As we all know, a plane ticket can be a "single" ticket or a "return" ticket. (Alternative terminology: a "one-way" vs a "round trip" ticket.) But is there a name for the set of ticket properties which includes "single" and "return" (and perhaps "multi", for a journey with multiple legs)?

For example, in this sentence:

He asked me what type of ticket I wanted to buy: a single or a return.

Is there a word more specific than "type" which applies only to this particular property of a travel ticket?

  • I just looked at several airline booking websites. None of them have any label next to the choice of one-way or round-trip. I don't think there's a common hypernym for these concepts. – Barmar Jan 25 '17 at 20:22
  • And looking at the underlying HTML, the names of the form fields seem to use phrases like "trip type". – Barmar Jan 25 '17 at 20:23
  • BTW, I don't think "single" and "return" would be understood in American English. "return" sounds like a one-way ticket that you would buy to get home. – Barmar Jan 25 '17 at 20:25
  • @Barmar yep, I realised that while talking to some American friends about my question. In the UK it's common to say "buying a return flight to X", which in isolation would be understood to mean that you bought tickets there and back, but in context could mean that you just bought a ticket for the return leg. "Round-trip" would probably only be used if you were actively trying to be unambiguous. – GMA Jan 27 '17 at 16:45
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    @AndyT: I wasn't clear earlier, for which I also apologize. The problem is that whatever you think round trip means, it's just A-B-A to any travel agent, web site, anyone in the industry, etc. – Xanne Sep 26 '17 at 18:03

There is no specific word for this.

You could invent one, but then you can't guarantee that the listener/reader will understand exactly what you mean.


What direction is your ticket?

It comes close, but I wouldn't immediately understand what you mean. This seems more like I'm asking which one-way ticket you have bought (A to B, B to A), rather than asking you if you have a one-way or return ticket.

A solution: don't name it.

There no need for you to name this property, because you go on to list the options. Listing the possible options immediately clarifies what you're talking about.

So instead of "type", you could use the context-agnostic word "kind".


a kind of
Something resembling.
‘teaching based on a kind of inspired guesswork’

For your example:

He asked me what kind of ticket I wanted to buy: a single or a return.

Note that you can even omit listing the options, if this is part of a larger story, if the continuation inherently explains what is meant:

He asked me what kind of ticket I wanted to buy.
Realizing that I was short on cash, I decided to buy a one-way ticket.

The context makes it clear what was being asked.

Another solution: rephrase.

Since "type" is awkward, and you can't think of a better word to use, why not avoid referring to it?

He asked if I wanted to buy a return ticket.

A one-way ticket is the opposite of a return ticket, so it should be clear from context that you were asked whether you want a one-way or return ticket.

This also omits needing to refer to the "type" in any way, as the context ("return ticket") already makes it clear what is being talked about.


Itinerary [ahy-tin-uh-rer-ee, ih-tin-] /noun, plural itineraries.

  1. a detailed plan for a journey, especially a list of places to visit; plan of travel.

  2. a line of travel; route.

Source: Dictionary.com

I chose this word because your itinerary directly correlates with the distinction you are referring to. Even, if you have a single way ticket, you would still account for any layovers and the general route of travel.

  • This does not seem usable as a direct substitute for type in the example sentence. It would require a completely different sentence for it to work, and even them I'm not quite sure this is correct. – Flater Sep 25 '17 at 12:24

I did some research, but examining the user-interfaces for the major travel websites.

None of them labeled the alternatives in a way visible to the user.

I checked the source code for the sites. Hipmunk.com internally refers to the attribute as... "type", as do Expedia and Orbitz. Skyscanner calls it "is-return". ITA-Matrix puts the alternatives on different tabs. Google Flights uses a meaningless code number.

In the industry, I cannot find a specific word . Sorry.

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