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Cheap Consolidator Airfares: 7 Sure-Fire Ways To Get Them

Aug 17, 2007
Looking for those cheap and rock-bottom international consolidator airfares?

Well, in the diverse world of air travel ticketing, there is no one way to guarantee that you will get the cheapest fares out there but your odds to get discount airfares are certainly many times better if you seek the consolidators tickets rather than the airlines official published airfares.

Remember that discounted consolidator tickets are very much just like a normal published airline fare ticket with the major difference being just that the price is not typically printed on the consolidator tickets.

Airlines basically do not admit they sell discounted tickets to consolidators, which are against the rules anyway and hence explains the no-pricing printout above.

Apart from the cheaper airfares, consolidator tickets have other advantages, usually requiring no advance purchase and no Saturday-night stay (typically for the US market).

In addition, you can normally still get cheap consolidator tickets at short notice unlike the inflated last-minute published air fares that could cost you a fortune.

Even then, you have to make sure you get those reliable consolidators that will offer the best airfare prices, and remember that not all consolidators sell to the general public.

Still, if you want to pay at least 40%-60% cheaper airfares than the guy sitting next to you on the plane, here are 7 sure-fire tips to be able to do just that.

1. Get a reliable travel agent who deals with a range of consolidators if you do not want the hassle of looking and doing the arrangements with the consolidators them.

A trustworthy travel agent is worth his weight in gold to you especially an experienced and knowledgeable one, much more than the small commission they charged nowadays for getting you a really cheap consolidator airfare.

Note that not all licensed travel agent do business with a whole range of wholesale consolidators, so try the specialised ones in the field to ensure you get all the cheap fare options on the table.

For more country-type trips or special itineraries, consider to look for the so-called "ethnic agency" consolidators that deals with only one country or region, since many have contracts with carriers based in the home country, such as Air India or EgyptAir.

2. Check airfares quoted by the travel agent with online discounters or consolidators, especially since these are the ones that you can check as they deal with the general retail public.

Obviously, you have to check the credentials of these companies as there could be many fly by night consolidators which may not have a strong financial background. Some of the strongest online consolidators include names like Onetravel.com, Flights.com, Faremax.com, Airlineconsolidator.com and Airgorilla.com.

3. For reliability, make sure the agents or consolidators are registered with national or international travel authorities such as the American Society of Travel Agents (http://www.travelsense.org) or accreditation with the International Air Transport Association (http://www.iata.org) or the Airline Reporting Corp http://www.arccorp.com).

Note that some unreliable consolidators have known to go bust big time at one point in the past, hence do not go for the cheapest consolidators without checking.

4. You can then check the best consolidators airfares against those specialised online sites that offer cheap airfares on their own. Most of these sites basically aggregate deals from the consolidators themselves like Hotwire.com and Priceline.com but some are the consolidator companies themselves that have evolved to serve the general public.

5. Check out also the aggregators. These are companies that typically scout for low airfares and then direct you to where to buy them. Some of these aggregators include Cheapflights.com and Kayak.com.

6. Try to be flexible and explore all the options. For example, some wholesale consolidators are also retail tour operators, and their tour package will thus tend be cheaper as they book in bulk for the tickets, hotel rooms and car rentals.

7. Finally, check the consolidators cheapest pricing against that of the airlines themselves. Most of the time, you will find that the consolidators offer you the cheapest airfares available.

However, on some occasions, the airline published airfares could actually be cheaper especially where there are intense price wars in a particular market or there are new promotions to attract demand for a new route or market.

These could cause the airlines to break their pact with the consolidators and charge even lower fares than the latter.

Consolidator airfares are now part and parcel of the airline ticketing industry and like it or not, consolidators are probably the best option you need to explore to get cheaper airfares.
About the Author
Steven Liew
Travel Research
Cheap Air Travel Club (CATC)

#The CATC club is comprised of like-minded free and fun travellers who just love to save on airfares and holiday bills. For more free tips and strategies on cheap consolidator airfares, just join us at http://www.cheapairtravelclub.com
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