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Glossary of Travel Terms Abbreviations and Terms

The travel industry is full of terminology. With our glossary we have attempted to explain in simple terms what some of these are and why they are important for global travellers...

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

AA:
UK Automobile Association
AACO:
Arab Air Carriers Organisation - Regional Association of the Arab Airlines who have their home base in countries who are members of the Arab League.
ABTA:
 
Association of British Travel Agents.
Add-on:
A selection, often at an increased price, added to a travel reservation.
AirBus:  
Aircraft designed to carry a large number of low fare passengers over short routes.
Airport Code:
A three digit code which is unique to a specific airport. e.g. LHR for Heathrow or EDI for Edinburgh.
ATC:
Air Traffic Control
Autobahn:
High speed equivalent to the US interstate highway system, in Germany and a few other European countries including Austria and Switzerland.

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B

B & B:
Bed and Breakfast
BAA:

British Airports Authority. Now owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd, a Spanish organisation.
BALPA:
British Air Line Pilots Association - The second largest flight crew association within IFALPA (International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations).
Barometer:
A barometer is an instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure.
Base fare:
The cost of an airfare before to addition of fees, taxes or other surcharges.
Biplane:
Early type of aeroplane with two sets of wings, one mounted above the other one. Modern biplanes are used in specialist areas such as aerobatics and agricultural spraying. 
Black Box:
Also known as the Cockpit Recorder or the Flight Data Recorder. Records all the data transmissions such as altitude, air speed, etc., and voice and sound transmissions.
Blackout Dates:
Specific dates on which special fares or promotions do not apply. These typically include holidays and/or special events.

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C

CAA:
Civil Aviation Authority (UK).
Cabin Crew:
The crew members of an aircraft responsible for the welfare of passengers, luggage and cargo.
Cabotage:
Commonly used as part of the term "cabotage rights," the right of a company from one country to trade in another country. In aviation terms, it is the right to operate within the domestic borders of another country.
Capsule Hotel:

A Japanese lodging featuring small, box-like sleeping spaces. They are referred to as kapuseru hoteru in Japan.
Channel Tunnel:
Railway tunnel running between Folkestone (England) and Calais (France.
Concorde:
 
The only supersonic airliner to have entered operational service. Concorde has now been withdrawn from active service.
Consolidator:
A travel business that has contracts with airlines to sell tickets in bulk, generally at a discounted rate.
Corporate agency:
A travel agency that normally caters for medium to large sized businesses.
 
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D

Date Line:
An imaginary north south line through the Pacific Ocean. The date changes when the line is crossed - east of the line is a day earlier than it is to the west.
Davey Jones' Locker:
Slang expression for the Bottom of the Sea and a resting place for drowned sailors. 
Dew Line:
DISTANT EARLY WARNING LINE. A system and network of radar stations in the far northern Arctic region of Canada, with additional stations along the North Coast and Aleutian Islands of Alaska.
DFW Airport:
Dallas: Fort Worth Airport - the world's third busiest airport.
Dirigible:
A ballon or airship which is capable of being guided.
Domestic fare:
An additional fare added to national flights.
Duty Free Shop:
Retail outlets that do not apply local or national taxes and duties. They are often found in the international zone of airports, sea ports or onboard passenger ships.

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E-ticket:
A paperless ticket that allows travellers to fly with only a photo ID e.g. passport.
Eastern Standard Time:
Standard time in a zone including most of eastern Canada and the USA.
Ecotourism:
Ecological Tourism that exposes visitors to local culture, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth, and learning new ways to live on the Earth.
Equator:
An imaginary line on the Earth's surface equidistant from the North Pole and South Pole. It effectively splits the Earth into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere.
Excess Baggage:
Luggage that exceeds an airline's weight allowance and is liable to an extra charge.
ETA:
Estimated time of arrival.
ETF:
Egyptian Tourism Federation - assists the government and other non-governmental organizations in tourism planning.

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F

FAA:
Federal Aviation Administration formed in 1958 via the Federal Aviation Act, with the vision to improve the safety and efficiency of aviation, while being responsive to customers and accountable to the public.
Fare basis (code):
The code or codes on which the price of an airline ticket is based.
FCCA:
Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, who work with governments, ports and all private/public sector representatives to enhance the destination experience for cruise guests and companies.
Fjord:

a narrow inlet or sea lock linked to the ocean, usually bounded by cliffs, and with spectacular scenery. Most are located in Alaska, Norway, and New Zealand.
Flight bag:
 
Small, usually zipped, bag carried by air travellers - easily stowed under seats or in overhead lockers.
Flying Boat:
A seaplane with a fuselage that looks like a boat and allows the aircraft to take-off and land on water.
Frequent Flyer Program:
A program offered by many airlines to reward customer loyalty with frequent flyer miles which can be redeemed for free air travel and other products or services.

