- How To Find Cheap International Flights Online
If 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 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), a body of 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 international flights.
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
Why Dont 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
I have found an online site that sells consolidator airfares for
cheap flights, I done my search 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.
Consolidator fares will save you between 10 to 70% on international
flights and therefore it is one of the best ways to save money when
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