Decoding A Plane Ticket

Your professional and consumer lifestyle guideThose letters and numbers really do mean something

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If you’re like most people, reading a plane ticket is about as easy as reading hieroglyphics. You may check that the destination and flight times are correct and leave it at that, or depend on the travel agent’s attached itinerary as confirmation. But with the travel industry constantly developing new codes and symbols to conduct their day-to-day business, it’s important to know what this travel-speak means. Here are some basic ones that you should recognize.

Carrier/Flight symbols are two letters that indicate your carrier’s code (note: your carrier will also have a numerical carrier ID that appears at the top of your ticket). To the right of your carrier code is your flight number.

Class of service indicates what class you’re flying. Although different carriers use different letters as class codes, the Y designator for coach and the F for first class is fairly standard.
Flight Status indicates that a seat has been reserved for your travel date and time. Look for the symbol HK (holding confirmed), which will appear on your ticket and itinerary to indicate that a seat has been held for you.

Stock Control/Document Numbers are used by your travel agent and the airline to keep track of ticket stock and seat inventory. Knowing these numbers will provide your carrier and agent with a way of tracking your record if you lose your ticket and reissuing your documents for a small fee.

Passenger Facility Charges (or landing fees) are fees levied by the airport to maintain their facilities and are only charged at the point of departure and return. Currently, domestic PFC charges are $3.00; for international PFC charges, consult your travel agent.

Form of Payment indicates how you paid for your flight. CA stands for cash, CK for check. If you pay by credit card be aware that your credit card code and complete card number will appear in this area, so you’ll want to be careful with how you handle your ticket.

Fare Basis will tell you how you can adjust your travel plans. The Code NR, the most important you’ll encounter, stands for non-refundable documents. It means that you’ve agreed to occupy a seat for a given day and flight time. Changes usually require an additional fee.