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G

Gap Year:
A year taken off by young people and students between years of education study or between graduating and starting work.
Gateway City:
A city with an airport, bus or ferry terminal, and/or railway station, usually international hubs, that serves as both an arrival and departure point.
Gatwick:
An international airport in south east England, south of London.
Globe-Trotter:
 
Person who travels widely - normally a frequent flyer.
GMT:
Greenwich Mean Time is used as a base to establish all other world time zones. Most time zones are based upon this reference as a number of hours and half-hours "ahead of GMT" or "behind GMT".
Guaranteed Reservation:
A lodging reservation held for passenger's late arrival, usually secured by a credit card obligation to pay even if the passenger never arrives at the lodging.
Gwailo:
A Chinese word for a foreigner, specifically a European.

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H

Hacienda:
A Spanish word for a country house or estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities. 
HAI
Helicopter Association International which provides its membership with services that directly benefit their operations and advances safety measures for the civil helicopter industry.
Hang-glider:

A form of glider made up of a frame with a fabric aerofoil stretched over it.
Heli-skiing:
 
Mountain skiing where a helicopter is used as transport.
Helipad:
A landing pad, often circular, for helicopters to take off and land.
Hydrofoil:
A boat with wing-like foils mounted on struts below the hull. The foils raise the hull out of the water allowing the boat to travel at high speeds.
Hub:
A city in which an airline has a major presence. Typically, it is the city in which the airline was founded.

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I

IACC:
The International Association of Conference Centers.
IACVB:
International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. An organisation that promotes professional practices in the solicitation and servicing of meetings and conventions. 
IATA:
 
International Air Transport Association.
IATAN:
International Airlines Travel Agent Network - Administers the IATAN card, a widely accepted form of legitimate travel agent identification.
Intercity:
Travelling between cities. Often refers to rail travel.
International Civil Aviation Organization:
An agency of the United Nations which deals with problems of international civil aviation and sets standards and regulations.
Isthmus:
A narrow piece of land, with water on each side, connecting two larger landmasses. A popular location for some famous canals such as Panama and Corinth.

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J

JATA:
Japan Association of Travel Agents.
Jeepney:
Originally converted from US army jeeps left over from World War 2, they are a popular means of public transportation in the Philippines.
Jet Set:
 
Wealthy people who travel by air frequently.
Joystick:
The control column of an aircraft.
Jumbo Jet:
A common name for any large wide-body jet aircraft. Famous examples include the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380. 
Jump-Jet:
A jet aircraft that can take off and land vertically.
Jump Seat:
An extra seat for non-flight crew such as cabin staff or a trainee.

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K

Kayak. Light boat powered by paddles. Originally used by native Ainu, Aleut and Eskimo hunters in sub-Arctic regions including Greenland, Asia and North America. 
KATO:

Kenya Association of Tour Operators.
Keflavik (KEF):
The international airport of Iceland.
Kerosene:
 
Fuel oil which is developed for jet engines.
Keycard:
Typical card entry system on many hotel rooms. However, many keycards don't have the room number printed on them.
KLM:
Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij - Royal Aviation Enterprise or Royal Dutch Airlines.
Knot:
A nautical mile per hour equalling approx. 1.5 mph. A ship travelling at 15 knots is travelling at about 22 mph. 


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L

LAC:
Leading Aircraftman.
Lagoon:
A body of water protected by a reef and or any small, relatively calm body of water connected to a larger body of water.
Latitude: These are imaginary horizontal lines of angular distance, measured in degrees north or south of the equator. There are 5 important lines namely – The Equator, Arctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, and Antarctic Circle.
Layover:
The period of time spent between connecting flights.
LCC:
Low Cost Carrier or low-cost airline (also known as a no-frills or discount carrier airline).
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519):  
Italian painter, scientist and design engineer. Produced early designs for the helicopter.
Long Haul:
The transport of passengers or goods over a long distance- usually intercontinental.

