The difference between a cheap international airfare vs. a cheap domestic search

Although U.S. domestic air fares are much more volatile (as prices change more frequently) the price difference between major travel destinations such as Orbitz, Travellokti, Expedia and Airlines sites is often no more than 10-20%. Domestic aircraft sellers fall into about 2 categories: (1) airlines and (2) online travel agencies. There are a few niche players but they serve a very small market. So, when shopping for a domestic aircraft, “when to buy” is usually more important than “where to buy”.

The opposite is true when negotiating an international airfare. “When to buy” is still important (e.g. don’t wait until the last minute) but “where to buy” is much more important. This is because air fares in Europe, Asia, Africa and South and Central America are a bit less volatile (often unchanged) but the price difference between different sellers can sometimes be 50% or more. There are several reasons for this, but the two main ones are (1) the type of rent that is paid and (2) the number of players on the field.

Type of rent

There are basically 2 types of international fares without getting too technical; Published and unpublished. 97% of the lease rent is published in the domestic market (day or take). A published rent you can refer to as retail rent. The airline makes fares and rules related to these fares and then publishes the information through a clearing house called Etipo (airline tariff publishing company). ATPO then distributes the fare to the worldwide distribution system. Online and offline travel agencies alternately recover these published fares through one or more of these systems. Everyone has access to rent. An undisclosed rent (also called a discussed rent) is still being disclosed through ATPICO but the “Rent Rules” section is an indicator of what allows the seller to access and sell this rent. This is basically a private rental. Another difference is that the published fares have to be sold at a fixed price (no mark-up or mark-down) when an individual fare can be identified. That’s why you see online and offline agencies add a service charge anywhere from ড 5 to 50 50 on a published fare ticket. With the fare in question, the airlines will receive a fixed amount and the seller will be allowed to mark (add his margin) with that fare. So, any seller can negotiate a $ 300 fare from New York to London Airline X and then mark it up and sell it for 5 345. Another visible difference between the discussed and published fares is that you will not see the price you paid for the ticket on many (almost all) fares. Instead you will see either much higher rent or just tax information. Published fares show exactly what you paid for the ticket (excluding any service charges). As a general rule, discussed fare tickets are often cheaper than published fare tickets (there are instances when an airline may have a “fire sale” that lowers the fare level in question) and therefore “where” is more important than “when”. When it comes to buying international airfare.


International airline sellers fall into the following main categories:

(1) Major airlines

(2) Charter Airlines

(3) Online travel agency

(4) Offline travel agency

(5) Global consolidators that sell to the public

()) Global consolidator that does not sell to the public

()) Ethnic consolidator or destination specialist

(8) Student Travel Consolidator

(9) Tour operator

Major Airlines

We are all familiar with American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM and many more These they offer airfares through their own websites and many other vendors listed above. They can offer web specials on their own website. They do not charge any service fee.

Charter Airlines

These national airlines are much more common in Europe than in the United States. A charter is basically when a tour operator “rents” or “charters” an airline to fly a passenger from the airport to the destination airport of their fare departure. There are a number of airlines that provide services from / to the United States with roots in the certification business. They regularly offer / to / year or seasonal services at a few selected U.S. airports in a few single countries. These are FAA approved and must comply with all airline safety rules and regulations. What sets them apart is their business model that usually allows them to sell seats cheaper than major ones. Some of these alternative airlines are LTU, Condor, Flyglobspan or Martiniere. They usually do not charge a service fee.

Online travel agency

The players in this category are Travelokti, Orbitz, Secitikets, Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire and more. They sell published and unpublished airfares. They charge a service fee. They habitually try to sell you other travel items such as hotel accommodation, car rentals, attractive tickets and / or travel insurance. If you are going abroad to buy a package on vacation (where the seller will bundle an air component with one or more plots of land) can be an option and save you money. In future articles I will cover the advantages and disadvantages of packages.

Offline travel agency

Also referred to as Brick and Mortar Travel Agencies, these are traditional travel agencies that allow you to enter, sit down and book your trip. Depending on the size and target market they can also double as an ethnic integration or destination specialist. They have access to rent direct consolidators that are not offered directly to the general public. Brick and mortar agencies almost always charge a service fee.

Global consolidators who sell directly to the public

Many times it is the travel agencies that have decided to “cut off the intermediaries” and go directly to the airlines to discuss their own airfare. This allows them to resell at a lower price without losing their margin. To get decent private rent, the global consolidator would have to sell the agency for 100 100 million annually. Most of the tickets in question are sold without any service fee. If a consolidator sells a published rental, they regularly add a service fee.

Global consolidators who do not sell directly to the public

In the days leading up to online internet travel, very few companies will act as their own integrators. Instead they worked through the middleman (consolidator) who contracts with the airlines. A consolidator will negotiate the same $ 300 as mentioned above, add its margin and then sell it to a retailer. The retail agent would then add its margin and sell it to the public. With the size of the Internet, agencies could reach a much wider audience and therefore acquired the strategy of direct negotiations with airlines. Nevertheless, there are still many companies, offline and online, that fly Middleman Consulate. Mere volume consolidators can offer any airline these fares can still be negotiated after several mark-ups.

Ethnic consolidator or destination specialist

These are probably the least known (by the general public) sources for cheap airline tickets. These are quite difficult to find. The United States is a nation of immigrants and ethnic integrators have historically served their former patriotic or immigrant community. These were and still are a cheap source for flights back home. Unlike global consolidators that can sell more than 250 250 million a year, these ethnic outlets can turn out to be just over -5 2-5 million a year but most of it can go to 1 or 2 carriers. These are highly specialized and have long lasting relationships with their preferred careers. These long-term, reliable relationships mean that some ethnic mom and pop operations are able to secure 20-30% lower airfares than online mega agencies. Destination experts like ethnic integration in terms of size and style. They have become true experts in a country or region and have built relationships. The difference is that they often target foreign independent travelers (FITs). As I mentioned, these few outlets can provide in-flight bargaining chips that are often hard to beat but the challenge is finding them. Google and Yahoo and no other search engine often find them.

Student Travel Consolidator

As the name implies these are agencies that target students (and in some cases faculties). As a global consolidator, they go to airlines and discuss special discounts or personal fares. The difference is that under the agreement with the airlines, they are only allowed to sell to fan students (and faculty). Often students have to be admitted to a recognized college or university and high school students are not eligible. The same goes for the faculty. Some companies are better than others at ensuring that the ticket they bought is actually a student.

Tour operator

Tour operators are entities that sell vacation packages such as all-inclusive etc. Etc. They deal with airlines, hotels, ground operators and package them together, identify them and then sell them to the public as a product. On occasion they will sell only airfare (at rock bottom prices) to fill the vacant seats on the aircraft. Since they have a fixed price that they have to pay the pilot, any vacancy is an opportunity. The best chance of getting one of these cheap seats is usually in the Caribbean or Mexico.

Plenty of sources for international airfare. Finding the right one at the right time can make all the difference to whether you get a good hire or a big deal. Frequent (lucky) time spent signing a domestic airfare agreement results in knowing where to look for a great international deal.