Airline Consolidator & International fares

  • Majority of travel agents prefer an airfare consolidator when they need to book international fares.
  • There is an increased demand for booking international flights in recent years.
  • Consolidators allow travel agents to have huge discounts on business class fares. This makes travel agents capable of offering exclusive discounts to their customers.
  • Whether travel agents need to book international fares for an individual or a group, an airline consolidator is beneficial to them in both cases.
  • An airline consolidator can offer special deals on specific routes to travel agents. They are capable of doing special favors due to their strong negotiating power and long-standing relationship with airlines.
  • Consolidators generally have access to special inventory that increases the chances of getting the lowest international fares even on sold-out flights.
  • Besides cost savings, travel agents find a consolidator helpful in making complex itinerary easier. An airline consolidator is capable of dealing in multiple segments, including various origins, stopovers and also gives an excellent customer service.

10 Tips for Using Airline Consolidators

  1. Always use a credit card for ticket purchases, even if the firm charges a few extra bucks. Why? If you don’t get your ticket you can have your credit card company perform a “charge-back,” which removes the charge from your bill.
  2. When booking, ask when — exactly when — you can expect to receive your tickets. If you want the documents within a week or two and the company says it cannot accommodate you, find another consolidator. Chances are, you’re dealing with a financially unstable firm.
  3. If a firm takes a while to get the tickets to you, call the airline on which you believe you are booked to ensure that you’re ticketed. If you’re not, cancel the booking with the airline consolidator. If the air consolidator balks, call your credit card firm and put the transaction in dispute.
  4. Ask if the quoted price includes taxes and fees. Consolidators customarily list fare-only numbers and don’t reveal the total out-the-door cost until after your reservation is run through — while you waited on the other end of the phone. The resulting price may still be a steal, but it’s only fair that you know up front what you’ll be paying.
  5. Ask up front about frequent-flier mileage credit. In almost all cases, whether you get credit depends on each airline’s arrangement with each consolidator, so don’t assume that because you earned miles using one consolidator that you’ll get the credit every time you buy from that firm.
  6. If a quoted fare is higher than a promoted price, ask if there’s any way for you to tweak your schedule to get the better deal. Sometimes the promoted fare has limited availability, but other times it’s available if you’re flexible.
  7. If a low fare is sold out, ask the consolidator if it expects to have access to more seats at that price as the flight date draws near. Often an airline will release more cheap seats to consolidators for flights that aren’t selling well.
  8. Always verify, both when you make your reservation and when you receive your tickets, the restrictions, cancellation policy, ticket delivery methods and total costs, as well as the name and dates on the ticket. Errors can be difficult or costly to fix if they’re not brought up right away.
  9. Seriously consider purchasing travel insurance, which averages about 4 to 8 percent of the value of the purchased goods or services. This can protect you if a firm — consolidator, airline or agency — goes bankrupt or vanishes between ticket purchase and travel dates.
  10. If you’re absolutely wary of working with a consolidator directly, shop for a travel agent who buys from the industry. Many do, and though you may pay a few bucks more than you would on your own, you can still save a bundle off published fares and get the security and service of working with a full-service agency.

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