If there’s one part of business travel that you don’t want to feel confused about, it’s an upcoming flight.
Often when booking a flight, whether through a travel management company (TMC) or autonomously, you’re focusing on other things. There are so many aspects of business travel to consider: itinerary alignment, preparing for the meeting or conference that you’re attending and managing your workload before you leave. The last thing anyone needs is to be bamboozled during the booking process with niche acronyms like IATA, SOTO and LCC.
Well, now you can beat the bamboozle.
You may be new to the world of business travel and need a quick guide that covers the basics. Or perhaps you’re an industry insider looking for a refresher course. Whatever your background, the following cheat sheet will clue you up on everything you need to know about booking flights:
An airline contract is a deal negotiated between an organisation and an airline company. It stipulates a minimum number of ticket sales in exchange for cheaper, negotiated rates. Organisations that have a substantial air travel requirement can use this to their advantage with airline contracts. If you’re safe in the knowledge that you’ll book the minimum number of tickets required, you can make considerable savings.
However this type of arrangement can be a hindrance to travellers. It reduces flexibility when there are restrictions on routes for travellers.
Airline ticket reissue
An airline ticket reissue is an alteration to an airline journey that requires the issue of an entirely new ticket. This is usually because a traveller has changed travel date and therefore the flight number or price. The airline can also reissue tickets for changes to origin, destination or stopover.
If a traveller wishes to change dates, the relevant airline sets the rules for doing so. Airlines can also charge a fee to make an amendment – details can be found in the ticket conditions.
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
The IATA is a trade association that represents 260 of the world’s airlines. IATA advocates for the interests of airlines, sets industry standards and provides accreditation to travel agencies. All reputable TMCs will have an IATA license, which is a globally recognised seal of approval.
In travel management terms IATA is particularly noteworthy at the current time due to its creation of NDC, which is a programme designed to modernise and make the retail of air products more efficient.
Low Cost Carrier (LCC)
Low cost carriers are typically no-frills or budget airlines. The flight types that LCCs provide are generally short haul, and the majority of people book them online.
By limiting the services and products they provide as standard and charging for extras, LCCs provide a cheaper type of transport compared to typical airlines. Examples of these airlines include Ryanair, EasyJet and JetBlue.
Sold outside, ticketed outside (SOTO)
A SOTO is an airline ticket that has been bought and issued from a country that doesn’t feature in the travel itinerary.
For example, if a UK traveller buys their ticket in the UK but they’re travelling from New York to Los Angeles.
So, that covers the basics – however, there is of course more to know. If there are still travel management terms that leave your head in a spin (not that you’d ever let anyone know…) then you can download our comprehensive, complimentary travel management glossary. We break down all of travel management’s key terms. Just click here to download your copy.