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Chapter 4: Fares, fare research and fare construction.

TYPES OF FARES

Domestic fares do not bear any relationship to the distances involved, and any two people sitting next to one another on a flight may have paid vastly different amounts--one may have paid $299 for the ticket and the other $1800. The $299 fare required advance purchase, a minimum stay (until the first Sunday, for example), a maximum stay (not longer than 30 days), was only available a certain period of time, and a limited number of seats were allocated to the fare. The $1800 fare might have been booked that day and the passenger did not qualify for excursion or discounted fares.

THREE BASIC TYPES OF FARES

A general understanding of airfares begins with the identification of three basic types of fares:

NORMAL /REGULAR FARES--Fares for regular classes of service, such as first class, business class, or coach class. Regular fares don't have restrictions, such as advance purchase, minimum and maximum stay, and cancellation or change penalties.

DISCOUNT FARES--Discount fares have some restrictions or qualifications. There may be discounted first, business, and coach class fares (sold in a limited quantity--which is called "capacity controlled'). Discounts may be given for certain types of passenger, such as senior citizen (usually a 10% discount), child, military personnel, etc.

EXCURSION FARES--Excursion fares are round trip fares with restrictions such as advance purchase, minimum and maximum stays, and change or cancellation penalties. They are "capacity controlled," so there will be a limited number of seats allocated to the fares, and they may only be available on certain fights. There can be different excursion fares offered (a seven-day advance purchase fare and a fourteen-day advance purchase fare). Generally the lower the fare the more restrictions.

It used to be that agents would be able to research fares in TARIFF BOOKS--manuals showing the published fares of the airlines. Since fares change so frequently, it requires continually searching the CRS--computer reservation system for new/changed fares. The Internet is also a resource--as last minute availability of seats can introduce "instant sales" of bargain fares. Newspaper ads and airline memos introduce "specials" that are available for a very limited time.

OTHER TERMS RELATED TO FARES

LOCAL FARE--In the case of combining a domestic flight with an international flight, the local fare is the fare for the domestic portion. Local fare also means the fare used for direct service on a airline.

THROUGH FARE--A through fare is a fare for an online connection. For example, a through fare can be used for a schedule using Delta from Miami to Atlanta, changing planes in Atlanta to another Delta flight to New York/JFK. A Miami to New York fare would be used.

POINT-TO-POINT FARE--If the passenger on the connection schedule just given (Miami to Atlanta, changing planes and proceeding on to New York) decided to stopover in Atlanta, point-to-point fares would be used--Miami to Atlanta and Atlanta to New York (and it would probably be much more expensive).

JOINT FARE--A joint fare is a fare for an offline connection (a fare agreed upon by two or more airlines for transporting passengers from origin to destination). There are very few joint fares available.

RULES AND ROUTINGS

Fares have RULES AND ROUTING requirements. The rules state the restrictions of the fares. The routings state what airlines and cities have to be used (for example, the fare can only be used on the connecting schedules through Chicago--not Dallas). More on rules later.
FLYING IN THE FAST LANE

The current fare for flying on the Concorde--Supersonic Class from
New York to London or New York to Paris is around $5,000 one way.
Supersonic excursion fares (for round trips) run about $9,200 (such
a deal!). The Concorde holds only about 100 passengers in rows of
two seats on either side of a main aisle. The cruising speed 1,354
miles per hour and the range in miles is 3,870. A digital indicator
on the bulkhead at the front of the cabin will display the speed.
When it shows "M 2.00" it means Mach 2, which is twice the speed of
sound. Speed is what the Concorde has to offer--by cutting travel
time by one-third of the other jet schedules. The Concorde takes
about three and a half hours to go from New York to London, which
means on a one way trip it costs about $24 a minute!


FARE INDICATORS/CODES

Fare indicators/codes are letters in a fare basis that indicate the specifics about the fare. Knowledge of commonly used indicators will help when considering fares. Fare codes will mean different things according to their position (primary vs. qualifiers). Primary codes are ones used at the beginning of the fare basis; codes used in secondary positions are called "qualifiers," as they further qualify or restrict the fare application. The numbers used in fares may/may not have some direct meaning. Sometimes they indicate the advance purchase, minimum stay, penalty, etc. Familiarity with certain fares over time will help determine the meanings of the codes. You always have to check the rule for clarification. For example, you can determine that a YHE21 fare is a coach, high season, excursion fare, but you would have to check the rule for what determines high season and other details

YLXEHNQ

It can seem like "alphabet soup" when it comes to fare codes, and REMEMBER that the meaning of the code depends on its position (is it primary/the first letter) or in secondary, qualifying position. It also makes a difference what the code is combined with (such as Z1 means only on Monday and a Z not followed by a frequency code can mean youth or student).

