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Booking Flights 101

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One of the services we provide in our agency is booking clients’ flights…..just flights. Most travel agencies don’t offer that service anymore and there is a good reason why…..

Once upon a time, when there were no such things as “home computers” (much less laptops, iPads or smartphones!) the only way to book a flight was to call an airline’s 800 number (on a landline you may have shared with three other neighborhood families LOL) or go to a Travel Agent. Travel agencies in those days had airline ticket printers right in their office! Tickets, paper tickets, were generated and you walked out with it in your hand.

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Travel agencies sold lots and lots of airline tickets and they were the bread and butter of the business, because the airlines paid them well for each ticket they sold.

Enter the age of the personal computer and the internet….now anyone can book their ticket on any flight to anywhere and “travel agents” no longer get paid by the airlines when they do sell tickets.

SO, as you may have heard, a lot of travel agencies went out of business and those that stayed in business, adapting to the new title of “travel consultants or advisers,” either stopped selling tickets altogether or started charging a fee for the service.

I don’t mind admitting that I came into the travel industry after this all came about, so I never struggled with the idea of not getting commission on an airline ticket. I learned the industry software and started selling tickets for a fee.

HOWEVER, nobody HAS to use my service for booking their airline tickets and I’m happy to give you some pointers on how to make it easier to book your own. I will certainly continue to offer the service, should you need it, but here are some tips to help you DIY if you want to.

  1. BEST DAYS TO FLY?
    • Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.
  2. BEST PLACE TO LOOK FOR PRICING?
    • Kayak would be my consumer website of choice.
  3. WHEN TO BOOK?
    • Flights are published 330 days prior to travel date, booking earlier will generally get you better pricing ( due to supply & demand) BUT don’t book right when they come out as they price high.
  4. WHAT TIME/DAY IS BEST TO BOOK?
    • During the week between the hours of 10-11am or 2-4pm. Never check on weekends, evenings or holidays! That’s when everyone else is searching and booking and the airlines know that and prices are higher because of it.
  5. HOW TO AVOID PRICE INCREASES?
    • DON’T KEEP CHECKING THE PRICE! Seriously, the airlines closely monitor airfare searches and the more you search the same flight itinerary, the higher the price will go JUST BECAUSE YOU KEEP LOOKING. Get a base price the first time you look and if you aren’t happy with it, look once a week or so to see how it trends.
  6. HOW TO AVOID STRESS OF FINDING BETTER PRICING AFTER YOU’VE BOOKED? 
    • Same as avoiding price increases – DON’T KEEP CHECKING THE PRICE! If you purchased a ticket, you found the price reasonable, now let it go and get psyched about your trip. Flight prices are like the Stock Market, you could drive yourself crazy over the fluctuations and it’s truly not worth it!
  7. WHICH AIRLINE IS THE BEST?
    • Trick question with no right answer.
  8. ARE BUDGET AIRLINES OK TO FLY?
    • DO YOUR RESEARCH and then decide what you can put up with. 
      • Check safety records, equipment age, passenger reviews and extra fees that the airline charges. A budget airline that charges for seat assignment, checked AND carry on luggage, airport check in and food on flights may end up more expensive than a larger carrier that includes all those things in their ticket price.
      • Another thing to consider with smaller, budget airlines is who are they affiliated with? If they have no affiliations with other carriers and their one plane is Podunk has a mechanical issue, you’re not getting out of there anytime soon…..

I hope this information has been helpful. If you need our assistance, we are still offering to book your flights for a fee. However if you book your full vacation package with us, we never charge a fee for booking the corresponding flights. It’s the least we can do when you’re trusting your vacation to us!