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Mini Dictionary of Travel Terms

  • Adult

    Passenger who is 12 years of age or older at any time during the trip.  

  • Airline Companies

    There are 2 kinds of airlines: regular and non-regular. The first kind continuously moves passengers or freight, whereas the non-regular companies operate for particular private charters or business aviation.

  • Baby/Infant

    For air travel, passenger is under two years of age on date of return.

  • Boarding

    Once you have checked in with the airline, you must make your way to the boarding gate. The gate number is on your boarding card given to you at check in.

  • Boarding Pass

    A document specifying your departure gate number, boarding time and seat number on the airplane. You will receive your boarding pass from an agent at the airport check-in counter, or electronically at a designated machine.

  • Bridge/Deck

    A floor of the ship

  • Buy Back Car Lease

    A form of car leasing practiced in Europe under a tax free program for tourist cars. The customer pays for the use of the car over a minimum of 17 days, up to a maximum of 170 days, regardless of mileage. The sales contract with buy-back agreement must be signed in the country of origin.

  • Cabin Baggage

    Baggage that you can bring on board.

  • Captain

    The commander in chief, holding authority over all passengers on board the vessel, and authorized by law to disembark any passenger or cargo deemed threatening to the safety and well-being of the flight or other passengers.

  • Charter

    Airplane reserved by one or more tour operators for a pre-determined length of time, without a flight schedule established well in advance. Charter tickets can only be purchased through a travel agent, and are generally subject to more restrictive conditions than on regular flights, such as no reductions for infants, fixed dates that cannot be changed, etc. Contrary to popular belief, charter rates are not always cheaper than regular flights, particularly in high season.

  • Check-in

    An operation that consists of presenting your ticket and one piece of photo identification at the airline counter, getting a seat assigned if you don't already have one, as well as depositing your luggage.

  • Child

    For air travel, a passenger between the ages of 2 and 12. (I.e., has reached 2nd birthday, but has not yet reached 12th birthday.)

  • Class

    There can be 3 distinct classes in an airplane:

    • First class
    • Business (or "executive") class
    • Economy class

    Some airlines or flights only have one class, particularly on smaller planes. Each class corresponds to specific services and prices.

  • Commission

    Wholesalers create their products which are then sold by travel agents. For each sale, the wholesaler gives commission to the travel agency.

  • Connecting Flight

    A flight requiring a change of airplanes during your trip.

  • Direct Flight

    Flight between 2 predetermined points with or without a stop-over, and not requiring a change of airplanes.

  • Duty Free Shop

    Store in a state-designated zone where purchases can be made without paying tax.

  • FAM Tour

    Term used in the industry for tours offered by tour operators to travel agency professionals so they may experience (free or at little cost) a new tour or product. The purpose of a FAM Tour is to better inform travel agents so that they may propose new tours/products to customers.

  • Flight with Stop-Over

    The aircraft stops to let passengers off, to pick up others or to refuel.

  • Group Tour

    Consists of a group of people who don't know each other initially but who have chosen to follow the same itinerary with a guide.

  • Guaranteed Departure

    Generally ensures that your tour or your stay is guaranteed, regardless of the number of participants. Customers from different agencies are often grouped together.

  • I.A.T.A.

    International Air Transport Association, an organization which regulates almost all air transport companies in the world.

  • Individual Tour

    Made for those who wish to travel alone, with an itinerary reserved in advance in terms of transportation, visits, tours, etc.

  • Inside Cabin

    Cabin on the inside of a cruise ship, without windows or portholes.

  • Low Cost

    Company offering competitive rates by using secondary airports near large cities. Low cost companies have minimal services (food, drink, etc.) that are payable on board.

  • Meal Plan

    FCTC or AI : All inclusive

    PE or EP : European plan: without meals

    PO or BP : Breakfast

    MAP : 2 meals a day

  • No-Show

    A passenger who did not show up at the boarding gate. Without insurance (and sometimes even with it), cancellation fees can amount to the full price of the ticket.

  • Open Ticket

    Ticket includes departure date but does not specify return date, allowing passenger the freedom to arrange a date of return within ticket validity.

  • Option

    Reservation held for a certain period of time, between 24 hours and 1 week, with no obligation for the agency or the customer.

  • Outside Cabin

    Cabin facing the outside of a cruise ship, with a window or porthole.

  • Overbooking

    The sale of more seats than the number available in the airplane. Overbooking is a practice used by many airline companies, and in this event passengers may be placed on another flight. To reduce the risk of overbooking, it is best to arrive early. Passengers who are bumped receive compensation.

  • Package

    A group of products sold to a customer by a travel agency, which may include transportation as well as lodging, food, car rentals, tours, etc.

  • Pax

    A term used by professionals in the tourist industry to refer to a passenger or customer.

  • Plane Ticket

    A plane ticket is a paper or electronic document owned by a traveller which allows that person to board an airplane.  The ticket is a contract between the passenger and the airline company, even if it was purchased through a travel agency.

  • Port

    Left side of the ship

  • R.O.H. / Run of the house

    Hotel rooms reserved by the wholesaler are not set aside in particular sections by the establishment. Customers are assigned rooms according to availability at the time, in any section of the hotel. This applies to cruise ship cabins as well.

  • Registered Baggage

    Baggage transported under the responsibility of the tour operator.

  • Sales Conditions

    These vary according to airlines and tour operators. It is important to read the conditions regarding cancellation and modification of the ticket, as well as insurance information.

  • Space

    Allotment is the number of seats and/or rooms attributed under contract by an airline and/or hotel to a tour operator. Depending on the case, it can represent anything from a few seats and/or rooms to several hundred or several thousand for large agencies. In the latter cases the tour operator obviously benefits from better rates.

  • Starboard

    Right side of a ship

  • Stop-over

    A planned stop on the way to your destination, possibly of up to 24 hours. If there is a stop-over it will be indicated on your plane ticket.

  • Tour

    Trip taking place in several steps using one or many means of transportation in order to visit a wide variety of tourist sites.

  • Transit

    The period or zone reserved for passengers on stop over. In certain cases passengers may change aircrafts.

  • Voucher

    A note or coupon for services to be rendered, particularly used for hotels, restaurants or car rentals.

  • Warsaw Convention

    The Warsaw Convention concerns the responsibilities of the airline company in case of personal or material damage during transport. You will find this information on your plane ticket. The airline's responsibility can only be annulled with proof that it has taken all necessary measures to avoid damage or that it was not possible to do so. Since the Law of 1992, one may take action directly against the travel agency that sold the ticket.

  • Wholesaler

    Company acting as intermediary between tour operators (E.g.: hotel, airline) and retail travel agents, generally offering information and reservation services to the latter.