How to Find Cheap International Airfare
you've been shopping for cheap flights online, you have encountered
hundreds, if not thousands, of sites selling airfares. These sites are
made of Mega Online agencies, Airlines, Online Airfares Specialists,
Traditional Brick and Mortar (B&M) Travel agencies. Not only does
this present a huge pool of resource to wad through, it is also
compounded by the fact that there are international versions of each of
these sources to find cheap international flights.
What is the best way to find a cheap international flight?
First it is helpful to understand how the market for international
fares works. Official "published" international airfares are largely
governed by IATA (www.iata.org), the body that all major international
air carriers belong to. IATA regulations forbid the direct discounting
of tickets directly to passengers. IATA prices are set at high levels
and results in all airlines selling at this exact same high price for
IATA prices are the most common and readily available airfare prices to
all online and B&M Travel Agencies. This is the reason why you
sometimes see many online travel agencies that have not only the same
price for an airline, but also different airlines all having the same
price for the selected flight itinerary.
If every company has the same price for flights because of IATA, how do I find a cheap international flight?
International airlines have a way to get around the IATA rule against
discounting airfares. IATA allows its members to offer companies known
as Consolidators, airfares at a significant discount and then it looks
the other way when the resellers pass some of the savings on to
passengers. By selling excess capacity at reduced prices to
consolidators, an airline can sell tickets that otherwise might not be
sold. Consolidators then resell these tickets to some online and
B&M Travel Agencies. This results in savings that can be passed on
to you for cheap international flights.
Why Don't Airlines Provide These Cheap Fares to All Travel Agencies Instead of Only to Consolidators?
Consolidators are companies that buy large quantities of tickets from
the major airlines at bulk prices and resell them at attractive
discounts. The airlines deal with a very few number of consolidators
compared to the number of online and B&M Travel Agencies.
Particularly on international flights, consolidator fares are generally
the best discounted airfares available.
Now that I understand how the market for consolidator fares for cheap international flights work how do I find them?
Many online sites for cheap flights do not offer consolidator airfares.
The main reason it is extremely complex technology to include
consolidator airfares in their online booking engines. Also, many
B&M Travel Agencies do not even search for consolidator fares when
you contact them about looking for international airfare
In 2004, only 4% of online booking engines contained consolidator
airfares. Therefore you must find these sites by searching for key
words which describe consolidator airfares such as "consolidator, bulk,
net and negotiated" fares.
I have found an online site that sells consolidator airfares for cheap flights, is my search done now?
The simple answer is No. Firstly, like any business, online or B&M
Travel agencies need to make a profit. They first purchase the ticket
from the wholesale consolidator and then mark up the price to you for
their profit. Different agencies charge different mark ups which can
vary by hundreds of dollars. Therefore, you should shop around for the
best fares because once you find consolidator fares, different
companies will have different mark ups for the exact same flight.
will save you between 10 to 70% on international flights and therefore
it is one of the best ways to save money when you travel.
About the Author: Naman Budhdeo is a contributing writer for Flight Network, which offers cheap flights worldwide.