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 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.