Let’s start with an explanation of Online Airfares. It is important to note that in the airline business, as well as with most any another business enterprise, there are three distinct tiers of sellers in the marketplace.
First of course is the major domestic and international airline carriers. Next, you will find the airfare wholesalers, who are often referred to as consolidators. The consolidator buys empty seats from the airline, and they resell those seats to travel resellers.
Unless you buy a seat on a flight directly from the airline, then you are often buying from a travel reseller, which sometimes takes the form of your local, neighborhood travel agent.
Of course, the airline would prefer to sell you your seat directly, because they will get to keep all of the markup for themselves, thereby increasing their profit margins. But the system has been set up in this way to assure the airline that they will be able to fill all of their seats.
Let*s face it, empty seats generate zero revenue. The airlines figure that they would rather discount some seats than to fly half full. When the airlines sell seats to consolidators, they often do so for as much as 70% of off the regular published airfare prices! Since the discounts are so deep, there are a lot of consolidators willing to jump in and sell seats for the airlines. Imagine that.
This means that the person in seat 2B might have actually paid twice as much for his ticket as did the person in seat 2C! This is because the person in seat 2C was willing to shop around for a better price, whereas the person in seat 2B just called the airline and bought his ticket at the regular rate.
It actually happens everyday where a shopper will find a ticket for half of what they would expect to pay for the ticket, but by the time they get to the checkout screen, the ticket has already been sold. In some cases, the shopper had the chance to buy directly from the consolidator instead of from the reseller/agent who is trying to beat them to the punch.
This is also the reason that if you shop for an airline ticket online, you might find the same ticket at five different sites at five different prices. Let*s face it, all of the consolidators have their own defined markup on the tickets they sell, and each of the resellers/agents also have their own markup on your ticket. Everyone needs to make a profit, right?
But, some companies charge a higher markup, while others charge a lower markup. Whereas the big consolidators might charge a $150 or $200 markup on the tickets they sell, there are other consolidators like that charge only a $50 markup on a resold ticket.
Before you actually buy your ticket, we would strongly suggest for you to shop around and try to see all of the sites that resell airfare, be it consolidators or resellers, and see for yourself who has the best prices.
We believe that you should always get the best price you can get for airfare; that is why we wanted to share with you how the system works. The more you know, the more likely you will be able to save your hard earned money for the really important things such as extra gifts, shows, and other activities.
One last word on this topic. Some websites that you visit might actually be affiliate resellers. The hard lesson about affiliates is that they do not always have quick and efficient customer support, and they may not be able to change or cancel your ticket, if you need them to do so.
There are many quick and efficient ways you can check a site to see if you are on an affiliate site. I am listing two of those methods below. Be aware of these things when you are ready to buy from a site, so that you don*t buy your airfare from an affiliate reseller.
– If you mouse over a link, you will see the URL of the link in the bottom of your Internet Explorer browser window. If it is different from the URL that appears in your Address Bar at the top of your Internet Explorer browser window, then you will know that you are on an affiliate site.
In conclusion, we do encourage you to shop around and find the best rates on airfare. We only ask that along the way, you stop at our site to see if we can actually beat our competition on airfare prices. You might be glad you did.