We recently released Air Monitor 2024, an annual report the Amex GBT Consulting team compiles that forecasts airfare fluctuations and industry developments impacting corporate travel. The report is packed with key pricing and trend information to help travel buyers and managers navigate contract conversations with airlines, better plan their travel costs, and enhance their air programs. But unless you’re an aviation specialist, you may be confused by some of the technical terms that appear in the report. That’s why we’ve put together this glossary decoding some of the industry jargon.

So, let’s take off and land this lingo!

airline bundles: packages combining airline services and amenities that allow travelers to customize their travel experience.

airline capacity: the maximum number of passenger seats an airline has available on any given route.

airline frequency: the number of flights an airline operates on a specific route over a specific timeframe.

available seat miles (ASMs): a key metric of airline capacity; calculated by multiplying the number of available seats on an aircraft by the number of miles the aircraft travels.

Avelia: one of the world’s first blockchain, book-and-claim platforms for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) that allows companies to purchase and claim the environmental attributes of SAF.

book-and-claim: a system that allows clients to pay for and claim the benefits of SAF, even if the alternative jet fuel is not available at their departure airport.

booking class: the way in which airlines categorize seats on an aircraft; each class represents a different fare level and set of conditions (e.g., the refundability of the ticket and number of reward miles that will be accrued); the number of booking classes is limited to 26 – one for each letter of the English alphabet.

codeshare: an arrangement in which two or more airlines publish and sell the same flight under their own airline code and flight number even though it is operated by only one of the participating carriers.

continuous pricing: a pricing strategy that enables airlines to constantly adjust fares based on a variety of factors (e.g., demand, supply, and traveler behavior); doesn’t have restrictions on the range of price points airlines can set.

dynamic pricing: a strategy that airlines use to adjust fares in real time, taking into account factors like demand and seat availability.

EDIFACT: stands for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport; a computer language that travel suppliers and global distribution systems have been using for decades to share travel content.

environmental attributes: claims, credits, emissions reductions, and allowances that occur from the prevention of greenhouse gases that otherwise would have been emitted.

interline partnerships: relationships between airlines that allow one airline to sell services to a customer that are provided by another airline.

International Air Transport Association (IATA): the trade group for the airline industry that launched New Distribution Capability to improve how airline content is distributed.

jet crack spread: the price difference between crude oil and aviation fuel; in 2023, the spread has been rising, which has put additional cost pressure on airlines.

New Distribution Capability (NDC): an IATA-led initiative that uses the web-based XML (which stands for Extensible Markup Language) data exchange standard to improve how airlines sell their products.

onward connections: the latter flight a traveler takes to reach their final destination when a flight itinerary has a layover.

open jaw bookings: a multi-city, round-trip itinerary where the traveler flies into one city and departs from another.

Preferred Extras: an Amex GBT preferential rates program that enables our clients to achieve savings of up to 25% on public airfares.1

sustainable aviation fuel: an alternative jet fuel produced from waste plant or animal material that could contribute around 65% of the reduction in emissions needed for the airline sector to reach net zero in 2050.

yield management: also referred to as revenue management; a dynamic pricing approach airlines employ to maximize their revenue; the practice relies on sophisticated data analytics and algorithms that enable airlines to adjust prices according to historical data, demand patterns, and external factors such as competitor pricing.

YQ surcharges: an airline-imposed fee that is added to the base airfare to help cover the cost of fuel; such fees have risen significantly; since Air Monitor 2023, the YQ surcharge for a business class seat on NYC-London has increased by 12%.

Now that you’re acquainted with the jargon the industry uses, check out Air Monitor 2024 for valuable insights from our consultants that can strengthen your air program.

1 Based on American Express Global Business Travel contractual agreements and availability. Program content is subject to change without notice. All discounts depend on route and class. Air savings reflect the average gross fare difference expressed as a percentage from booking a Preferred Extras fare rather than the equivalent published fare for 2023.