When you book your air ticket, just before pressing the ‘purchase’ button, you are greeted with a fare summary, telling you how much you’re going to pay and why. Fair enough. But airline lingo isn’t known for its simplicity.

Airline fare

Never be confused again! Here are 6 airfare terms you should know about:

Advance Purchase Fare
An airfare which requires the ticket to be purchased a certain number of days before the departure date. If you know your travel plans, you can get yourself a good advance-purchase deal. But take note: cancelling such tickets often invites higher penalty than normal.

Base Fare
This is the amount that you pay before tax has been added, and it goes to the airline you are travelling. On top of it there are taxes and other add-ons. Commissions are calculated on the base fare.

Capacity-Controlled Fares
A limited number of airplane seats to which a special fare has been assigned. This percentage may change depending upon how quickly seats are selling on the flight.

Conditional Fare
A fare which guarantees passage on the next available flight if the flight for which the ticket was purchased is full.

Fare Basis (Code)
This can be confusing, because the same flight can contain many different fare basis codes. The excellent website travelterminal.com solved the puzzle for us very nicely, through this simple example: Take the fare basis code HL7LNR.  The first letter H refer to the class of service for booking (H class).  The L refers to low season, the 7refers to the requirement for 7-day advance booking, the next L refers to long-haul, and the NR means non-refundable.

Unrestricted Fare
An airfare that is usually higher than regular, but comes with some advantages: you don’t need to make an advance purchase, do a Saturday stay or travel only on certain days. Plus, it’s usually fully refundable.

Got more questions about airfares? Ask us in the comments and we will decode the secrets.