Pass - Coupon showing passenger information which must be surrendered in order to board a flight.

CTO - see City Ticket Office

Captain - Pilot in charge of aircraft, crew, and passengers.

Ceiling - Maximum altitude at which an aircraft can fly.

City Ticket Office (CTO) - Ticket office located in or near the city of departure as a convenience to travelers.

Code Share - Process by which two or more airlines cooperate by selling seats concurrently on each others' aircraft. This allows them to extend their route networks vicariously.

Commuter Airline - Airline which connects with a major airline in a hub city. Generally a regional airline.

Confirmation Number - The alphanumeric code the passenger holds. This corresponds to the reservation.

Deep Vein Thrombosis - Blood clotting which may be caused by prolonged lack of movement. This has been a contemporary issue of concern regarding long flights. It is recommended that passengers stretch, move around, and avoid alcoholic beverages.

Deregulation Act of 1978 (US) - Emphasis is placed on market forces to dictate which domestic routes an airline will fly, instead of governmental control of routes.

Direct Flight - Flight which lands at one or more intermediate points en route to the destination, but with no change of aircraft.

Duty Free - Items which can be purchased tax-free within a customs-controlled area.

Economy Class Syndrome - see Deep Vein Thrombosis

Essential Air Service - U.S. government provision through which an airline's service to specific cities is federally subsidized. This program was initiated as part of the Deregulation Act of 1978.

E-Ticket - see Electronic Ticket

ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival

ETD - Estimated Time of Departure

ETOPS - see Extended Range Operations

Electronic Ticket - Ticketing system in which the passenger receives a confirmation number in lieu of a traditional paper ticket. An ID card is matched with the PNR relating to the confirmation number.

Exit Row Seat - Seats which are situated astride the emergency doors over the wing. There are certain restrictions on passengers sitting in those seats, such as age and physical ability.

Extended Range Operations (ETOPS) - Process by which the FAA certifies a 2-engine aircraft for overwater transcontinental operations. The reliability of the aircraft over time is a factor in this process. ETOPS is commonplace today.

Feeder Airline - see Commuter Airline

Fifth-Freedom Rights - The ability of an airline from one nation to sell tickets between a second nation and a third along the route of a flight although it is neither a flag carrier of the second or the third.

Flag Carrier - Airline which holds a certificate allowing it to operate international flights. Generally associated with major airlines.

Flaps - These control the lift and speed of an aircraft and are located on the wings.

FLIFO - Flight Information.

Fore or Forward - Front portion of an aircraft.

Frequent Flyer Program - Program through which an airline endeavors to foster customer loyalty by offering rewards for multiple travel purchases.

Fuselage - The body of an aircraft.

Galley - The section of an aircraft reserved for preparation of food and beverage service.

Great Circle Route - The shortest distance between two points on the globe.

Hidden City Itinerary - Scenario involves passenger's departure from an interline point in a flight itinerary rather than the origin city. This is done in order to obtain a lower fare and is generally not allowed by airlines.

Hub - An airport in which the majority of an airline's flights arrive, depart, and connect with each other. An airline may have one or more hubs.

Hub-and-Spoke System - Airline system that makes use of hub airports.

IATA - International Air Transport Association

Interline - Travel including 2 or more airlines.

Itinerary - Information pertaining to the flight which generally includes flight numbers, departure/arrival times, meal service , and seat assignment; The route of a given flight.

Jet Bridge - Walkway that connects the aircraft to the gate area.

Leg - One segment of an itinerary.

Load Factor - Percentage of seats which are occupied on a flight.

Loyalty Program - see Frequent Flier Program

Major Airline - Airline whose operating revenue exceeds $1 billion per annum.

Narrowbody Jet - Single-aisle aircraft used for short-to-medium haul flight. Aircraft of this type include Boeing 717, 727, 737, 757; McDonnell-Douglas DC9,MD80; and Airbus A320.

National Airline - Airline whose operating revenue lies between $100 million and $1 billion per annum.

Nautical Mile - Unit of length used in air navigation. Equal to 1.86 km or 1.15 miles.

No-Show - Passenger who has a reservation on a specific flight, but does not show up for that flight.

Non-Revenue - Passenger traveling on free or reduced-fare ticket.

Online Ticketing - Process by which a passenger inputs the information to form the PNR via a personal computer on the Internet.

On-Time - Arrival/Departure within 15 minutes of the scheduled time

Opaque Fare - A wholesale ticket sold to customer with no knowledge of flight time or airline. Such tickets appeal to flexible, budget-consious travelers.

OPS - see Operations.

Open Jaw - An itinerary which does not return to the same airport from which it began.

Operations (OPS) - The office at the airport which coordinates equipment and supplies for the airline.

Overbooking - Process of selling more seats than are available on an aircraft in order to compensate for No-Show passengers.

PAX - Passenger

PFC - see Passenger Facility Charge

PNR - see Passenger Name Record

Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) - A tax of up to $3 which airports are permitted by U.S. federal law to levy on air transportation. The PFC may not exceed $12 per ticket.

Passenger Manifest - List of names, information, and itineraries of passengers physically on board a specific flight. This information is not available to the general public in the interest of security.

Passenger Name Record (PNR) - Includes all information about the passenger gained by the airline during the reservation process. Includes name, address, special needs, and so on.

Pitch - see Seat Pitch

Point-to-Point - Flights originating in one city and ending in another without changing planes in a hub city, however, flights may have multiple stops.

Pre-Boarding - Allowing passengers with disabilities, children, or with higher-priced tickets to board the aircraft first.

Ramp - see Apron.

Range - Maximum distance an aircraft can fly without needing to refuel.

Regional Airline - Airline whose operating revenues do not exceed $100 million per annum.

Regional Jet - Small (30-50 passenger) jet introduced mainly into commuter and secondary-market service to replace turboprop aircraft. It has enhanced service in markets which did not previously warrant jet service. Aircraft of this type include Canadair RJ50, Embraer 145, and Fairchild 328 Jet.

Seat Pitch - Distance from the front of one seat to the front of the seat behind it.

Space Available - see Standby

Special Meal - Alternate meal which can be ordered in advance by the passenger. Can include Vegetarian, Kosher, Children's, Diabetic, Hindu, Muslim, Low-Salt or others.

Standby - Passenger who has a ticket, but not a confirmed reservation on a specific flight.

Tarmac - see Apron

Taxi - Aircraft moving across the tarmac under its own power.

TBM - see Ticket by Mail

Ticket by Mail (TBM) - Process by which the airline mails the ticket to the passenger instead of the passenger receiving it at a travel agency, CTO, or ATO.

Timetable - Flight schedule published by an airline.

Turboprop - Propeller-driven regional aircraft. Aircraft of this type include Saab 340, Beech 1900, ATR42, ATR72, and British Aerospace ATP.

UM - see Unaccompanied Minor

Unaccompanied Minor (UM) - Child under a certain age traveling without a parent or guardian. The age limit and restrictions vary by country and airline.

UTC - Universal Time Coordinated, also called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Widebody Jet - Large aircraft containing two parallel aisles. Generally used for intercontinental, transcontinental, or heavy traffic routes. Aircraft of this type include Boeing 777, 767, 747; Airbus A310,A330,A340; McDonnell-Douglas DC10, MD11; and Lockheed L1011.