What You Need to Know: Rules and Regulations for Airline Tickets

If you look at a typical airline seat map, carriers can charge different fares for each seat. The airlines have complex formulas, using a technique called yield management, to build airfares and get the most money for butts in seats. Knowing types of airfares and how they apply can be difficult for those outside the industry so here are some tips to make more sense of them.

  • 01 of 09

    What is a Fare?

    Airfares are most often based on one-way or round-trip travel. Fares may be published, unpublished and/or negotiated fares (corporations, or government agencies/organizations may have fares negotiated with an airline at a lower rate). Unpublished fares are also known as consolidated fares and are offered by consolidators and bucket shops.

  • 02 of 09

    The ABCs of Airfares

    When booking a ticket, regardless of whether it is using a published or unpublished fare, there are letters that are assigned to different fares. These letters indicate the class of service, not simply indicating economy or business class, but rather the type of fare that was purchased.

  • 03 of 09

    For the uninitiated, airlines used to offer last-minute discount air fares in cases where an immediate or close family member died. But these days, the fares became less and less discounted, almost rendering them useless. But there are still airlines in the U.S. that are still offering bereavement fares.

  • 04 of 09

    Finding the Best Airfares

    When preparing for air travel, you always wonder whether you are getting the cheapest fares possible. No one wants to pay more for an airline ticket than absolutely necessary. You can get the best fares if you're willing to do your homework and be flexible. 

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Sometimes it seems like there is no rhyme or reason when it comes to buying an airline ticket. There are myriad rules and regulations that guide ticket purchases, which can cause confusion. Among them are: the best times to book; paying for upgrades; Saturday-night stays; and buying from discounters.

  • 06 of 09

    A published fare is one that is available for purchase by anyone. An unpublished fare works a bit differently.

  • 07 of 09

    Explanations for the different types of airfares such as APEX and full fares.

  • 08 of 09

    No one wants to pay full price for an airline ticket. And thanks to the internet, you no longer have to. Dozens of websites offering ways to buy discount tickets and last-minute travel have sprung up as a resource. And there are plenty of resources you can to use when booking your next flight.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    The internet is awash in websites that offer to help travelers book the lowest fares. We looked at some airfare trackers and apps that can track the cost of airline tickets and alert you to some of the cheapest deals available.