Europe Hotels Articles

August 8, 2010

Learn The Pros And Cons Of Cheap Consolidator Airfare Tickets

Most smart air travellers know the one main single reason of buying cheap consolidator tickets over the regular published airfare tickets is huge savings of around 30%-50%.

Most of the time, you are almost likely to find that consolidator airfare tickets beat the regular airfares hands-down.

Of course, there are the rare exceptions when airlines do their own special promotions like a new route or do a marketing promotion for a certain event at a destination.

In these cases, airlines could easily price their airfares cheaper but you still have to book these cheap airfares direct with the airlines either online at their website or offline through their travel agents. In these rare cases, consolidator airfares are likely to be pricier but not much.

Still, pricing is not the only reason why you should buy consolidator airfares for your travel.

Here are at least four other reasons why you are apt to find consolidator airfare tickets useful:

1) Short notice or last-minute travel
Consolidator airfare tickets are almost invariably cheaper and you could get it at a short notice sometimes without breaking the roof for the regular published airfares.

Airlines that find they cannot unload unsold inventories closer to the departure date may opt to discount these airfare tickets heavily to consolidators who advertise them as their own cheap discounted last minute airfare deals.

To the airlines, it is better to fly full at cheaper airfares rather than fly half-empty at the full air ticket fares.

Further, by dealing with air travel consolidators, they don’t risk antagonising those passengers who may have paid full airfares earlier or in advance.

2) Round the world (RTW) multi-stop itinerary
If you plan to travel around the world, your best choice of finding the cheapest airfares for your trip is likely to be those specialist consolidators who are expert at arranging such multi-stop trip tickets.

If you do it yourself, you may find it bewildering to deal with so many permutations of different airlines, routes, flight schedule or airfare levels (though it is not impossible).

These round-the-world (RTW) consolidators could even string you a global trip if you plan to travel to faraway destinations like Australia, Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe and you will be surprised that you may only need to top up a little bit on these consolidator airfares to just one of the location for the price of all.

Most airlines don’t have routing all over the world and thus the RTW air travel consolidators not only are able to tailor make the flights to your schedule but at the same time, make it the cheapest schedule for you.

3) Exotic or long trip travels
If you plan to travel on a long holiday or to travel to off-beaten destinations like Peru or Bulgaria, air travel consolidators may have the edge up their sleeves to get you the best airfare ticket or schedule.

This is because such places or itineraries are likely to be serviced only by few experienced or regular travel agents.

4) Bulk airfare tickets purchase
If you are planning to purchase airfare tickets in large numbers, like for a group or organisation or even for your once-a-year family and relatives gathering, consolidators are likely to be your best bet to get the most airfare savings.

Airlines are not likely to give one-off discounts for such airfare ticket purchases by the normal travellers.

Still, despite all its advantages, one still need to bear in mind the shortfalls of buying and holding a consolidator airfare ticket. Here are four main things to watch out for:

1) More restrictions than regular airfares
Well, it is a trade-off if you want to get the large airfare savings of the consolidators. Consolidator airfares are almost always non-refundable and there could be restrictions like not being able to change seating, to get a free upgrade or change airlines.

Some consolidator tickets from certain airlines may not also entitle you to frequent flyer mileage so be sure to check this point as well before paying.

2) Lack of financial backing
A lot of air travel consolidators operate on thin margins and as such, some have gone bust in the past leaving their customers who bought their airfares in the lurch. Some of them also do not believe in customer service and you may find it hard to lodge any airfare complaints with them.

Still, these problems could be avoided by sticking to the larger and trustworthier air travel consolidators rather than aiming for the cheapest airfare consolidators.

In addition, look only for air travel consolidators that accept credit cards only as you are typically entitled to a refund from the card providers should the consolidator go bust or unwilling to honour its part of the air ticket bargain.

3) Choice of airlines or tickets
Note that you may not get your choice of airlines on consolidator tickets, which may aim for the airline that could offer the cheapest contract airfares to the consolidators.

This could be a problem for travellers who worry about security and customer service of different airline companies especially the foreign ones although note that consolidator airfares nowadays could be obtained on a lot of reasonably good quality foreign airlines.

At the end of the day, you just have to decide whether the issues are worth the consolidator airfare savings.

4) Access to air travel consolidators
Some of the best air travel consolidators may be based in their home countries and do not have a representative in your country.

While you can still pay and ask the consolidator to mail the airfare tickets to you, invariably these may provide timing and commitment risk.

Again, this could be mitigated by always sticking to the larger and longer established air travel consolidators in the market.

Ultimately, the advantageous of consolidator air tickets and their savings do overwhelm that of the drawbacks.

Again, to cut the risk, always stick to the larger-based air travel consolidators to buy your tickets from rather then finding the cheapest consolidator airfares among them all.

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