Chapter 19 International airfares, taxes, schedules, and ticketing.
At the conclusion of this chapter, you should be able to
* define and identify IATA trip classifications.
* explain the mechanics of and the reason for split ticketing.
* define the terms associated with international airfares.
* understand booking classes and fare basis codes.
* understand the taxes and other fees associated with international air travel.
* understand the differences between domestic and international ticketing.
airline rate desk
Advance Purchase Excursion (APEX) fares
Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Fee
bank buying rate (BBR)
combined tax item
higher intermediate point (HIP)
IATA trip classifications
logical geographical order
maximum permitted miles (MPM)
neutral unit of construction (NUC)
Sold Inside, Ticketed/e-tkted Inside (SITI)
Sold Inside, Ticketed/e-tkted Outside (SITO)
Sold Outside, Ticketed/e-tkted Inside (SOTI)
Sold Outside, Ticketed/e-tkted Outside (SOTO)
U.S. Arrival Tax
U.S. Customs Fee
U.S. Immigration Fee
Many travel counselors find that basic international fares are less complicated and are fewer in number than domestic airfares. This may be due to the fact that domestically, airlines can set fares at any amount and change them as often as they wish. Internationally, the airlines work together with governments and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to establish fares. Therefore, international fares are more likely to remain the same, at least for a while.
IATA TRIP CLASSIFICATIONS
One of IATA's requirements for every international trip is that it must be classified, based on where travel is purchased and issued in relationship to where travel begins. Letters indicating this information identify each classification.
Sold Inside, Ticketed/e-tkted Inside (SITI) the country where travel originates is by far the most common type of trip. For example, your Boston agency collects money for and issues a ticket/e-tkt from Boston to Athens. As you can see, travel originates in the United States and the ticket/e-tkt is being sold and issued within the same country, hence the IATA classification of SITI.
Sold Outside, Ticketed/e-tkted Outside (SOTO) the country where travel originates is the second most common type of trip classification. For example, your Boston agency collects money for and issues a ticket/e-tkt from Athens to Boston. Now, the classification is based on the fact that travel originates in Greece. As you can see, travel is sold and the ticket/e-tkt is issued outside of Greece, hence the SOTO classification.
Important Industry Web Sites Airlines Around the World: http://www.kls2.com/airlines/ Currency Converter: http://www.oanda.com International Airlines Travel Agents Network: http://www.iatan.com International Air Transport Association: http://www.iata.org Mapblast: http://www.mapblast.com Time Zone Converter: http://www.worldtimeserver.com Weather Worldwide: http://www.intellicast.com Worldclock: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock World Tourism Offices: http://www.towd.com
The other two IATA classifications, Sold Outside, Ticketed/e-tkted Inside (SOTI) the country where travel originates and Sold Inside, Ticketed/e-tkted Outside (SITO) the country where travel originates are quite rare.
An example of a SOTI might be the following: Your client's son is stationed at a military base near Frankfurt, Germany, and your client wants to bring his son home for the holidays. Your client purchases a Prepaid Ticket Advice (PTA) at your agency in Atlanta. Your client's son has Delta Airlines issue the ticket in Frankfurt.
An example of a SITO might be: Your Boston travel agency collects money for a trip from Boston to Dublin. The client picks up the ticket at a branch agency in London.
SITIs, SOTOs, and Split Ticketing
The ticketing technique known as split ticketing is used on some itineraries in an attempt to save the client money on airfare. This technique can only be done with normal fares, never when excursion fares are used. Split ticketing involves issuing two tickets as follows:
Ticket 1: Origin to destination, priced in U.S. dollars (USD)
Ticket 2: Destination to origin, priced in foreign currency, converted to USD
For example, your agency is located in New York City and your client is traveling from JFK to Cairo, round-trip, on business. She does not qualify for excursion fares and must use normal fares. How might split ticketing be used to this client's advantage (see Figure 19-1)?
FIGURE 19-1 Sample split ticket calculations. New York to Cairo round-trip Priced in U.S. dollars (USD) $1,470 coach, each way x 2/$2,940 coach, round-trip Split Ticket Pricing Ticket #1: NYC-CAI, $1,470 + Ticket #2: CAI-NYC 3,656 Egyptian pounds (EGP) x .290909 exchange rate (BBR)/$1,064 USD (rounded to nearest dollar) = $2,534 coach, round-trip $406 savings by split ticketing
The exchange rate, officially called the bank buying rate (BBR), is found in the GDS as well as in many financial magazines and newspapers. For ticketing purposes, the BBR is set each Wednesday and is in effect until the following Wednesday. Each GDS has the capability of not only displaying the BBR but also converting any currency to any other currency within a fraction of a second.
You can see in Figure 19--1 that pricing the round-trip using normal fares in USD costs $2,940. However, by issuing two tickets, the client's total cost for the round trip is only $2,534: a savings of $406!
Now, consider the IATA trip classifications for each ticket. If one ticket is issued for the round-trip, the classification would be SITI. But, if split ticketing is used, there are two tickets and two classifications. Ticket 1 (JFK/CAI) is a SITI. Ticket 2 (CAI/JFK) is a SOTO.
