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.