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Travel Industry Terms Explained

Have you ever been in a situation where you heard people spoken a strange new yet familiar terminology while travelling?

Like every other industry; the travel industry is also full of slang and phrases (we use it too). We hope you will find this travel glossary beneficial, especially when you come across a term

which you are not familiar with.

The Phonetic Alphabet

Credit : Flight Centre

Adopted by NATO, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the IMO (International Maritime Organization), among others, the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet (or Phonetic Alphabet, as it’s commonly called) is a series of 26 code words assigned to each letter of the English alphabet to ensure that critical combinations of letters and numbers can be pronounced and understood by those who exchange voice messages by radio or telephone, regardless of the language barrier or the quality of the communication channel.

When spelling out the names of travellers for airlines, the Phonetic Alphabet is used by travel agents to avoid spelling mistakes.

A la carte

This terms are among the common one. It is used to referring 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 ‘PNR’, or Passenger Name Record, is basically a term meaning ‘reservation’. Airlines will often ask agents for a ‘PNR locator’, also known as their reservation, booking or confirmation number.


Essentially, pax means people/persons/occupants. It's short for Passengers and Passes. In which context, Passengers is short for Paying Passengers.

Originally pax was always travellers (live human bodies that need to be transported) it's often now more generally applied to any "customers, people, bodies" occupying space (usually, seats or beds), who must be entertained, accommodated, fed, etc.

Direct Flight

A direct flight is a flight from Point A to Point B that does not require a change of planes. The flight may touch-down to drop-off and/or pick-up passengers and can even de-plane everyone while refuelling en route to its destination but will still be considered a direct flight if no plane change occurs.

Non-Stop Flight

This is the one you want! A flight from Point A to Point B without ANY stops whatsoever.

Connecting Flight

A journey from Point A to Point B that requires a change of planes en route and connecting time between flights is less than 24 hours.


A stay of more than 24 hours in a city en route to or returning from your destination (your destination is considered the furthest point on your trip from your point of origin).

Credit : Flight Centre

Open-Jaw Ticket

An open-jaw ticket at origin means starting your trip in one city and returning to a different from where you started. For example, flying from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur and returning from Langkawi to Kuching.


IATA codes are three-letter codes used by a non-governmental trade organization to efficiently identify airports, airlines, and flight paths for consumers. In simpler words, airports code.

There are 66 Airports in Malaysia and each one of them have their own code.

Example : Kuala Lumpur International Airport - KUL, Kota Kinabalu International Airport - BKI. See the full list here.


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

All Inclusive

Package or deals that are sold for one price that includes charges and fees that are often added separately.

Guide or guide service

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

Guided tour

A local sightseeing trip conducted by a guide.

Half-board / Full board

Half board are referred to the meal provided. It includes breakfast and dinner. In some hotels, dinner can be replaced by lunch. While full board will cover breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Meal drinks are not included unless otherwise stated in the hotel description.

High season / Peak 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, school holiday period is a high season for travelling in Malaysia.

In some (or most) islands, they will have a different rate and normally slightly expensive.


A list of a tour’s or entire trip’s schedule and major travel elements.

Twin, Triple or Quad Sharing

Normally used to describe room suitability or arrangement.

Twin share or double : 2 people sharing one room. 
Triple Share : 3 people sharing one room with one person being accommodated on a single bed or cot or whatever available as per tour. 
Quad share : 4 people sharing one room/tent/cottage.

Round trip

A flight to a single destination and a return.

Example : From Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur or normally written as KUL - LGK - KUL.


The estimated time of the transport’s arrival. As opposed to the ATA (Actual Time of Arrival), the ETA is the time that the flight or transport arrives.


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

And there you have it. The slang of travel industry that we normally came across or we ourselves use in our promo.

Now you can surprise your friends by using the international language of travel.

Happy travels!



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