ASATA column: Knowing Your Travel Jargon


Anything dependent on technology is usually engulfed in jargon, and the travel industry is no different. A recent conversation with a golfer reminded me of this.

He and three golf buddies took their wives on a trip to play some of the greatest courses in the world. They were apprehensive about making the long-haul part of the booking themselves and used an ASATA member for that area of expertise, but one of the wives was ‘very clever with the Internet’ and booked their domestic flights within the United Kingdom via a ‘very-low-cost-carrier’s website’, in order to save them money. All sounded good until he told his travel agent, who said that that may pose a problem, because it was not a ‘through fare’.

To avoid a similar incident, let me explain. Reservations are generated via a Global Distribution System (GDS) that keeps an inventory of all airline-related information. Once the routing is entered into the system it will respond with a recommended fare type and the associated rule. This was when the golfer and his technologically-skilled wife identified that they could source a much cheaper option by splitting the reservation into two routings, resulting in separate tickets. The second ticket was sourced on a low-cost carrier via the Internet. Unfortunately, the consequence of low-cost tickets is very restrictive rules around baggage and the cost of its excess. 

This group had disembarked from their Business Class status with a baggage allowance of more than 30kg and onto a low-cost seat with a baggage allowance of either one piece or 20kg. The cost of the excess of four sets of golf clubs and four sets of larger-than-life luggage was more than it would have been had they stuck with the ‘through fare’ quoted by the GDS.

The same will apply if a separate ticket is purchased outside of the through fare and then delayed. There is no record of your booking within the system that matches you to your onward journey and it places you at risk of missing your flights. If that were the case, you would not be reimbursed on the initial ticket and would pay a premium to be accommodated on another flight.

Just another good reason to take the sound advice of your ASATA travel intermediary.

Robyn Christie


Previous articleChanging the Way You Spend
Next articleLonrho Column