Most seasoned travellers know the important letters and numbers on their boarding pass: gate and seat assignments, flight number, and boarding time. But most of us never stop to consider what the other codes mean.
The ticket code itself generally consists of the following information: which airline you’re flying, what flight you’re on, your ticket class, and the date and time of departure. Most of that is pretty easy to understand, but what’s a ticket class?
The ticket class is a coding system used by airlines to put passengers into castes. F or P will mean first class, J, D or C for business class, and the rest for coach. But even within coach, there are many different classes depending on what you paid for your ticket. Y indicates you paid full fare, while Q or other letters generally mean a discounted ticket.
Why should you care?
Passengers with higher class codes get preferential treatment. If you’re travelling on a Y class ticket, you’ll be less likely to be bumped and more likely to be upgraded. In fact, Y, B and M are generally the only classes eligible to be upgraded. Higher ticket classes also earn more frequent flier miles, sometimes up to 150%, and enjoy more freedom in making changes and cancellations to their itinerary.
The bad news is you can only get a higher code by paying more. But when you’re on the quest for that bargain ticket, you understand what you’re getting for the price you pay.
(photo by melloveschallah)