LOUNGE Lingo to lead you far and wide

When I took my dear dad on a cruise a decade ago, he was per­plexed by the ex­pres­sion ‘out­side cabin’

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

THE Flight Cen­tre mob (flight­cen­tre.com.au) re­cently re­leased a list of travel lingo — acronyms, phrases and ab­bre­vi­a­tions — as­so­ci­ated with the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. It is an A-Z vo­cab­u­lary, too lengthy to fit here, but it got me think­ing about the ease with which cer­tain ex­pres­sions get bandied about and how they must sound like ut­ter gob­blede­gook to out­siders.

Some terms, how­ever, are in fre­quent use, thanks to the on­line rev­o­lu­tion. Book hol­i­days on the net at your peril if you don’t know what’s meant by, say, black­out dates (when pro­mo­tional fares or deals do not ap­ply), dou­ble dips (flights to two on­ward des­ti­na­tions on one air­fare) and quad share (don’t ask — and don’t do it).

When I took my dear dad on a cruise a decade ago, he was per­plexed by the ex­pres­sion ‘‘out­side cabin’’. ‘‘That would be on the deck!’’ he thun­dered, shoot­ing me a look that sug­gested I’d booked him pas­sage in a lifeboat. I had to re­as­sure him it meant he would have a ve­randa or at least a win­dow, and would not be con­signed to an inside cabin, with none of the above.

Then there is the ex­pres­sion ‘‘net fare’’ which, con­fus­ingly, has noth­ing to do with on­line but means a sum with no tax or com­mis­sion in­cluded. The ‘‘rack rate’’ is a ho­tel’s pub­lished tar­iff, which hardly any­one pays. Dad was put off by ‘‘en­try-level ac­com­mo­da­tion’’ when we went away one week­end. He sus­pected his room would be next to the front door. The term means the cheap­est cat­e­gory, al­though I didn’t ex­actly put it like that to Dad.

I am fond of the in­dus­try acronyms FIT and FOC, but mostly be­cause they make me gig­gle. The for­mer, fully in­de­pen­dent trav­eller, sim­ply means an un­pack­aged soul with a self-booked itin­er­ary, but I al­ways imag­ine it’s a com­ment on their health. As for FOC (free of charge), the old story still does the rounds of the new ho­tel man­ager who didn’t want to hon­our his pre­de­ces­sor’s agree­ment to host a big group of travel agents, so sent the or­gan­iser a two-word tele­gram: FOC OFF.

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