A flight itinerary is a proposed route for your flight and includes details like the airports, dates and times.
Whenever you book a flight, you immediately get multiple emails with a receipt and itinerary, and—once your flight is confirmed—your ticket. It can be a little confusing to figure out what’s what, so let’s look at the difference between a flight itinerary and a ticket.
A flight itinerary is a proposed route for your flight. It includes the departure and arrival airports, connecting airports (if any), dates and times of the flights, flight numbers, passenger name, any meal preferences (if applicable), and your confirmation number.
Most of the time, you get an itinerary after you book your flight, but you can also get a proposed itinerary by “reserving” your flight if you need it to apply for a visa. Many airlines will allow you to place a hold on a flight and lock in the price for a certain amount of time (often 24 hours) either free or for a fee, so you can come back and book it later. Others will keep your itinerary saved for up to 72 hours (though the price is not guaranteed).
The itinerary can be a proposed route or a confirmation of your travel plans, but you’ll still need to check-in and get a ticket to board the plane.
Itineraries are great for an overview of your trip and for sharing your travel plans with friends, families, or co-workers. If you need proof of onward travel (for a tourist visa, for example), your best bet is to have proof of a plane ticket out of the country. Some countries are stricter than others, and a plane ticket is unquestionable.
In most cases, your airline will email you a copy of your itinerary. If not, you can go to the airline website and find it under your trips (many airlines have a section, often called “manage booking” or “my trips” or something similar, where you can pull up your itinerary by inputting your name and confirmation number). You can also call the airline or ask your travel agent for your trip itinerary.
Depending on what you are booking, your itinerary may include one of several options: a one-way flight, roundtrip flight, or a multi-city flight.