FARE INDICATORS/CODES
PRIMARY CODES/INDICATORS

R--Supersonic (Concorde)
P--First Class Premium
F--First Class
A--First Class Discounted
J--Business Class Premium
C--Business Class
D--Business Class Discounted
I--Business Class Discounted
Z--Business Class Discounted
W--Economy/Coach Discounted
S--Economy/Coach
f- Night Coach in First Class Compartment
Y--Economy/Coach
c--Night Business Coach
y--Night Economy/Coach
B--Economy/Coach Discounted 1} for simplicity, you
H--Economy/Coach Discounted} can call all these
Q -- Economy/Coach Discounted} "special fares"
M--Economy/Coach Discounted}
N--Economy/Coach Discounted}
K--Economy/Coach Discounted}
L--Economy/Coach Discounted}
T--Economy/Coach Discounted}
V--Economy/Coach Discounted}
X--Economy/Coach Discounted}

b--Night Economy/Coach Discounted
q--Night Economy/Coach Discounted
k--Night Economy/Coach Discounted
v--Night Economy/Coach Discounted
U--Shuttle Service (No Reservation Need,
Seat Guaranteed)
S--Shuttle Service (No Reservation Allowed)

RESTRICTIVE QUALIFIER CODES

X--Midweek
D/Z--Only (Z not followed by
frequency codes can mean
youth or student
E--Excursion
W--Weekend
L -- Low Season
H--High Season

AP--Advance Purchase
IP--Instant Purchase
N/NR--Non-Refundable

B/S--Restricted days for travel

U--Standby

M--Military

G--Group

GA--Group Affinity

GV--Group Inclusive Tour

GC--Group Incentive

N--Night

Q--Surcharge

CD--Senior Citizen

CH--Child

Z--Youth Reservation Fare


These are only SOME of the far indicators/codes that can be used.

Other codes for PASSENGER TYPES: (CL--CLERGY, IN--Infant, TD--Teacher Discount, etc.). There are also PERCENTAGE DISCOUNT FARES: AD75 (Agent Discount 75%), ID (Air Industry Employee), TG (Tour Guide). And there are codes for SPECIAL CATEGORY FARES, such as CB (Contact Bulk Fare). ALWAYS CHECK THE RULE FOR CLARIFICATION.

Below are some examples of "decoding" fares using knowledge of fare indicators:

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FARES AND RULES

Fare research requires checking into fare listings and researching the rules of the fares. The fare rule will state all the qualifications and restrictions that must be met, and will also show routing information. It will be necessary to consult the rules for combining fares, which is helpful in obtaining the lowest fares for itineraries.

The layout of the rules may vary slightly according to the reservation system used. The parts of a rule are shown below.
PARTS OF A FARE RULE

FARE BASIS
PASSENGER TYPE CODE
BOOKING CODE
EFFECTIVE AND DISCONTINUED DATES
MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM STAY REQUIREMENTS
SEASONS
BLACKOUT DATES
DAY/TIME RESTRICTIONS
SALES RESTRICTIONS
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
ADVANCE RESERVATION/TICKETING REQUIREMENTS
CHILD DISCOUNTS
ACTS DISCOUNTS
OTHER DISCOUNTS
STOPOVERS
TRANSFERS/ROUTINGS
SURCHARGES
ELIGIBILITY
TICKET ENDORSEMENT
PENALTIES/CANCELLATIONS


The most important parts to research are usually the effective and discontinued dates, minimum/maximum stay, reservations/ticketing requirements, and the penalties/cancellations. You will also need to note the booking code to look for those seats in availability displays. Depending on the fare basis, seasons and other restrictions may apply. Later in this chapter, sample fares and rules displays with accompanying questions are provided.

REVIEW

Practice "decoding" fares by your knowledge of fare indicators/code.

Note: Some of the numbers in a fare basis may not have any meaning. Always check the rule for clarification.

