The allure of a flying somewhere somewhere on a bargain is impossible to resist. With jet fuel prices steadily climbing year over year, we need all the help we can get to find the best cheap flights.
As avid followers of flash sale aggregators such as Scott's Cheap Flights and The Flight Deal, we like to think that our flight deal antennae are pretty strong. However, our dedication doesn't hold a candle to the folks over at FlyerTalk, an obsessive online community focused on tracking flight deals and comparing loyalty programs. All the airline deals you've seen reported on Facebook probably showed up in the forums first, thanks to its gimlet-eyed users.
The most popular section is, by far, the Mileage Run section, where deals and routes that optimizes the amount of mileage you can earn are posted, along with unusually low fares. The thread titles can be jargon-filled and intimidating at first glance, as they are comprised of short codes for airports and mysterious abbreviations. To help you understand what these travel experts are talking about, we've put together a guide to decode the secret language at these forums. Prepare yourself for falling into a blackhole of figuring how to make the most of every single mile you fly.
This means "all-in", aka how much you'll be paying once taxes, fuel, and baggage fees are included.
This translate to "cents per mile", in which the price of the flight is divided by the number of miles traveled. This figure is generally used by users in the forum to determine how good the deal actually is. Most of the good ones you'll find listed in the boards have a CPM of between 2 to 3.
This is a no-brainer: OW is a shorthand for "one way", and RT means "return trip".
These letters appear in your fare booking codes. "F" is short for first class, while "J" and "C" generally refer to business class, and "Y" stands for economy. There are slight variations with amongst each airline, but these alphabets are the most commonly referred to in the discussion threads.
Brush Up On Your IATA Lingo
One of the most confusing things about the threads is the block of capitalized text that sits at the front in every topic. These topics typically consists a two-letter prefix of the airline name, followed by a three-letter code of the airport or city. These acronyms are adapted from the professional codes used by the International Air Transport Association, and can be easily expanded upon using this database. Then again, the answers are always just a Google search away.