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M

MAGLEV:
MAGNETIC LEVITATION TRANSPORT. Form of rapid transportation that guides and propels craft, mainly trains, using electromagnetic force.
MAIB:

Marine Accident Investigation Board (UK).
Maximum Stay:
The longest period of time a traveller can stay at a particular destination, and still qualify for the promotion or discounted fare.
MAYDAY.
A radio signal word used to denote a distress call. It derives from the French venez m'aider, meaning 'come to my aid'/"come [to] help me."
MDT:
 
Mountain Daylight Time.
Monoplane:  
An aeroplane with one set of wings.
MST:
Mountain Standard Time

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N

NABTA:
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of BUSINESS TRAVEL AGENTS. A select group of approximately 1500 agents trained and experienced to service the requirements of the upscale business traveler.
NASA:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NATCA:
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association represents over 20,000 air traffic controllers, engineers, and other safety related professionals.
Near Miss:

A narrowly avoided air collision.
 
NM:
 
Nautical mile.
No Show:
A traveller(s) that doesn’t appear for their flight, hotel, or car rental reservation.
NTSB:
The National Transportation Safety Board (USA).

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O

Open-Jaw Ticket:
An airline ticket in which the traveler returns from a city other than the one he or she arrived at, or in which the final destination is not the same as the original departure city.
Operator:
A company that provides any form of transportation service. Not just limited to flights, it also includes trains, buses, airport shuttles, ferries, and cruise ships.
Orient Express:
A famous luxury train that ran between Paris and Istanbul.
OTTI:
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. Part of the United States Department of Commerce which assesses the economic contribution of the travel industry to the overall US economy.
Overseas:
 
Connected with movement or transport across sea or seas.
Overshoot:  
fly or taxi too far along an airport runway when landing or taking off.
Ozone Layer:
Atmospheric layer which absorbs UV radiation preventing it from reaching the ground.

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P

Part 121:
The section of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulations that covers certification and operations of aircraft with 30 or more seats.
Per Diem:
Per Day or For Each Day. It usually refers to the daily rate of any kind of payment.
PDT:  
Pacific Daylight Time.
Point-to-Point:
Refers to a one way fare between two cities.
Port
A facility for receiving passenger and freight ships. Also a nautical term for the left side of a vessel.
Prop:
An aircraft propeller.
PTA:
Passenger Transport Authority.

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Q

Qatar Airways:
National airline of the Middle East Gulf State of Qatar.
Quad Bike:  ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) used in a general sense to describe any of a number of small open engined buggies and tricycles designed specifically for off-road use.
Quantas:  
Australian international airline.
Quay:
An artificial landing place for loading and unloading ships of cargo and passengers.
Queen Room:
A hotel room with a queen size bed.
Quid:
A pound sterling (£), in British slang, possibly derived from the Royal mint at Quidhampton, Wiltshire, England.
Quote:
The price approximation that a travel agency can provide to a prospective customer. Quotes can vary depending on the size of the travel group.

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R

RAA:
REGIONAL AIRLINE ASSOCIATION - Founded in 1975, Washington, DC-based RAA provides a wide array of technical, government relations and public relations services for regional airlines.
Rack Rate:
The price a hotel charges for a room before any discounts and reductions have been taken into account.
RAF:

Royal Air Force (UK)
Railcar:

Railway vehicle made up of a single powered coach.
Red-Eye Flight:
A flight in which the travel takes place between the hours of 9pm and 7am!
Registry:
The formal registration of a ship's ownership, and the country it is registered in (such as Panama, Liberia, Norway, UK etc).
RFC:
Royal Flying Corps


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S

Sabre ®:
The world’s largest online travel reservation system.
Safari:
Originally a hunting trip the Safari has evolved into an adventure trip, often in Africa, using off-road 4x4 vehicles, and tent-like accommodations for the purpose of viewing and photographing wildlife.
SAR:

Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong is a SAR.
Saturday Night Stay:
In order to receive a specialty or discounted airfare, a Saturday stay over can be required.
Seaplane:
 
Aircraft designed to take off from and land on sea, loch and lake.
SIA:
Singapore Airlines
Spa:
A health resort area built around a mineral springs, hot springs, typically where one can find massage, hydrotherapy, exercise, steam baths, etc. The term is derived from the name of the town of Spa in Belgium.
Spinnaker:
Large triangular shaped sail used in larger yachts, often during races and regattas.


