Revenue or cash tickets have more complex fares than award tickets – this is because award tickets are priced either dynamically or using a “is or isn’t available” model. Revenue fares have a bunch of other factors associated with them, all of which come together to form a final price of your ticket. Just like with award tickets, you can use revenue ticket fares to your advantage and also maximize your allowance of stopovers and layovers to visit more than one destination on the same ticket.
Stopovers vs. Layovers
A stopover is a stop in your journey for more than 24 hours in one destination (but stopovers aren’t your final destination – rather they are on the way to or from your final destination).
A layover is a break in flights of up to 23 hours and 59 minutes – they are simply a transit or connection between flights on the same ticket.
Components of a Cash/Revenue Ticket Fare
A cash or revenue ticket price is determined by the fare on the ticket. The fare is made up of a variety of factors including your:
- Transfer/Connecting Cities
- Travel Cabin
- Booking Class
- Airlines Flown
- Trip Type
- Effective Date
- Expiration Date
- Minimum Stay
- Maximum Stay
- Adv. Purchase Requirement
- Blackout Dates
- Accompanied Travel
- Sales Restrictions
- Ticket Endorsements
- Children Discounts
- Agent Discounts
All of those components make up the fare and the total price of your ticket.
For example, the minimum stay at your destination can greatly affect the price of your ticket – there are stay requirements that include number of days, stay over a weekend, etc. A stay over the weekend is referred to as a “Saturday Night Stay” and depending on how this condition is met, your ticket price could change by a lot.
The routing rules are also a crucial component of your ticket because they specify how you can fly and through what cities you can transit. Routing rules also specify if you can or cannot have a stopover somewhere in your journey and what the cost of a stopover might be. Routing rules are important for the airlines because they prevent you, for example, flying from Boston to New York via Los Angeles for the price of the short, nonstop flight.
Routing rules can also include the maximum permitted mileage, which is the total amount of miles you can fly between two points. This is yet another mechanism which helps to keep your itinerary in check and within the rules.
Maximizing Stopovers & Layovers on Cash Tickets
Stopovers and multiple layovers are usually only permitted on international tickets – so you generally can’t have a free stopover on a domestic flight, though this could vary by region.
When you are flying internationally and want to maximize your trip and include multiple layovers and stopovers, you will need to check what is and isn’t allowed. For example, say you are flying from Los Angeles to Rome and instead of taking the quickest way there, you want to max out your layovers and stopovers. The fare that would apply to your ticket is from your origin to your destination, in this case LAX – FCO.
When you look up details for this fare on the airlines or alliance you desire, you will find all of the various components as listed above, and when you look at the section of Stopovers and Transfers (Layovers), the fare rules could be as follows:
- Category 8: Stopover restrictions
- NO STOPOVERS PERMITTED
- Category 9: Transfer restrictions
- 6 TRANSFERS PERMITTED IN EACH DIRECTION FREE
2 FREE IN THE UNITED STATES IN EACH DIRECTION
2 FREE IN ITALY IN EACH DIRECTION
1 FREE IN AREA 2 IN EACH DIRECTION
1 FREE IN AREA 3 IN EACH DIRECTION
- 6 TRANSFERS PERMITTED IN EACH DIRECTION FREE
In this example, we cannot have a stopover (a stop for more than 24 hours), but we can have multiple layovers (connections between flights of up to 24 hours). Therefore if we are flying from Los Angeles to Rome, based on the rules above, we could have up to 6 free transfers: a connection twice in the U.S., twice in Italy, and then two more in Area 2 and Area 3 (designated IATA World Areas).
Therefore according to the rules, the following tickets would price similarly (no change in fare, but additional taxes/fees may apply):
- Los Angeles – Rome – Los Angeles
- Los Angeles – New York – Rome – Boston – Los Angeles
For this fare, you do not have to fly to Rome and back nonstop – you could have layovers on the East Coast, for example, and the fare would still be the same. With this specific fare, you can have up to 6 free transfers, so you can really add on a bunch of connecting cities and visit more than one place. If a stopover was allowed on this fare, it would be specified in the fare rules and you would be able to stop in another city for more than 24 hours.
All in All
It is always crucial to check the rules of your ticket before buying it, as you might be allowed way more than what you are paying for – remember to always read the rules and stretch your fare to the max to take advantage of the same ticket to visit multiple destinations – some cities are perfect for one night and therefore layovers of up to 24 hours can really elevate your travels.
Like with award tickets, you can also stretch your money to go further when buying cash tickets – rules on revenue tickets are more complex than on award tickets and therefore it may take longer to understand what is and isn’t allowed, however when you finally book that perfect ticket that takes the fare to the max, you are going to get great value for money and see more places than most people would on the same fare.