How to Read Airline Ticket Codes
While different airlines may include different information on a ticket, most include the same general information. The information is often universal among airlines, which makes it easy to learn how to read and understand the wording, abbreviation and codes on a ticket or boarding pass. Before reading your ticket, confirm that you have the correct ticket for the flight you are traveling on. Many airlines will not issue a ticket until you arrive at the airport.
Confirm basic flight information. Under the "Issued By" line on the top left side, determine which airline you are flying with. The airline name will be printed in large, bold print to help the passenger identify who he is traveling with. Under the airline information, your name, departure city and arrival city should be listed.
Read the rest of the ticket. The ticket includes the double-digit airline abbreviation code. Popular airline abbreviation codes include AA for American Airlines, BA for British Airways, CO for Continental Airlines, DL for Delta Airlines and UA for United Airlines.
Determine your ticket class. The class determines if the passenger is sitting in first, business or economy class. Many times A and F are first class, C, D, J are business class. Most other letters mean economy class.
Find your group number. The group number is also printed in a large font, telling passengers which group they will board with. Gate agents will announce one group at a time, boarding first- and business-class passengers first and then loading from the back of the plane to the front of the plane. Some airlines, like Southwest Airlines, who do not have assigned seating will board based on class.
Read the boarding pass. On the right side of the ticket, a tear-off section known as the boarding pass can be found. The boarding pass includes the name of the passenger, departure and arrival city, airline, carrier (this is the airline abbreviation), flight number and class. The boarding pass also includes the gate number, boarding time, seat number and group number. Larger airports will also include a terminal number or letter to help you determine which terminal your gate is in.
Understand other codes. Tickets may include other codes or abbreviations. Infants traveling without a seat will have a separate ticket but will have a code on the ticket stating that they do not have a seat. Children paying a child fare will also have a code stating that they have paid a reduced fair. Groups traveling together will have codes such as GV 2, GV 4 or GV 10 to determine the number of people in that group. Ow stands for one-way ticket and Waitlist is printed on a ticket when a flight is full and you are waiting for a cancellation or no show to make it onto another flight.