1. BO6 --

2. VLENR --

3. QE7D23NR --

4. F10 --

5. KSE71P --

6. MHE14 --

7. HE7Z236N --

8. LWENR --

9. YU56 --

10. A --

11. YGV10 --

12. QE7D2346NR --
WEB SITES:

An easy way to go to the web sites of many airlines is to access
www.itn.net/airlines When you access the site, click on North
America and the airlines' web sites are then available. You can
also search via www.yahoo/com/business/corporations/travel/airlines

Here are some specific airline web sites: www.aa.com
www.fly-contineatal.com www.delta-air.com www.twa.com www.ual
com www.usairways.com

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Do some sample fare research by calling the airlines
or going online to web sites and finding out the least
expensive fares for travel for the following itineraries:

                                          FARE QUOTES

Jacksonville to Miami Oct. 10 leave AM
Miami to Jacksonville Oct. 15 leave PM       --

New York to Los Angeles Nov. 1 AM
Los Angeles to San Francisco Nov. 6 AM
San Francisco to New York Nov. 9 AM          --

Seattle to Phoenix Jul. 23 PM
Phoenix to Seattle Jul. 29 AM                --

Atlanta to Denver Sep. 2 AM
Denver to Atlanta Sep. 10 PM                 --


ITINERARY DIAGRAMS

In finding the least expensive fare for an extensive trip, it is helpful to diagram the itinerary. Knowledge of geography, major cities and hubs, airline service, and trying various combinations ultimately leads to obtaining the least expensive fare. The following are sample itineraries with fare possibilities. The fare codes shown are for example only.

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Note: Sometimes passengers will buy a round trip ticket but use it one way, because the round trip fare was less expensive than the one-way fare (if the fare requirements were met, such as advance purchase, etc.). The airlines dictate that the ticket is a contract and is supposed to be used as purchased, but it would be difficult in this situation to force the passenger to make the return trip!

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On round trip itineraries, check for special one way fares, especially on low-cost airlines.

The next itineraries show fare combinations in which excursion fares are combined/halved. Generally, fares can be combined when they are the same basic types of excursion fare (such as KWE70 and KXE70), and the rule states that combinations/open jaws are allowed. This is important when planning an itinerary to "tour" an area, so that the traveler does not have to return to the first destination. Note: Usually a maximum of three "half round trips" can be used (see #2 under CIRCLE TRIP EXAMPLE BELOW).

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Note: Generally, the surface segment has to be the shortest segment for fares to be combined.

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Here is one more complicated itinerary with fare possibilities:

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The LEAST EXPENSIVE FARE would probably result from option #2. Depending on fares available, the following combinations might also be investigated.

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Using one-way fares for every segment was not included as it would undoubtedly result in considerably overcharging the passenger.

ITINERARY DIAGRAMS--EXERCISE

It's important to take itineraries and use your knowledge and access to fares, routings, and combinations to find the least expensive fare. If you combine fares that would allow stopovers in cities, advise the passenger in case he/she would like to utilize that option. You will become familiar with suitable routings and fare combination possibilities with experience. Always verify that fares can be combined if you are unsure of the restrictions. Fare research is time-consuming, but clients have usually contacted a travel agent for such expertise.

For practice, diagram the following itineraries and give possible fare combinations;

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Now we will cover fare research using practical information and
exercises using sampled displays that might appear on travel agency
computer reservation systems.


FARE RESEARCH ON THE COMPUTER

When passengers call for fare information, airline reservation agents and travel agents ask when the clients want to travel, when they want to return, etc.

Agents find it most convenient to book flights and then price the itinerary in order to quote fares. If clients do not have dates in mind or are most interested in when the price would be the least expensive, agents will have to pull up fare information and research the rules of those fares for the specifics involved (dates applicable, restrictions, etc.).

As it can be a very time-consuming process, agents may want to write down the client's requested information (i.e., what is the least expensive fare round trip Atlanta to Los Angeles traveling sometime in the fall--two adults traveling and wanting to stay a week) and call them back when thorough information is obtained. It is important, however, that agents obtain all the details (any days or dates that cannot be involved, if certain airlines are preferred, etc.) and get back in touch with the client as quickly as possible. Otherwise the agent's time and efforts may be wasted if the client went ahead and called other agencies or the airlines directly.

Below is a sample fare display. Since display information may vary with time and the computer reservation system used, the fares and data given are FOR EXAMPLE ONLY, and do not represent current fares or services.