As you might imagine, checking the viability of split ticketing takes a bit more time than simply looking at USD fares. In some cases, split ticketing may result in lower agency commission. However, never lose sight of the fact that doing the best possible job for the client should be the counselor's number one concern.
INTERNATIONAL FARE TERMS
At the beginning of their travel careers, most entry-level counselors do not handle complicated international fare calculations. Agency managers know that complex itineraries can be overwhelming to new counselors and, therefore, assign them to more experienced personnel. Even so, there are some new concepts you should become familiar with. Because a few of these terms are very complicated and difficult to understand, the explanations shown here are basic rather than comprehensive. With practice and a little patience, these terms will become clear to you.
A gateway city is the city or airport where an international flight begins or ends. As you might imagine, U.S. hub cities are also gateway cities in most cases. These include Boston, New York Kennedy, Washington Dulles, Miami, Dallas--Ft. Worth, Houston Bush Intercontinental, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago O'Hare. Keep in mind that just because an airport has the word "international" in its name does not mean it is a gateway city.
Most international airlines operate out of gateway cities only. As there are hundreds of nongateway cities, these airlines often work with local airlines with regard to fare. An airline that transports passengers from an interior city to the gateway city is called an air add-on. For example, Qantas may offer an add-on from Memphis to Los Angeles on American, Delta, and United. Sometimes the air add-on is less expensive than the applicable excursion fare between these cities; other times the excursion fare is best. The travel counselor must know to consider both possibilities.
Many international fares indicate the routing as maximum permitted miles (MPM). This type of routing means that connections, and possibly stopovers, can be made anywhere, provided that the combined air mileage does not exceed the MPM for the fare. MPM fares are generally more expensive than fares with more limited routings. The fare rule display in all GDSs identifies the MPM for the fare.
All international airfare rules include a global indicator. The global indicator identifies the general route the flight must take in order to use the fare. Common sense tells us that a traveler going from Los Angeles to Sydney would fly transpacific, not transatlantic and, fortunately, global indicators follow the same logic. Standard global indicators include EH = Eastern Hemisphere, MA = Mid Atlantic, AT = North Atlantic, NP = North Pacific, PA = Pacific, and WH = Western Hemisphere.
It is not uncommon for a business client to present the travel counselor with a list of international cities and the length of time he requires in each city, and ask the counselor to arrange an itinerary. The travel counselor must be mindful of logical geographical order when arranging the cities. Itineraries that contain backtracking waste the client's time and usually increase the overall fare.
The farthest destination from the origin is usually called the turnaround point. It is at the turnaround point that the itinerary changes general direction and moves toward home. When establishing logical geographical order, some destinations are usually included on the way to the turnaround point; others may be included on the homeward bound direction. If your client was departing from Pittsburgh and needed to visit Cairo, London, Athens, Stockholm, and Madrid, how would you arrange the cities? Where would the turnaround point be?
Internationally, excursion fares are often referred to as Advance Purchase Excursion (APEX) fares. In today's airfare structure almost all excursion fares have an advance purchase requirement, but when APEX fares were first created, this was not true. Typically, APEX fares have the same restrictions and limitations of any excursion fare: advance purchase, minimum-stay requirement, maximum-stay limitation, same airline must be maintained, and there are penalties for change or cancellation.
Some airlines offer a budget fare from gateway cities. The budget fare is unique to international travel and is often less expensive than standard excursion fares because it requires some flexibility on the part of the passenger. When using a budget fare, the passenger selects the week of travel. Approximately one to two weeks before the selected week, the airline selects the actual flight and day of travel. The same procedure takes place for the return trip as well. As you might imagine, most travelers cannot use the budget fare because they cannot be as flexible as the fare requires.
Another type of fare that is unique to international travel is a stand-by fare. With this type of fare, the travel counselor does not make a reservation but does issue a ticket for a specific airline, flight, and date. The booking class for stand-by fares is usually U and the status box on the ticket shows "SA," meaning, space available. Stand-by fares may be the least expensive type of international fare because they require total flexibility from the passenger. The traveler goes to the airport, checks in with the airline, and hopes to be confirmed. Not many clients are willing or able to use stand-by fares.
Some airlines offer youth fares for travelers between the ages of 12 and 26. Generally, flight reservations for youth fares cannot be made any farther in advance than 24 hours. A travel agency specializing in college student travel may use youth fares, budget fares, and stand-by fares because these travelers may not be particular about which day they depart. However, for most clients, youth fares are not an option.
Around-the-world fares are just as the name implies: The traveler circumnavigates the globe. This fare can result in substantial savings when multiple destinations exist in both hemispheres. Typically, around-the-world fares are offered by several major airlines with specific prices for first-class, business-class, or coach-class travel. Rules for an around-the-world fare usually require that travel maintain a continuous east or west direction, all reservations must be made in advance, and there are penalties for change or cancellation.
