The Travel Factory Blog

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Do You Speak "Airline"?

Do You Speak Airline? Do You Speak Airline?

I'll occasionally tell folks, when they are talking about taking a cruise, if you didn't have to get there and get back, cruising would be wonderful. It's getting to the ports and returning that makes a lot of folks reluctant to take that great, relaxing vacation.

We just returned from a fantastic Canada/New England cruise experience on the beautiful Royal Princess....but getting to New York and back from Quebec required a good amount of intense attention, and a big dose of patience.

On the other hand....the airlines have become so necessary. Take for example this trip we were just on. Having to drive to New York to get on a ship, then drive from Quebec back to Abilene (when your car was in New York), you realize just how necessary they are. And over the years, the airlines have developed their own language....some of it we know, some of it we don't understand.

An enterprising writer named Ricky Radka wrote recently about some of the airline lingo that I thought was worthy of copying. One of the terms the airlines often use in describing a flight as a “direct flight”, and most folks think that it is a non-stop flight. No, the direct flight does not change it's number even thought they stop between two points. That's the reason most travel agents, when describing a flight, say it is a direct, non-stop, flight so the client will be well-informed.

Some folks come in and they want a flight from DFW to New York, but they are traveling with family down to Ft. Lauderdale and want to fly home from that Florida city rather than having to drive back to New York to fly home.. The airline lingo for that kind of arrangement is known as an “open jaw”. That can be accomplished, but it generally boils down to two one-way fared tickets.

“Well”, we say, “do you want to fly on the 'red eye'?” Most folks can decipher that meaning but for those who don't have a clue, that means do you want to fly at late at night and arrive at your destination early the next morning. Those type of flights originate out of the western part of the U. S., like Las Vegas at around 12-1AM and back in Dallas around 5AM.....and you arrive all “red eyed”!!!

In trying to answer a question about a flight for a client the other day, I asked her for her PNR number. What's that? PNR is the code airlines use to identify a passengers flight schedule; it stands for Personal Name Record. Typically it is a six character identifier made up of mostly alpha letters, however some airlines also mix in a number or two. When she gave me her PNR number, up popped up her flight number, time, and seat assignments. Bear in mind that the PNR number is personal to a particular airline. In other words, if the client was booked with American and she called Delta, Delta would not have her PNR number....just American and/or the travel agent who thankfully took care of her would have that number.

If someone said they were on a flight with an American Airlines flight number, but they were flying to Anchorage on Alaska Air. That means that those two airlines have a “codeshare” agreement. This practice is prevalent among the airline alliances who have agreed to share flight schedules beyond their normal network.

Let me encourage you to come on in for a visit at The Travel Factory and let us talk some “airline” with you....or better still “cruise”, “all-inclusive”, “tours” or any other exciting vacation option. Doors open at 4150 Southwest Drive every Monday through Friday from 8:30-5:30. Visit by phone at 698-1421 or scan our website at We exist to serve YOU!!!

The Last Frontier
Mexico's Top 3: Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel

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