The Super-Secret Language of Incredibly Cheap Travel Deals

You have to know a few things to score dirt-cheap flights.

travel mapDitty_about_summer/shutterstockSome people are so passionate about scoring travel deals that they basically take on a second job to keep up with the underground world where you can book flights for dirt-cheap. These deal hunters scour message boards that contain a secret lingo so airlines don’t catch on to book mistake fares and find loopholes that can get you really cheap seats.

(Make sure you know these other things airlines don’t want to tell you, but every flyer should know.)

If you want to get in on the action, you can look into sites like SecretFlying and FlyerTalk. These sites have message boards where people post about insane flight deals in a super-secret language. To an outsider, it looks like complete jargon, but to someone who does this all the time it looks like a ticket to Greece for 80 percent off.

The secret codes are constantly changing so that the airlines don’t notice, but Travel & Leisure got ahold of an expert to decode some of the lingo.


  • C1 = North America
  • C2 = Europe
  • C4a = including Colombia and Peru
  • C4b = including Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay


  • MapleSyrup = Air Canada
  • Patriot = American Airlines


  • Squeeze = Adding flights before and after the main itinerary to get the tickets for cheap
  • Trim the Fuel Surcharge = Booking a third flight after a round-trip that trims the fuel charge that’s added onto ticket prices
  • Virgin strike = nothing needs to be added to get the good deal

If you don’t think you’ll be able to keep up with this underground world, try these other (more user-friendly) methods to score cheap flights.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Senior Production Editor at Trusted Media Brands. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She works with our Production Coordinators to keep content moving and make sure that things are working well behind the scenes for all our digital sites. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.