As an example, an airline's around-the-world fare prices and rules might include
* $7,000 first class, $5,500 business class, $3,200 coach class
* 29,000 maximum miles for the entire trip
* 15 maximum stopovers
* only specified airlines can be used
Around-the-world fares are especially beneficial for first- and business-class travelers. Two or three destinations can easily add up to the around-the-world fare. For coach-class passengers usually five or more destinations are required before the around-the-world fare proves advantageous. Obviously, this type of fare is something all travel counselors should consider when the client has multiple international destinations.
Internationally, a round-trip is the same as domestic. If normal fares are used, different airlines and routings may be used on the outbound and inbound. When excursion fares are used, the typical restrictions and limitations must be met and followed. As with domestic airfares, international excursions can usually be split and combined or an excursion fare can be split and combined with a normal fare. Excursion fares can never be sold on a one-way basis for half of the price.
FIGURE 19-2 Sample double open-jaw trip price comparison. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] One-Way Pricing IAD / CDG $1,293 FCO / PHL +$1,167 Total $2,460 Split and Combine Excursion Pricing IAD / CDG $976 / 2 = $488.00 FCO / PHL $1,099 / 2 = + $549.50 Total $1,037.50
Open-jaw and circle trips have the same definition internationally as they have domestically. As with roundtrips, the airline(s) and routing used do not matter when normal fares are used on open-jaw and circle trips. As always, when excursion fares are to be split and combined, all of the rules must be followed. Internationally, these two types of trips have a new restriction when excursion fares are used: The cities on either end of the surface segment in an open-jaw trip and both destinations in a circle trip must be within Europe, or if outside Europe, be within the same country.
Internationally, there is a new type of trip called a double open-jaw. It is easy to mistake this type of trip as two one-way trips (see Figure 19--2). Doing so, however, results in using normal fares without considering the use of excursion fares.
The GDS fare rule display for each city pair indicates if excursions can be split and combined on a double open-jaw trip. Figure 19--2 shows that using excursion fares is substantially less expensive than pricing the trip with normal fares. As with a single open-jaw, both cities on either end of the surface segments must be within Europe or, if outside Europe, be within the same country.
Most international first- and business-class fares allow free, unlimited stopovers provided that the MPM is not exceeded. Theoretically, this means that a client could fly from Chicago O'Hare to London Heathrow, spend a few days, then fly to Amsterdam and pay the ORD/AMS fare. However, sometimes the stopover city has a higher fare than the destination. When this is true, the stopover city is called higher intermediate point (HIP) (see Figure 19--3) and the higher fare must be charged.
In Figure 19--3, you can see that the one-way business class British Airways fare from Chicago O'Hare to Amsterdam is $2,943. Because the client is stopping over in London, that city pair's fare must be checked as well. The BA fare from ORD to LHR is $3,042. Therefore, LHR is a HIP and the higher fare must be charged for the ORD/ LHR/AMS itinerary.
[FIGURE 19-3 OMITTED]
Logic might suggest that travel from ORD to LHR should be less expensive
because, geographically, LHR is closer to ORD than AMS. Remember that the airline, each country's government, and IATA determine international fares jointly. Factors such as the cost of airport space, fuel, and flight catering are also considered. Just like fares between cities in the United States, the distance between international cities is not the sole determining factor for the fare.
When a HIP fare applies in one direction, the higher fare must be charged in both directions, regardless of the routing. This rule is called circle-trip minimum. In Figure 19--3, the client is charged $3,042 each way because of the LHR stopover on the outbound. Overall, she pays $198 more than the round-trip ORD/AMS fare. The $198 amount is called the backhaul.
When each international airfare is established, it is set in the currency of the country where the flight begins. It is also expressed in a generic amount, known as a neutral unit of construction (NUC). NUCs can be thought of as a world currency, not pertaining to any one country or currency. The purpose of NUCs is to simplify adding multiple currency fares together. All international airline tickets/e-tkts issued by computer show the NUC values in the fare ladder.
To obtain the NUC value, the airline multiplies the new fare by that country's rate of exchange (ROE), which is set by IATA. Each country's ROE is adjusted for inflation and other factors quarterly. The ROE for the United States is always 1.00; therefore, all fares expressed in USD have identical NUC values. For example, a fare rule from New York to Cairo might show
NYCCAI-MS FBC USD NUC PTC FT GI Y 575.00 575.00 ADT NL AT
Because other countries' ROEs fluctuate, the fare and NUC amounts may not be equal. For example, a fare rule from Cairo to New York might show
CAINYC-ML FBC EGP NUC PTC FT GI Y 4379.00 1273.09 ADT NL AT
Using NUCs instead of the actual fares may provide an advantage for travelers beginning their trip in the United States. For example, LAX to AKL, AKL to SYD, SYD to SIN, SIN to NRT, NRT to LAX. Because this itinerary begins in the United States, the travel counselor may use the NUC values for each city pair as the USD fare. This may prove to be less expensive than converting each foreign currency fare into USD and ticketing/e-tkting separately.
BOOKING CLASSES AND FARE BASIS CODES
International booking classes and fare basis codes are much like those used for domestic travel. In fact, the booking classes, also called primary codes, are the same. Figure 19--4 illustrates most of the booking classes used today.
