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What are the Different Types of Airline Tickets?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree

There are many types of airline tickets. The consumer can usually choose between economy and first class, and this affects the comfort of the seat and other amenities. Tickets can also be purchased to fly to a single destination and offer no way to return to the original location, or they can be purchased as a round-trip package. When children are flying, they sometimes have the option to sit on the lap of a guardian or sit in a seat, both of which can require different types of tickets.

Economy class tickets are normally the cheapest and most uncomfortable seating option available on a commercial aircraft. Some low-cost airlines do not have a business or first-class seating option, and thus economy class is the only class available. Economy seating is often uncomfortable for people with long legs or an above-average sized body. Some such people find their knees jammed into the seat in front of them or have difficulty sitting in the chair.

First class seats are comfortable and spacious.
First class seats are comfortable and spacious.

First-class airline tickets offer access to the most comfortable and spacious seats on a commercial aircraft. Typically, in addition to the actual seat itself, other amenities are available to first-class passengers that are not available to cheaper ticketed passengers. For example, the seats might be further apart from each other so that every first-class passenger has more space surrounding themselves than lower-classed passengers. If meals are served, they are often of a higher quality in first class and accompanied by an alcoholic beverage for adults. At times, special clubs in airports are available to first-class passengers, and the in-flight entertainment is of higher quality.

Economy seating is cramped and less expensive.
Economy seating is cramped and less expensive.

Child tickets are sometimes not necessary if the child is very young, usually around two years of age or less. In this case, the child can sit on his or her guardian’s lap, or the guardian can purchase a seat for the child if he or she does not want to hold the child during the entire flight. Some situations may require a child to have a ticket, however, such as international flights or cases where the child is older. In these cases, the guardian must purchase another seat, though it is usually offered at a discounted price.

Most airlines issue e-tickets in place of paper tickets, however e-tickets can be printed.
Most airlines issue e-tickets in place of paper tickets, however e-tickets can be printed.

Round-trip tickets let a person fly to his or her destination and then fly back at a later date. It is a complete round trip back to where he or she started. Often, it is less expensive to purchase round-trip airline tickets rather than two one-way tickets to the same places.

One-way airline tickets allow a person to fly to one destination with no ticket back, unlike round-trip tickets. Once the person reaches his or her destination, he or she must purchase another ticket to fly back or find another way. At first glance, one-way tickets are typically cheaper than round-trip tickets, but only because it is one flight instead of two.

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Discussion Comments


What is a ticketless electronic ticket?


I'm having this issue right now with my ticket where I purchased a low-fare economy ticket through my agent and now at the point of travel I find out the class is T (Tourist) and is the lowest possible class of ticket and I can't pay miles for the upgrade. I am really upset.


I hate electronic tickets so much. They make me mad. First of all, I hate them because I can't feel them physically, and because they are printed on simple piece of paper with absolutely no design. It's a shame on our justice system that tickets on 20 century looked so nice, but nowadays when it's the 21st century, they look like a piece of paper. Shame on them!


We always try to find cheap airline tickets too and have never paid for a business or first class ticket. My husband is very uncomfortable on a long flight so we try to request the seat right next to the wing.

Some people don't like this seat because of the location, but it does allow more room between the seats to stretch your legs. A few inches doesn't really sound like that much, but it can make a big difference in your comfort level after a few hours.


@donasmrs-- The extra prices the airlines add on, including the extra luggage fees, can really add up. It makes a discount airline ticket become pretty expensive in a hurry.

I know there isn't anything I can do about all the extra fees except try to fly with an airline that doesn't charge them. Then you have to decide if you are saving any money that way or not. There are a few airlines out there that will still let you check a couple of bags for free, but not very many of them.


@simrin-- I have only flown first class one time, but it was because of an upgrade and I have no idea how much it would have cost me to purchase that ticket.

My son and I were on vacation in Orlando and our flight coming home was delayed for a couple of days because of a hurricane. When our tickets were re-issued we found out we were sitting in first class. There was so much more room and the food and service were wonderful.

We sure enjoyed it while it lasted, but ever since then I have flown with my usual economy class airline flight tickets.


@fify-- I have ran into the same situation where a one way ticket was more expensive than flying round trip. There has to be a reason why it is more expensive to fly one way, but I haven't ever figured out why.

Some airlines show their airline flight tickets as one way fares only. At first glance you think you are really getting a deal until you realize this is just for half of the trip if you want a round trip ticket.

I always shop around to try and find the lowest fare and even though I have used online travel services before, it seems like I find the best ticket prices directly with the airlines.


@simrin-- You know, I don't care so much about the leg space and food on flights. But recently, some airline carriers have new regulations about luggage. And they have started allowing business and first class passengers more luggage without extra fees.

But if an economy passenger wants to take more than 30 pounds or wants to take an extra bag, they have to pay a fee. That's what I don't like. Otherwise, people who can pay more for a airline ticket have the right to better in-flight service.


How higher is the price of business and first class tickets compared to economy class on average? I know it's not that much of a difference for local flights, but I guess it's quite a difference for international flights, right?

I fly international a lot because I have family abroad and I go to visit them. Last time, I was seated immediately behind business class in the plane. It was so upsetting to watch all the business class passengers, dine and rest like "kings" so to speak. And there I am, all crammed up in my seat, eating a horrible meal.

I wish I could afford to fly business or first class.


A couple of years ago, I had to fly out to another city for school and since I was going to be there for a couple of years, I was looking at one-way tickets. But the one-way tickets were more expensive than round-trip ones because the round-trip airline tickets had a discount.

So what I ended up doing was I bought a round-trip ticket and I just didn't take the return flight. I don't know how right this is, but I was on a tight budget and needed to save as much money as I could.

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    • First class seats are comfortable and spacious.
      By: surpasspro
      First class seats are comfortable and spacious.
    • Economy seating is cramped and less expensive.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      Economy seating is cramped and less expensive.
    • Most airlines issue e-tickets in place of paper tickets, however e-tickets can be printed.
      By: w00kie
      Most airlines issue e-tickets in place of paper tickets, however e-tickets can be printed.