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ICAO Vocabulary Level 6: Air Travel in Aviation Peak Season


The Types of Fares: What Are Unbundled Fares?

Apart from ‘saver’ (sometimes referred as ‘early bird’), ‘economy’, ‘economy plus’, ‘business’ or ‘first class’ tariffs, there are also ‘the bare fares’ which are the ‘stripped down airfares’ or ‘extra cheap prices’. They can be also described as ‘ultra-low prices’ because they’ve got a lot of restrictions that are purposefully imposed in order to pay for checked baggage, for an extra legroom or seat assignment. These kinds of fares are called ‘unbundles fares’ or known as ‘no-frills’. By the way, a frill is an ‘extra things that are added to something to make it more pleasant or more attractive, but that is not necessary”. We can talk about ‘no frills airlines’ or ‘no frills fares’. If you wonder about spelling, let me resolve the uncertainty; both versions (‘no frills’ and ‘no-frills’ with and without hyphen) are correct.

Who Are Non-Revenue Passengers?

Okay, now you know the variety of names for fares that may occur when you make a reservation for a fully paid ticket. An airline employee can fly as ‘a non-revenue passenger’ (an informal name is ‘a non-rev’) and cover only the fares and taxes (an opposite for this type of a pax is simply ‘a revenue passenger’ if a person purchased a fully paid ticket).  Nearly free tickets are infants or small children travelling on their parents’ laps. Moreover, a ticket converted from a frequent flyer programme (a passenger paid for it with miles) is also regarded as a non-revenue.

However, a non-revenue passenger can be traveling either on duty or for leisure purposes in most cases with their families. The former, defined as ‘positive space’  implies people who must be on a particular flight because they’re flying in connection with their duties but in different city; if a person travels on a plane with an ID or/ and he or she’s wearing a uniform, one is defined as ‘a deadhead’ or a crew who is ‘deadheading’ to another base or home from a temporary hub. Positive space passengers, in this case, cannot be denied boarding.

Peak travelling season and off season

Do Airline Employees Really Travel For Free Whenever They Want?

If an airline employee wants to travel for pleasure, sometimes they’re allowed to fly as a non-revenue passenger on a discount ticket (it depends on the types of the social benefits they employer offers) and a person covers only the fares and taxes for a flight. Sounds great but there’s a huge downside of this solution. All the revenue passengers are treated obviously as a priority and non-revenue passengers who are not must-ride crew described in the previous paragraph, fly only if empty seats are available. During the boarding process, a passenger is assigned on ‘a standby list’ (known also as ‘fly standby’) until this stage is closed and a final number of seats is confirmed. An unconfirmed seat booking is called ‘negative space’ in the travel industry. The more popular a flight is, the lesser chance a person has to be on this flight because even the lowest paying customers are treated as a priority before those who are not bringing any profit to a company.

Aviation Travelling Seasons

Now, when you know the differences between the fares and you know theoretically which ticket can bring you the biggest savings, it’s time to check which time of the year is the most convenient to grab a bargain.

Peak Season, Off-Season and Shoulder Season

There are generally three types of seasons in the travel industry. One of the most common is peak period or peak traveling season, which is the biggest amount of seat capacity that occurs in June, July, August and September. In aviation terms, one can speak about a peak movement and peak hours. What’s more, it’s good to mention a slot allocation mechanisms (or the slot regulations) that ensure access to the most congested airport even in peak season. Off-season (or low season) is time of the year (from November to March excluding the Christmas time, which is a typical peak season) that allows a passenger to avoid crowds and a person can be treated with a discount meaning to grab a bargain; it can be considered as a good bet which is something “useful, clever or enjoyable to do”. Shoulder season is a period between the high and low season when the weather is still pleasant but the prices are reasonably lowered because the peak itself is over. It can be regarded as a compromise between a reasonable price, the pleasant weather, and still active tourist attractions.

Summary

How do you plan your holiday travels? Do you prefer to relax in peak season, off season or shoulder season? Which period is the most comfortable for you? Are you keen on package holidays, wandering off the beaten track or you have your own solution for your favorite traveling style? Let me know in the comments below.

Fly in shoulder season

Emilia Barska
About me

General English teacher and Aviation English specialist. Devoting her free time to sharing her expert knowledge how to pass an ICAO exam with flying colors. She enjoys reading crime stories, listening to heavy metal music and sipping a vanilla latte.