As with domestic fare basis codes (FBCs), the FBC may be just one letter (the booking class), or it may contain other letters and numbers. Either way, the booking class dictates the inventory that must be sold in order to obtain the desired fare.
International airfares are more apt to be designated by season than domestic fares. Typically, there are two or three seasons, each indicated by a letter within the fare basis code: H = high season, L = low season, and K or O = shoulder (between high and low) season.
Each fare rule explains when and how seasonal fares are to be used. Sometimes, the traveler's outbound date determines the applicable season for the entire trip. Other times, each travel date identifies each season, resulting in a splitting and combining of fares. Keep in mind that high season for one destination is not necessarily the same for a different destination.
FIGURE 19-4 International booking classes. P or F = first class A = discounted first class J or C = business class D, I, or Z = discounted business class Y, S, or W = coach class B, H, K, L, M, N, Q, T, V, etc. = discounted coach class U = air shuttle, reservation not required E = air shuttle, reservation not allowed
As with domestic airfares, the day of the week on which the client travels can have a bearing on the applicable fare. Typically, travel on Monday through Thursday is less expensive than flights on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Applicable days of travel may not be indicated in the fare basis code. Fare basis code indicators for applicable days of the week include W = weekend and X = weekday.
International fare basis codes may also include numbers, just like domestic FBCs. Numbers in international fare basis codes usually indicate maximum length of stay, although sometimes the numbers indicate advance purchase. Maximum length of stay indicators include 30 = 30 days, 1M = 1 month, 45 = 45 days, 60 = 60 days. Numbers indicating advance purchase include 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 30.
Many international fare basis codes include the letters AP or AN, both of which indicate APEX. The term APEX is used interchangeably with the term excursion. As discussed earlier, APEX fares have basically the same limitations and restrictions of any excursion fare: same airline, advance purchase, minimum-stay requirement, maximum-stay limitation, and penalties for change or cancellation.
INTERNATIONAL TAXES AND FEES
When an airline quotes a fare or the travel counselor obtains a GDS fare display, all amounts are expressed as the base; taxes, PFCs, security fees, segment fees, fuel surcharges, and other international charges must be added.
For every flight that leaves or enters the United States, each passenger is charged a $5 security surcharge. So, for a round-trip, the security surcharge is $10 and appears in the fare ladder portion of a ticket/e-tkt with the code Q.
Every passenger departing the United States is charged a U.S. Departure Tax of $13.70 and all returning travelers are subject to a U.S. Arrival Tax of $13.70. These two taxes are shown in one of the tax boxes of a ticket/e-tkt with the code US.
Most passengers entering the United States from another country are subject to the U.S. Immigration Fee of $7, which appears in a ticket/e-tkt tax box with the code XY. Travelers returning to the United States from Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are exempt from paying the U.S. Immigration fee.
The U.S. Customs Fee is $5 and is shown with the code YC in one of the tax boxes of a ticket/e-tkt for most travelers returning to the United States. Passengers arriving in the United States from a U.S. territory, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean are exempt from paying the U.S. Customs Fee.
The $3.10 Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Fee, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, applies to travelers returning to the United States and appears in a ticket/e-tkt tax box with the code CA. Exempt passengers include those returning from Canada and Puerto Rico.
You may remember that there are only three tax boxes on automated tickets/e-tkts and four boxes on the manual version. So, how can all of these taxes and fees appear on tickets/e-tkts? The answer is that they are combined. On automated tickets, the U.S. Immigration and U.S. Customs fees should be shown separately and all other items are combined in the third tax box. On manual tickets, the APHIS Fee should also be shown separately and all other items are combined in the fourth tax box. The code for combined taxes and fees is XT.
Depending on the client's destination, other taxes may also be collected as part of the ticket/e-tkt. Figure 19--5 lists some of these other taxes and fees for popular destinations.
FIGURE 19--5 Examples of taxes applicable for travel to countries outside America. Australia Australian Head Tax (domestic), varies by city Goods & Services Tax (GST) (domestic), code UO, 10 percent Noise Levy Tax (Sydney arrivals), code QK, AUD 3.40 Passenger Movement Charge, code AAU, AUD 30 France Airport Tax, code FR, varies by city Aviation Civile Tax, code FR, to Europe FRF 23, beyond Europe FRF 39 Domestic Tax, code FR, FRF 23 Domestic Value Added Tax, code UI, 5.5 percent Passenger Service Charge, code QW or QX, varies by city Germany Domestic Arrival Tax, code RD or RA, varies by city Security Charge, code DE, varies by city Italy Embarkation Tax, code IT, varies by destination Security Charge, code VT, IRL 3,500 Japan Consumption Tax (domestic), code JP, 5 percent Passenger Facility Service Charge, code SW, varies by city United Kingdom Air Passenger Duty, code GB, to Europe GBP 10, beyond Europe GBP 20 Passenger Service Charge, code UB, varies by city Please note these amounts are approximate and are subject to change.