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HERE'S ANOTHER SAMPLE FARES DISPLAY (DIFFERENT CRS) WITH QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

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FILL IN THE BLANKS USING THE SAMPLE DISPLAY:

1 .The least expensive round trip fare shown is on -- Airlines and the cost is --.

2. Travel on the QR7WKNR fare must be completed by --.

3. The QR fare is offered by -- Airlines.

4. Delta Air Lines offers a round trip fare of -- and also one for --.

5. The $138.00 round trip fare offered on Trans World Airlines is coded as --.

6. Some of the fare class codes have city/airport codes within them, likely indicating flights must be to those airports. The QE 14LGAN fare undoubtedly requires flights into -- airport.

7. The other fare class code that indicates an airport is --.

8. Trans World Airlines has two fares shown, one for -- and one for --.

9. The fare display shown is dated --.

10. On both of the -- Air Lines' fares, travel must be completed by September 11.

USING THESE ADDITIONAL SAMPLE DISPLAYS, ANSWER THE QUESTIONS THAT FOLLOW.

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ANSWER "T" FOR TRUE OR "F" FOR FALSE TO THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS:

1. The LE2NR fare requires travel to be completed by May 24. --

2. The most expensive round trip fare is $498.00 --

3. American, Delta, and Trans World all have a fare of $498.00 --

4. The MNE70 fare requires ticket purchase by April 3. --

5. The least expensive round trip fare is offered by Northwest. --

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ANSWER "T" FOR TRUE OR "F" FOR FALSE TO THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS:

6. The QE3D231P fare is on Delta Air Lines

7. All of the fares shown require travel to commence by May 24. --

8. The KE3Z23N fare is on American Airlines. --

9. All of the fares require ticket purchase by April 3. --

10. The fare on United is coded VE3Z23N. --

FARE RESEARCH

Research to find the lowest far involves checking fares, rules, schedules, and available seats. Fares change constantly, as well as the availability of seats. Routing considerations as well as combinations of fares is also part of the fare research process. Below is a sample fare display followed by a rule display.

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Let's say the passanger prefers Continental Airlines. You would display the rule to find out the fare restrictions.

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HERE IS ANOTHER DISPLAY OF FARES, WHICH HAS A DIFFERENT LAYOUT. THIS IS TO DEMONSTRATE HOW CRS DISPLAY WILL VARY.

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USING THE SAMPLE DISPLAY, ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.

Note: This display includes special fares that were only available for the Memorial Day Holiday. Notice the fare basis codes at the beginning of the listing. For example, line 1(01) is "MEMDAYON" (Memorial Day Only), and others include HOL or HLDY for holiday. The airlines will offer last minute specials to fill seats on flights.

1. The only one-way fare shown is $ --. The fare basis is -- and it is available on -- airlines (refer back to the list of airlines provided earlier in the manual if necessary).

2. The fare basis for the least expensive fare on Delta is --. It requires final travel by -- (date).

3. The BE21BFIP fare on CO is $ --. It requires -- days advance purchase. The minimum stay is the first, and the maximum stay is -- days. If the departure was less than 21 days away, the fare on CO that only require 7 days advance purchase is $ --, fare basis --

4. The VE14D23N and M014NR6 fares require ticketing before -- (date).

5. If a client only wanted to use American Airlines, the four AA fares shown are $--, $--, $--.

6. All of the fares are non-refundable. True or False --

7. Three airlines restricted the days of travel to Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. What airlines are they? --

8. What airline's fare basis codes all have IP in them? --

9. All of the 14-day advance purchase fares have a maximum stay of -- days.

10. If this fare quote display was requested on the 26th of May, the first -- lines of fares wouldn't appear since they would have expired May 25.

HERE IS A SAMPLE DISPLAY OF THE RULES FOR ONE OF THE FARES--

This is the rule for the fare on Line 15 (see LN below). Other abbreviations: FCL--Fare Class, TRF--Tariff, BK--Booking Code, PTC--Passenger Type Code. The CRS will help you with decoding/deciphering abbreviations.

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USING THE SAMPLE RULE DISPLAY, ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

1. Are there any agents' discounts on the BE2IBFIP fare? --

2. Reservations are required at least -- days before departure and ticketing must be completed at least -- days before departure or within -- hours, whichever is earlier.

