If there’s one thing that you don’t want to feel confused about, it’s an upcoming flight.
Often when booking a flight, whether that’s using a travel management company (TMC) or booking it yourself, you’re focusing on other things; itinerary alignment, preparing for the meeting or conference that you’re attending when you arrive in your destination or managing your workload before you leave for the trip – 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.
Whether you’re new to the world of business travel and need a quick guide that covers the basics or you’re an industry insider looking for a refresher course, the following definitions and useful information will clue you up on everything that you need to know about the process of booking a flight:
An airline contract is a deal negotiated between an organisation and an airline company on a guaranteed volume of tickets in exchange for cheaper, negotiated rates. Organisations that have a substantial air travel requirement can use this frequency of travel to their advantage with airline contracts, safe in the knowledge that they will hit the required volume.
However this type of arrangement can be a hindrance to travellers, as it reduces flexibility when travellers are restricted to travelling on the routes provided by the selected airline alone.
Airline ticket reissue
This is an alteration to an airline journey that requires the issue of an entirely new ticket, usually because a traveller has changed travel date and therefore the flight number or price. Tickets can also be reissued for changes to origin, destination or stopovers.
The rules for which tickets need to be reissued should a traveller want to change travel dates are set by the relevant airline. 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)
These are typically described as cheaper, no-frills/budget airlines. The flight types that LCCs provide are generally short haul with the majority of the bookings being made 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 ticket (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, those are the basics covered – 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, which breaks down all of travel management’s key terms. Just click here to download your copy.