I have a technical naming question.

Imagine I have this set of flights for a passegner flying from Paris to Thailand:

International Outbound:

- From Paris (France), Airport Charles De Gaulle (CDG)
- To Bangkok (Thailand), Airport Suvarnabhumi (BKK)
- 1 stop at Istambul (IST)


- From the city (Bangkok/Thailand) (BKK)
- To the beaches of Phuket (Phuket/(Thailand) (HKT)
- No stops

International Inbound:

- From Phuket (Thailand), aiport Phuket (HKT)
- To Paris (France), Airport Charles De Gaulle (CDG)
- 2 stops, one at BKK, one at IST.

With all this, the terminology is:


  • Any "piece" of flight: Each piece you takeoff and land.
  • For example the outbound flight has 2 legs, the second one being IST-BKK


  • The set of legs that connect the origin to the destination.
  • For example when returning from Thailand to Paris, there's one segment HKT-CDG which is made up of 3 legs.


What is the "name" for the full set of segments in the tourism industry?

Ie: The same way { leg CDG-IST + leg IST-BKK } is named "segment"

what is the name for { segment CDG-BKK + segment BKK-HKT + segment HKT-CDG }?


In this example, the origin of the trip and the end of the whole trip is the same airport. But what I'm looking for should apply not necessarily to a round-trip. I'm looking for a name that could for example represent the sum of "Segment London-Paris" + 5 days after "Segment Paris-Frankfurt" + 8 days after "Frankfurt-Barcelona".

3 Answers 3


At the airline I work at, we do not have a specific piece of internal jargon for this. As you note, we track legs, because they're what aircraft do; and we track segments, because they're what passengers do. Informally, we might talk of 'the booking' or 'the PNR' for the collection of segments, but I would suggest that itinerary is a better description.

A quick look through my email inbox confirms that itinerary is used by at least BA, Easyjet, Expedia, KLM and Ryanair in confirming such booking details (plus a variety of train and coach operators, and even a helicopter tour I once took...)

  • When you say "that this is used" you mean "booking", "PNR" or "itinerary"? Pls edit to resolve ambiguity and I'll select. Commented May 27, 2020 at 10:37
  • 3
    In fact... I guess that "itinerary" is better than "booking" or "PNR" as the last two have a meaning of "having already reserved". That maybe is the 99% of the cases for an airline. But an agency might have tons of "proposals" for clients that never get booked. It seems that "itinerary" reflects the collection of segments without any binding to actually having purchased them or just exploring a possible future purchase. Commented May 27, 2020 at 11:21
  • @XaviMontero "itinerary" has a specific meaning as well. Also, you can place flights on a PNR without making reservations or ticketing the itinerary. It depends how nuanced you want the answer to be.
    – Calchas
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 11:27
  • When I was a travel agent some time ago, we used "itinerary" to describe the full set of segments that made up the whole of the excursion, but that's anecdotal at best as I only did the job in one shop of one agency. I do think it's the best term, though - it's one word and it has a very precise meaning.
    – Spratty
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 11:33
  • Itinerary works fine until you enter the wonderful world of journeys with multiple bookings. I used to work in a comparison site, and itinerary meant a subtly different thing to every team you spoke to. (My team at one point had 7 different pieces of jargon for subtly different sets of segments) Commented May 27, 2020 at 12:49

I do not believe there is an expression that corresponds to the collection of segments comprising exactly the inbound and outbound segments (and excluding other segments on the ticket, journey, or PNR), but either itinerary or journey is perhaps the closest match. There are problems with using these terms, see below.


The part of the PNR describing the flight segments booked for the passengers named in the name field of the PNR.



Travel between an airport/city where travel commences and an airport/city where travel ultimately terminates. A journey may be comprised of one or more segments.

From the IATA Passenger Glossary of Terms.

Itinerary is the more concrete term. We can see whether a flight is on the itinerary by checking the PNR. But if the ticket includes surface sectors (such as the gap in an open jaw), they do not appear on the PNR. Journey presumably includes the complete, er, journey, including the surface sectors.

The subtle problem with using "itinerary" is that "outbound" and "inbound" are fare construction notions. Specifically they apply for constructing round trips, open jaws, and circle trips (but not round-the-world trips). But our definition of "itinerary" is defined in terms of a PNR. ("journey" is even more vague.)

A PNR is minimally just a collection of flight segments and a passenger name. How those flights are partitioned into one or more valid fare components and one or more priced tickets is a separate matter.

For an example: suppose you have a round trip in preparation, and also decide to book an unrelated one-way trip a few weeks after you return. Instead of creating a fresh PNR, your travel agent appends another flight segment to your existing PNR. He might decide to price the whole itinerary as a single pricing unit as an origin open jaw, returning through the city of origin with a stopover there on the inbound component. Alternatively it might be priced as two pricing units: the sum of a round trip unit plus a oneway component. More exotically it could be priced as the sum of two one ways (with a stopover) or the sum of three one way components.

In any case, the new flight would be part of your itinerary and journey per the definitions above, by virtue of being on the same PNR, but whether it is part of the inbound part (and whether an inbound part exists at all) depends on how the itinerary is priced.

  • 2
    If a passenger buys two tickets from seperate airlines on seperate PNRs as part of travelling from A to B, is that one itinerary or two? Depending on the point of view I've seen both. Commented May 27, 2020 at 12:51
  • Thanks Clachas on your appreciation about having "outbound + inbound except other segments". I wanted to include all: outbound, inbound and any others. Dor example the BKK-HKT segment that appears in the second place of the 3-term sum in the question. Probably I should have phrased better my question. As I am only interested on "flights" in this question and discard any road- or boat- or whatever-other segments, I'll probably stick to itinerary, despite the probability of being in 2 PNRs as user1937198 points out in the comment. Thanks for the pointer to the IATA glossary! Commented May 27, 2020 at 16:44
  • Actually, Calchas, the definition text you quote does not match that from the XLS you point to with the link. What is the source for that definition you quote in-place? Commented May 27, 2020 at 18:38
  • The version of the xls I have locally from 2014.
    – Calchas
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 19:38

You could call it a Round trip. As per the Cambridge dictionary:

a trip from one place to another and back to where you started

This is a related question asking the opposite.

  • 3
    That's a bit more specific though: for example, an open jaw or reverse open jaw itinerary has inbound and outbound legs, but is not a round trip. Commented May 26, 2020 at 23:58
  • Thanks GoodDeeds. This would only work if the originating city and the ending one is the same. But for example I doubt this would work for something like "segment London-Paris" + 5 days after "segment Paris-Frankfurt" + 8 days after "segment Frankfurt Barcelona". I recognize my question could yield to missinterpretation. Going to edit the question to clarify. Commented May 27, 2020 at 10:39

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