PFCs, segment fees, and domestic fuel surcharges are also part of the international air travel total costs. As always, clients departing a U.S. city that has a PFC or fuel surcharge are subject to the fee. Itineraries that include city pairs within the United States or buffer zone must include the applicable segment fees. The ARC Industry Agents' Handbook contains a thorough explanation of international taxes and fees. All GDSs include this information as well as complete lists of taxes and fees for each country.
AIRLINE RATE DESK
Many travel counselors calculate international fares on rare occasions. The GDSs have become so sophisticated that the computer automatically figures most rates. On complicated itineraries that the GDS cannot price, having an airline rate desk calculate the fare may be a practical alternative. Specialists who are trained in international fare calculation staff each international and major U.S. airline's rate desk.
When an airline rate desk calculates a rate, a rate desk number is given to the travel counselor. This number indicates the rate agent doing the calculation and the date the rate was figured. The rate desk number is the travel counselor's protection against errors. Should an airline dispute a ticket/e-tkt total from a rate desk price, providing the rate desk number puts the responsibility on the rate agent's shoulders.
Many travel agency managers suggest that the travel counselor calculate the rate before calling the airline rate desk. This step serves two purposes. First, it gives the travel counselor excellent practice at rate calculation. Second, the travel counselor may be able to catch an error made by the rate desk.
For example, the travel counselor calculates a rate of $2,500 and the rate desk arrives at a $2,875 figure. The travel counselor should ask the rate agent why the client would not qualify for the $2,500 fare. Perhaps the travel counselor miscalculated and the actual fare should be $2,875, or maybe the rate agent overlooked something that the travel counselor caught. Remember that human beings staff the airline rate desk, and all human beings are capable of errors.
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES
Most U.S. travel counselors obtain international flight schedules in their GDSs, just as they do for domestic city pairs. All nonautomated U.S. travel agencies and some agencies located outside of the United States rely on the OAG Flight Guide for obtaining schedules. Automated U.S. travel agencies may also subscribe to the OAG Flight Guide as a backup for the GDS. The OAG remains the foundation for the GDS flight availability displays.
? What Would You Do? A counselor in your office always calls the airline rate desk every time a client asks for an international airfare. The rate desk calculates the fare and the counselor then quotes the amount to the client. 1. Does calling the airline to obtain international airfares always result in the best price? 2. What are the disadvantages to this counselor who always uses the rate desk instead of calculating international airfares himself? 3. In what way(s) might the client's best interests not be served by relying exclusively on an airline rate desk?
OAG Flight Guide
The OAG Flight Guide is available in two versions: the North American edition, and the Worldwide edition. As you have already learned, the North American edition contains flight schedules between cities in North America. This includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean. The Worldwide edition contains flight schedules between cities in all parts of the world, including those found in the North American edition. Each travel agency, depending on its type of business, may subscribe to one or both of the OAG Flight Guides.
Although the bulk of the OAG Flight Guide-Worldwide Edition contains flight schedules, there is a considerable amount of additional information as well. You have already learned about the Flight Routings section and how you can find a flight's origin, en route stops, and termination points. Other OAG information includes
* airline members of IATA
* airlines of the world, including two-character code, three-digit numeric code, headquarters address, phone, fax, and Web site URL
* airlines arranged numerically by their three-digit code
* code share airlines
* aircraft listed alphabetically by name and by code
* city and airport codes arranged alphabetically by code
* airport terminal information
* minimum connection time information by airport and airline combination
OAG also publishes a supplement to the Worldwide edition that includes bank and public holidays, airport diagrams, aircraft seating charts, airline club information, and baggage allowance information. Most of this information is available in the GDS and because it is, many U.S. travel agencies no longer subscribe to the OAG. The Worldwide edition, like the North American edition, is available online in addition to the printed versions.
GDS Flight Availability
To display flight availability in the GDS, the travel counselor enters the travel date, departure city/airport, arrival city/airport, and perhaps a desired departure time. GDS flight availability displays for international city pairs look just the same as for domestic travel (see Figure 19--6).
By looking at Figure 19--6 you can see that the overall layout of the GDS flight availability display appears the same as it does for a domestic city pair. However, notice the time zone indicators in the header line. The display shows Denver as MT (Mountain Time) but no time zone is shown for London. The double asterisks (**), called display symbols in the GDS, are used to indicate international time and appear for all cities outside North America.
Also notice how next-day arrivals are shown. The pound sign (#) is called an End Item in some GDSs, while other GDSs call it a Cross of Lorraine. It is used to mean "plus." Take a look at UA flight number 958. This is a change of gauge flight, indicated by "CHG" in the equipment column and by the comment immediately below the flight listing.
The meal indicators on international flights are a bit misleading in the GDS because of the limited space. UA flight number 906 indicates that lunch is served, but, in fact, dinner and breakfast are also served. There is no way to know this from the display; but because of the length of the flight, common sense tells you that more than just lunch will be served.