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T

TAANZ:
TRAVEL AGENTS ASSOCIATION of NEW ZEALAND. Organisation that works with its members to promote a Code of Ethics and Practice, and to stimulate, encourage and promote the desire to travel.
Tailplane:

Horizontal aerofoil at the tail of an aircraft.
TGV:
TGV (train à grande vitesse, French for "high-speed train") is France's high-speed rail service.
TIA:
TRAVEL INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION. Non-profit trade organization that represents and speaks for the common interests of the over $7 billion U.S. travel industry.
Ticket Stock:
Blank airline tickets.
Triplane:
An early type of aircraft with 3 sets of wings. Arguably the best-known triplane is the Fokker Dr.I, immortalised as the aircraft most closely identified with Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron".
TT: 
Tourist Trophy.

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U

UATP:
Universal Air Travel Plan is a low-cost payment option that airlines can offer to their corporate customers.
UFO:

Unidentified Flying Object
Undercarriage:
Wheeled landing structure lowered by an aircraft prior to landing.
Unrestricted Fare:
An airfare with no limitations, and is also usually refundable.
URL:
Universal resource locator or Website address. In popular usage and many technical documents, it is a synonym for Uniform Resource Identifier (URI).
USTOA:
The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is a professional association representing the tour operator industry.
UT: 
Universal Time 

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V

Vacation Land: 
Area or region providing attractions for holiday-makers.
Vaccination:
An inoculation given to produce immunity to a disease. 
Vapour Trail:
A stream of condensed water from a high altitude aircraft, which appears as white smoke in the sky.
Veldt:
The term Veld, or Veldt, refers primarily (but not exclusively) to the wide open rural spaces of Southern Africa.
VIA RAIL:
Rail Canada, the Canadian railway system. VIA Rail Canada operates 480 trains in eight Canadian provinces.
Voucher:
A redeemable bond which can be the equivalent value of the advertised tour price.
VTOL: 
Vertical take-off and landing.

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W

Waiver:
A written acknowledgement that a passenger has refused something.
WATA:
The World Association of Travel Agencies.
Whittle:
Sir Frank Whittle - Inventor of the first jet aircraft engine. He established a patent for his turbojet in 1930.
WHTI:
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a U.S. government ruling that all citizens of the U.S.A, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda require to show a passport or other secure identification in order to enter or re-enter the United States. 
WRAF:

Women's Royal Air Force (UK).
Wright Brothers: 
American aviation pioneers. Became the first aviators to design, manufacture and fly a fully powered aeroplane.
WTTC:
World Travel and Tourism Council - forum for business leaders in the Travel & Tourism industry.

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X

Xalapa:
Capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz. Famous for the Museo de Arqueología (Archaeology Museum).
XBAG:
Excess Baggage. Airline term used on websites and flight documentation.
Xebec:

A small three mast vessel used in the Mediterranean sea. In present times scale models of xebecs are highly valued.
Xian:
Chinese city famous for the 'Terracotta Army' - 10,000 life size soldiers and horses made from pottery.
Xmas: 
One of the busiest periods of the year for global travel.
XSEC:
EXTRA SECTION. A second aircraft used on a given flight schedule to accommodate additional passengers, usually during peak travel periods such as holidays.
Xylophone:
A musical instrument played by striking a row of wooden bars of graduated length with one or more small wooden or plastic beaters. The earliest evidence of a true xylophone comes from the 9th century in southeast Asia.

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Y

Y-UP fare:
In the airline industry, a fare that offers an immediate upgrade to first or business class, often at a substantial discount from these higher class fares.
Yacht: 
Light sailing vessel - used for cruising or competitions. 
Yawl: 
A small leisure or fishing boat.
Yield Management:
System used by accommodation and airlines for decades, where prices are increased or decreased based on customer demand - e.g. Setting higher prices for busy Saturday and Sundays compared to less busy week days.
YHA:
Youth Hostels Association
Yogwan:
A traditional Korean inn. The term 'yogwan' originally means 'public bath'.
Yurt:
A dome-shaped Mongolian dwelling. Any construction patterned on such a dwelling.

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Z

Z Fare 
A heavily discounted, and restricted, business class ticket.
Zeppelin:
 
Large airships used for warfare then passenger transport up to the 1930s.
Zermatt:
Famous Alpine ski and climbing resort located near the Matterhorn in Switzerland.
Zero Entry Pool:
A swimming pool with a section that slopes from water level downwards.
Zip Code:
US system of 5 digit postal codes. These codes can be keyed into search engines to find USA locations.
Zip Line:
An aerial runway consisting of a pulley on a steel cable allowing users to cross terrain quickly. They are popular in adventure camps and are often part of a wide challenge course.
Zombie Hotel:
A hotel that cannot meet its mortgage payments but remains open  some to allows some income to be made. 
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