3. If an infant under 2 is accompanying an adult over age 18 and is occupying a seat, the charge is -- of the fare. The ticket designator is --

4. The endorsement box of the ticket must be annotated NON --/NON --/FEE FOR CHGE AND VALID CO/COEXPRESS ONLY.

5. The penalty for cancellations is a service charge of --% as the ticket is non-refundable. The only exception is in the event of death of the -- or --

6. The service charge for changes is $ --.

7. If the outbound and return flights are charged at the same time there is only one $75.00 service charge collected. True or False. --.

8. If the name on the ticket and the passenger's I.D. do not match, the passenger will be required to -- and to purchase the applicable fare for the departing flight.

9. Are there any blackout dates? --.

10. What is the discount for senior citizens ages 62 and beyond? --

11. Is there a discount for the traveling companion of a senior citizen? -- If yes, how much is it? --

12. In the ticketing for the senior citizen and companion, the code /CD will appear at the end of the fare class being discounted. The companion's ticket will show / -- at the end of the discounted fare class.

13. There is a surcharge of $ -- on tickets between Florida and the rest of the U.S.

14. The booking code of the fare is --/--.

15. Does the fare apply all year? --

16. Are any stopovers permitted? -- If yes, how many and in what city(cities) are stopovers permitted? --

17. Are passenger facility charges (XF fees) included in the fare? --

18. Are the US and ZP taxes included? --

19. What is the governing rule #? --

20. The fare type/class is XPN--what does XPN stand for? --

SPOTLIGHT ON SENIOR CITIZENS

The airlines generally give a 10% discount to senior citizens (age 62 and older). In addition, there are booklets available to senior citizens. For example, American Airlines offers a booklet of four coupons for $596.00. The coupons can be used for four flights (or two round trips) anywhere in the continental U.S. Travel to Alaska and Hawaii require two coupons each way. They are for the individual's use only (cannot be transferred or used by anyone else).

US Airways sells a "Golden Opportunity Book" for $579.00 with four coupons. With the US Airways booklet, the coupons can be also used for grandchildren between the ages of 2 and 11 who travel with the senior. Another bonus provided is that a single coupon can be used for a round trip journey between any two Florida cities.

With the booklets, there is usually a 14-day advance requirement for confirmed reservations. If you want to leave within 14 days, travel is standby. U.S. taxes are included in the purchase of the booklets, but airport fees (PFCs) are additional. Are the coupon booklets a good deal? It depends on where the passenger is traveling and what special fares may be available at the time. At $149.00 a segment, there could be an excursion fare available for less than $298.00.

United Airlines has a booklet for senior citizens costing $541.80, but no taxes are included. United also offers a "Silver Wings Plus" club. It's available to travelers aged 55 or older. For $75.00 you receive a two-year membership with three $25.00 travel certificates good for discounts on fares of $125.00 or more. You can also buy a lifetime membership for $225.00 and receive three $50.00 certificates, plus a 15% savings certificate toward a round trip coach seat anywhere United flies as well as 7,500 bonus miles.

For more information on senior discounts as well as YOUTH/STUDENT discounts contact the airlines.

BEREAVEMENT FARES

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There are discounts for people who have experienced a death in the family. The discount varies with each airline. Usually, the bereavement fare is the equivalent of an advance purchase fare. The name of the deceased, as well as the phone number and name of a funeral home or hospital will be required. Airlines differ as to what a "family member" member" constitutes. The death of an immediate relative, such as a parent, always qualifies.

GROUP TRAVEL

If there are 10 or more people traveling, it's a good idea to check with the airline for a group travel discount. If you have people from different cities flying into one (to attend a wedding, for example), there may also be a discount (such as 5%) available.

ROLE-PLAY ACTIVITIES

To practice business communication skills with regard to airline travel, answer professionally the following questions or statements given by a client:

1. Why is my ticket so much more expensive than my friend's? --

2. What happens if the airline goes out of business? --

3. This flight had better be on time or you'll be sorry. --

4. My friend called the airline after you told me there were no seats and he was able to get a reservation. --

5. XYZ Travel told me they could get me a ticket for $145.00, which is $20.00 less. --

6. If I already have my ticket and seat assignment, why do I have to be at the airport 90 minutes before departure? --

7. What happens if I change my mind about the return date? --

8. What happens if I cancel? --

9. Do I have to reconfirm my ticket? --

10. What happens if the flight is delayed? --
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Article Details
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Author:Dervaes, Claudine
Publication:Domestic Travel & Ticketing
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Words:3949
Previous Article:Chapter 3: Introduction to computerization.
Next Article:Chapter 5: Reservations.
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