The Hidden Secrets of Your Airline Boarding Pass – Part 3

Posted on October 28, 2019 by Rob Hale

Last week we explored the information that displays on the “Left” side of ones boarding pass. This week we will conclude our study of the boarding pass by looking at the information which displays on the “Right” side of the boarding pass.

The most prominent piece of information on this side is usually your Bar Code, or as it is officially called your BCBP – Bar Coded Boarding Pass.

The code is 2D and must meet the standards of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airline trade group that sets criteria for consistency across the airlines and countries. Contained in this code is all of your passenger and flight information, which is why it is critical that you never just throw the unused boarding pass out after your flight. The barcode is used by the airline to speed up the boarding process, and allow the gate agents and the crew on the plane to easily tell how many people have boarded, what seats are taken, and how many bags have been checked.

Also on this “Right” side will be an odd six-digit alphanumeric code which is your PNR, or Passenger Name Reference. The PNR, like the confirmation and ticket number on the “Left” side, is yet another record locator that can be used to retrieve your information. Like the barcode, as everything about you can be discovered by a thief who knows how to access into this number, this is another reason that your boarding pass should never just be thrown out.

Also on this side will be stand alone floating letter. A lonely looking “K” or some other letter as an example. This letter may appear next to your seat assignment, flight number, or even just adjacent to the date and time of your flight.

This letter, while looking insignificant, is actually the most important part of your ticket (aside from your seat assignment) as it display’s your airline class of service status for the flight aka, your likelihood of getting an upgrade based on your loyalty status and what seat you booked.

As a general rule class of service normally falls into four categories with the following code plan:

  • F and A: first class
  • J, R, D and I: business class
  • W and P: Premium Economy
  • Y, B, H, K, L, G, V, S, N, Q, E and O: Economy

This side of the boarding pass may also display the word …”Longhaul”… or “Intl.” Both of these as the name implies, indicate longer flights that may be overseas flights lasting six to 12 hours.

The final piece of information that might be found on this half of the boarding pass is the code…. S/O…. which is another form of stopover. Unlike the stopover code we looked at in last weeks blog post this stopover may be between 4 to 24 hours and everything during this time would be at your own expense.

As you have discovered in this series of blog posts, there is much more to a boarding pass than just your flight information and seat number. Armed with the information we have provided, your travel experiences can be elevated as you will can now utilize your new educated consumer status.

For other travel tips and tricks we hope you might consider letting Travel N Relax help you with your next trip planning where we take care of all the details so you can truly Travel N Relax. Give us a call and let us help you elevate your trip planning to next level!

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