REFERENCE SOURCES FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
One of the most frequently used reference sources for general international information is the OAG Business Travel Planner, commonly called Travel Planner. This publication is available in three editions: the North America edition (includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, islands of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America); the Europe, Africa, and Middle East edition; and the Asia Pacific edition. You learned about the North America edition in the chapters on domestic air travel, so this section concentrates on the other two editions.
The Europe, Africa and Middle East edition is arranged in three sections based on the three geographical regions contained in the edition. Each section is then arranged alphabetically by country. The Asia Pacific edition is organized simply by country. Within each country's listing in both editions, you find
* a country map
* entry documentation requirements
* consulate offices in Canada and the United States
* U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Foreign Service Offices
* travel basics that include information on climate, communications, currency, electric current, import allowances, language, time, banking hours, business hours, shopping hours, and tipping policies
* public holidays
* where to write or call for more information
Although some countries' listings contain only the most basic information, most major countries' listings continue with an alphabetical listing of cities. Each city's listing includes the nearest airport to the city and, possibly, alternate airports. Many cities also list the airlines that serve the city's airport, approximate transfer time and cost between the airport and city center, and basic hotel information. A city map, major attractions, convention and exhibition facilities, and airport car rental companies are included in listings for major cities.
The Internet has become an excellent source of information, and many travel counselors are using it to supplement printed reference sources. Most countries and major cities have Web sites, usually sponsored by the local visitor's bureau. Information from these sites is generally reliable and accurate. However, travel counselors should be cautious of information contained in "unofficial" Web sites. Remember, anyone can say anything on the Internet; there are no rules or regulations and there is no overseeing agency verifying truthfulness.
Travel counselors have found that using the visitor's bureau or tourist board's Web site has added value, both to the counselor and the client. Compiling a personalized fact sheet for the client from the Internet is much easier than retyping information from printed reference sources. Web site data that the travel counselor wants to include can simply be copied and pasted into any word processing program. Then, the travel counselor can easily add personal information, such as the client's name, travel date, agency and counselor's name, and so on. With some word processing skills, the travel counselor can format the document and add color text and graphics. The end result is a professional looking, personalized fact sheet.
Taking extra time with clients and providing them with added value, such as the fact sheet, may mean the difference between the client returning to the same counselor for future travel needs or finding another travel counselor. Remember, without excellent customer service, the agency loses clients, and without clients, the travel agency and its employees cannot survive.
Web Activity Amanda and Kevin Layton have purchased airline tickets from you for their trip to Europe in July. They are traveling throughout France, Spain, and Portugal by train, and you have arranged for Eurail passes for Mr. and Mrs. Layton. Your clients are spending four nights in each of these cities: Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Lisbon. You have explained the basics: money, language, electric current, and so on. Prepare a fact sheet for your clients focusing on what to see and do, city transportation, and popular hot spots.
In addition to the Travel Planner series and the Internet, there are many wonderful guidebooks available at most bookstores. These include Michelin, Baedeker, Insight, Mobil, and Rough Guides. Because of the limited geographical area covered by each book, most travel agencies may not have these guidebooks, or they may have only those for the destinations they sell the most. Like any other printed reference source, these guidebooks can become obsolete rather quickly. Fortunately, many of the guidebooks have a presence on the Internet.
BASIC INTERNATIONAL TICKETING
All rules for writing a ticket for travel within the United States apply to international tickets as well. There are, however, a few special requirements associated with international ticketing.
1. International tickets should be validated on the airline plate of the first major carrier providing international service. If the first flight on the itinerary is international, then that airline's plate is used for validation. If the first flight is from one U.S. city to another U.S. city and the second flight is international, the airline used on the second leg should be used for validation. The exception to this rule is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Because of KLM's agreement with Northwest Airlines, all tickets for KLM are validated on Northwest.
2. The letter X with a circle around it, [cross product], should be drawn in the airline validation box on a handwritten international ticket. The X is automatically printed on computer-generated tickets and it is not necessary to draw a circle around it. The X permits ARC to separate international sales from domestic for its monthly air sales statistical reports.
3. Fare ladders and validity dates for excursion fares must be used on all international tickets. If the passenger must make a change en route, this information assists the airline with the passenger's request.
4. The "allow" box on international tickets might have to be completed with the number of pieces or the weight of allowed baggage. Some small international airlines may limit free checked baggage to only one piece or to a very low weight. Baggage allowance information can be obtained in the CRS, by calling the airline, or by using the airline's Web site.
5. The IATA trip classifications of SITI, SITO, SOTI, or SOTO must appear on all international tickets next to the city codes in the "origin/destination" box.
6. Itineraries that begin outside of the United States may have to be priced in the currency of the country of origin. This amount appears in the "fare" box and includes the currency code. The "equiv. fare pd." box on the ticket indicates the U.S. dollar equivalent to the fare. If the fare has been priced in NUCs, this amount appears in the "fare" box and the ROE must appear at the end of the fare ladder.
7. There are almost always more tax and other fee items than can be accommodated in the four tax boxes on a manual ticket (three on an automated ticket). Therefore, the use of a combined tax item, coded with XT, is common. When tax and fee items are combined, they must be listed separately in the fare ladder.
