What are the fare classes on airlines?

Written by veronica summers
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What are the fare classes on airlines?
Plane in flight (commercial airliner image by itsallgood from Fotolia.com)

Fare classes are letters used by the airlines to differentiate between class of service, price, upgradeable fares, frequent-flyer tickets and ticket restrictions. If you are looking for the cheapest fare on a flight, you probably don't need to worry about the ticket's fare class. However, if you are a business traveller or frequent flyer, you may want to purchase a ticket in a certain class to ensure the ticket is upgradeable and fully refundable. When you book a ticket, the fare class is displayed next to the conditions of that fare. You can find the fare class on your physical ticket or e-ticket as the first letter of the ticket code. For example, in the ticket code "KL07HNR," "K" stands for discount, nonrefundable fare in economy class. Most major airlines, such as American, United, Continental, Northwest and Delta, use similar fare-class codes for first, business and economy classes.

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First Class Codes

On most airlines, "F" is full-fare no restrictions first class; "A" is discounted first class; and "P" is premium first class on certain trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flights.

Business Class Codes

On most airlines, "C" and "J" are full-fare, no restrictions business class; "D" and "I" are discounted business class; and "Z" is heavily discounted, nonupgradeable business class.

Economy or Coach Class

On most airlines, "Y" or "B" are full-fare, no restrictions economy class; "M," "H" and "Q" are discounted economy and may be upgraded for additional fees or using frequent flyer miles; "K," "L," "S," "T" and "V" are heavily discounted special or promotional fares, and are nonupgradeable.

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