Whenever you buy an airline ticket, you may have noticed that there is an alphanumeric or alphanumeric code used to identify the fare type. Fare types range from economy class to first class.

Many factors determine how much you pay for your ticket, as a computer algorithm determines the ticket price. Airline tickets are always more expensive during peak periods such as summer or school holidays and vacations. Other factors will determine how much you pay and how long you bought your ticket before your flight. There was a time, now sadly gone, where you could arrive at the airport without a ticket, and if there was an empty seat, simply buy a “standby ticket” at a huge discount.

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In the economy class of a Boeing 777-300er aircraft.

Photo: Emirates

Airlines offer one to four services

Today, in general, on airlines, there are four types of classes:

  • Economy: Almost always the rear of the plane, a densely packed seating area reserved for leisure travelers. Low-cost carriers like Ryanair and easyJet have their planes configured in all economy configurations.
  • Premium Economy: Located behind business class, premium economy seats are slightly wider than economy seats and offer more legroom. Some airlines even offer enhanced meal service.

Inside the Emirates Premium Economy cabin.

Photo: Emirates

  • Business Unit: As the name suggests, catering to business travelers, seats in business class offer more privacy and can often be set up into a flat bed for a long layover on overnight flights.
  • Primary: The three US carriers, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines, have all eliminated first class seats on long-haul flights and replaced them with business class seats. Similar to what you’ll find in Business Class, Flight First Class can have a chauffeur-driven limousine to and from your hotel. First class passengers are also pampered from start to finish with à la carte meals and a paired wine list. If you have the money, you can still fly first class with carriers like Emirates, Etihad, Air France, British Airways, Japan Airways, All Nippon Airways, Lufthansa, Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines.

Inside the Emirates Boeing 777 First Class.

Photo: Emirates

Choose the service department that suits your needs

As you can see, some travelers are just looking for the cheapest ticket, and paying more for a premium economy ticket can lead to additional benefits, such as extra air miles or an increase in your baggage allowance.

A friend found this on a recent TAP Portugal flight from Miami to Lisbon. He had to travel with two bags, but the allowance on the economy class ticket was only one. This means that if you fly economy, you have to pay for the second bag. In premium economy, the allowance was two bags and extra air miles. However, the choice was easy as the cost of upgrading to Premium Economy was the same as paying for the excess baggage.

The codes consist of letters and numbers.

Each of the above tariff classes is identified by a single letter code:

  • Y = full fare economy class ticket
  • W= Full fare premium economy class ticket
  • J= full fare business class ticket
  • F = full fare first class ticket

There are also various other letters that denote minimum prices for a unit. After the letter, you will see a number from zero to nine. For example, if your ticket says J2, you still have two seats available in business class on your flight. Nine is the largest possible number and indicates that there are more than nine seats in your service room. An example of this is economy class Y9.

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