? What Would You Do? Your clients are taking their first trip abroad and have come to you for advice. They are traveling to Damascus to visit relatives for three weeks in October. 1. Where do you obtain entry documentation requirements and where do you check for any State Department advisories? 2. What subjects do you research for your clients with regard to international travel differences? 3. Although your clients are staying with relatives while in Syria, they want to know about points of interest. Where do you look for this information?
There are many terms associated with international airfares, some of which are very complex. The typical travel counselor usually handles fairly routine international intineraries and seldom comes in contact with the more difficult terms. Travel counselors who specialize in business travel or focus only on international air travel use these terms almost daily.
It is easy to see why a fare obtained from a GDS display should not be quoted to the client. There are several taxes and other fees that must be added on first. Depending on the client's origin and destination cities, taxes and fees for other countries may also apply, increasing the airfare even more.
Understanding the way in which international airfares can be used to the client's benefit is an important part of a travel professional's job. Becoming comfortable with fare techniques requires practice and the knowledge of how to find up-to-the-minute data on fares, taxes, and other fees that might apply.
Although most U.S. and Canadian travel agencies obtain flight schedules from the GDS, many other agencies rely on the OAG Flight Guide or individual airline Web sites. The OAG Business Travel Planner online can answer many of your questions. As with all other printed reference sources, they can become outdated rather quickly so most travel professionals of today prefer online reference sites.
For additional Travel and Tourism resources, go to http://www.hospitality-tourism.delmar.com.
EXERCISE 19-1 IATA Trip Classifications and Split Ticketing
Directions: Identify each trip as a SITI, SITO, SOTI, or SOTO.
1. Your client purchases a ticket from your Portland agency for a flight from Portland to Kuala Lumpur and back to Portland.
2. At your Boston agency, you have collected payment and issued a ticket for a flight from Zurich to Oslo.
3. Your client purchases a PTA at your Detroit agency for a flight from Luxembourg to Detroit. The passenger will pick up the ticket at the airport in Frankfurt.
4. Your Charleston agency collected payment and issued a ticket for flights from Atlanta to London Heathrow, London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Paris Charles de Gaulle to Atlanta.
5. At your agency in San Antonio, you have issued a ticket and collected payment for a client who is traveling from San Antonio to Mexico City.
6. Your client has purchased a PTA at your Philadelphia office for a flight from Lima to Bogota. However, the passenger is in Cuzco and wants to have the ticket issued there.
EXERCISE 19--2 International Fare Terms
Directions: In your own words, define each of these terms.
1. air add-on
2. APEX fare
3. around-the-world fare
5. budget fare
6. circle-trip minimum
7. double open-jaw, when excursion fares are used
8. gateway city
9. global indicator
10. higher intermediate point
11. logical geographical order
12. maximum permitted miles
13. neutral unit of construction
14. open-jaw, when excursion fares are used
15. turnaround point
16. youth fare
EXERCISE 19-3 Booking Classes and Fare Basis Codes
1. What booking classes are used to indicate coach class?
2. What letter in an FBC usually indicates weekend travel?
3. Give some examples of FBC maximum validity periods.
4. What booking classes are used to indicate business class?
5. What letters indicate an APEX fare in FBCs?
6. What letters are used to indicate season in FBCs?
7. What booking classes indicate first class?
8. What letter is used to indicate weekday travel in FBCs?
9. Give some examples of FBC advance purchase indicators.
10. Booking classes are also known as
EXERCISE 19-4 International Taxes and Fees
1. Identify by name and code these amounts that are added to most international round-trip airfares.
2. In addition to the items listed in question 1, identify by name and code three other U.S. fees or charges that might apply. What is the cost of each of these items?
3. What code is used on tickets/e-tkts to indicate a combined tax or fee item?
EXERCISE 19-5 CRS Flight Availability
Answer the following questions based on the GDS display below.
Answer the following questions based on the GDS display below. 20NOV-TH-7P NYCBOM ET ** 1#DL 106 J9 D9 I9 Y9 B9 M9 H9 Q9 JFKBOM- 745P 2#NW 58 J9 C9 Y9 B9 M9 H9 Q9 V9 EWRBOM- 620P 3#AI 112 F2 J4 D4 W4 Y4 A4 Q4 K4 JFKBOM- 810P 4$AF 177 P4 F0 J4 C4 D4 N4 Y4 K4 JFKCDG- 750P AF 117 OPERATED BY CONTINENTAL 5$AF 134 P4 F4 J4 C4 D4 N4 Y4 K0 BOM- 1015A 6$SR 113 F0 J9 C9 D9 Y9 M9 L9 H9 EWRZRH- 845P 7$SR 192 F4 J9 C9 D9 Y9 M9 L9 H9 BOM- 1000A 8#BA 2172 F9 A9 J9 D9 Y9 B9 H9 K9 JFKLGW- 615P 9#BA 139 F9 A9 J9 D9 Y9 B9 H9 K9 LHRBOM- 945A 1#DL 1155P#1 763 DD 1 2#NW 1140P#1 D10 DD 1 3#AI 135A#2 744 DD 2 4$AF 850A 744 MM 0 AF 117 OPERATED BY CONTINENTAL 5$AF 1125P#1 343 MM 0 6$SR 1015A 330 0 7$SR 1120A#2 M11 LL 0 8#BA 605A 777 MM 0 9#BA 1159P#1 747 MM 0
