Airline acronyms & review of an online Travel Industry Dictionary

Many industries are loaded with acronyms unique to their line of business, and the airline industry is no exception. I do my best in always trying to spell each one out when I use an acronym in my postings, but they still might not make much sense to infrequent flyers or people unfamiliar with the terminology.

A while back, I stumbled across an online travel industry dictionary that does a fairly decent job in spelling out some of the more common airline terms, as well as those found in other travel industry organizations. It might be useful reference for those that are curious to know more about what some of the acronyms mean, and the dictionary results often include related term links to expand on some of the definitions.

The best feature of this dictionary is you can type the acronym into the search box and it’ll take you right to the definition. It works almost 100% of the time, but I did find one term that didn’t provide the definition on the search results page. “PARS,” for example is a former airline computerized reservation system (GDS nowadays), and when I typed that into the search box, it gave me a definition for ‘par,’ as in “par for the course.” It did provide a link to all travel industry terms beginning with P, so clicking into that & scrolling down, PARS® is included in the dictionary, but I don’t think most people will think to put the registered trademark symbol in with their search term.

If you want to search through all terms beginning with a certain letter, you can select one of the alphabetic circled links near the top of the home page. In my scrolling around I didn’t find any outright mistakes, so I’m pleased with their accuracy, but did find a few missing and others existing, but not providing the definition I was expecting.

When scrolling through the Fs & clicking on “F.O.B.,” for example, I was provided with a definition of “fresh off the boat.” It can also actually mean “fuel on board” to pilots, or “freight on board” to shipping companies. Similarly, “FAM” can also refer to a Federal Air Marshal, those plain clothes wearing & armed “passengers” on flights trained in terrorism techniques should something go awry. Their result for “fam” is a familiarization trip, which is also correct.

A couple of outright missing terms include “SHARES” (another global distribution system) and “IRROPS” (irregular operations, usually for events causing airline delays and/or cancellations). Getting specific to a carrier, another missing term “FEBO” is used by American Airlines noting first class meal service orders are taken from front-to-back on even numbered flights, and back-to-front on odd numbered flights.

Still, though, it’s a useful tool if you have interest in learning more strange terms and acronyms unique to the travel industry, and I even learned something new and oddly humorous in a politically incorrect way. I close with their definition of “ghetto tourism:”

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