1. How many nonstop flights from JFK to BOM are shown?
2. Which airline code and flight number represents the earliest direct departure from JFK to BOM?
3. Which airline codes and flight numbers represent the most convenient connection from JFK to BOM?
4. Which airline code and flight number represents the direct flight from EWR to BOM?
5. On which flights is first class not offered (identify by airline codes and flight numbers)?
6. If your client takes the Swissair connection and departs on Monday, on what day will she arrive in BOM?
7. Could your clients use K class on the Air France connection?
8. Which connection service is the least convenient and why do you think so (identify by airline codes and flight numbers)?
9. Which flight is a code share (identify by airline code and flight number)?
10. Which airline code and flight number represents the latest direct departure from JFK to BOM?
1. In detail, give a complete example of a transaction that is classified as a SITI.
2. In detail, give a complete example of a transaction that is classified as a SOTO.
3. In detail, explain the mechanics of split ticketing.
4. An international airline's supplemental fare on a different airline from an interior city to the gateway city is called
5. Another name for an international excursion fare is
6. The additional amount that applies when a HIP exists is called
7. The official name for the exchange rate that is used to convert one currency to another currency is called
8. A fare in which the client selects the week of travel and the airline selects the day and flight is called
9. Fly from SFO to NRT, fly from NRT to ITM, fly from ITM to SFO is an example of what type of trip? Could excursion fares be split and combined on this itinerary?
10. The rule that states that if a HIP fare applies in one direction, the HIP fare must be used in both directions is called
11. Fly from ATL to FRA, fly from LIS to MIA is an example of what type of trip? Could excursion fares be split and combined on this itinerary?
12. The city or airport from which an international flight begins or ends is called
13. The identifiers found in a fare rule display that indicate the general direction a flight schedule must take are called
14. A nearer stopover city that has a higher fare than the destination city is called
15. A generic currency that is used to add together fares of different currencies is called
16. Fly from IAH to BOG, fly from CCS to IAH is an example of what type of trip? Could excursion fares be split and combined on this itinerary?
17. The furthest destination from the origin and the city where the homeward-bound trip begins is called
18. "R" represents what type of booking class?
19. "Y," "S," and "W" represent what type of booking class?
20. "A" represents what type of booking class?
21. "D," "I," and "Z" represent what type of booking class?
22. "B," "K," and "Q" represent what type of booking class?
23. What is indicated by the fare basis code HHWAP60?
24. What is indicated by the fare basis code TKXAP1M?
25. What is indicated by the fare basis code VLAN45?
26. Your client is traveling to Kenya and Tanzania. Where would you learn about any taxes and fees that might apply to these countries?
27. Under what circumstances is the "equiv. fare pd." box used on an airline ticket?
28. What symbol indicates that the ticket is for an international itinerary?
29. How might the amount of free checked baggage be indicated on an international ticket?
30. In what ticket box is the IATA trip classification written?
31. How is the validating airline selected for international travel?
FIGURE 19-6 Sample GDS flight availability display. 15JUN-SA-3P DENLHR (DENLON) MT ** AC1 LHR ALTERNATE BQH LCY LGW LTN QQK QQP QQU SEN STN ZEP ZLX 1#UA 906 F5 C9 D1 Y0 B0 M0 H0 Q0 DENLHR- 2#AA 1376 F7 Y7 BR H4 K3 V1 M0 N0 DENORD- 3#AA 66 F7 J7 Y2 B0 H0 K0 V0 M0 LHR- 4#UA 288 F9 C9 D9 Y0 B0 M0 H0 Q0 DENIAD- 5#UA 924 F5 C9 D9 Y0 B0 M0 H0 Q0 LHR- 6#UA 256 F9 Y9 B9 M9 H9 Q9 V9 W9 DENORD- 7#UA 928 F1 C9 D9 Y5 B5 M3 H0 Q0 LHR- 8#UA 958 F5 C7 D7 Y0 B0 M0 H0 Q0 DENLHR- 1#UA 1220P 730A#1 777 LL 1 2#AA 222P 539P 7 M80 SS 0 3#AA 650P 825A#1 777 DD 0 4#UA 320P 837P 7 747 DD 0 5#UA 945P 950A#1 777 DD 0 6#UA 124P 444P 6 72S LL 0 7#UA 515P 655A#1 777 DD 0 8#UA 225P 910A#1 CHG DD 1 UA 958 PLANE CHANGE EN ROUTE
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|Title Annotation:||SECTION VI: International Air Travel|
|Author:||Gorham, Ginger; Rice, Susan|
|Publication:||Travel Perspectives, A Guide to Becoming a Travel Professional|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2007|
|Previous Article:||Chapter 18 International air travel basics.|
|Next Article:||Chapter 20 Sales skills for the travel professional.|