ever wondered how an agent gets your airline tickets
and why they cost what they do? Here is a little primer
on the airline ticketing process, in a nutshell.
basically three ways for an agent to purchase tickets
blocks of seats at a wholesale rate and
sell them as you can. This is risky because you may
not sell them all and then you get stuck with a lot
of tickets that nobody wants. We don't do that, but
we do purchase by the second and thrid way.
fares. The airline sells the tickets to
us for the face value of the ticket and pays us a
commision from 0%-12(The general rule is that US airlines
have stopped paying commission altogether, and Europeans
do pay, but they are starting to follow the lead of
the US). In this case you can buy the ticket from
us for the same price that you can purchase it from
the airline. This is what many travel agents do. Unless
you sell a large volume of tickets to a certain area,
the airlines will not offer you discounted fares.
fares. The airlines sells the tickets to
us for a base fare and we can mark it up as much as
we want as long as we pay the airline what they are
selling it to us. I know that sounds good for us,
but in reality we can only mark the tickets up enough
so that they are less than the published fare, which
is becoming increasingly difficult as many times,
the published fare is less than than our net fare.
When this is the case, I send you straight to the
airline. Many agents will mark the tickets up $20-25,
but my philosophy is that if I'm selling it to you
for more than you could get it somewhere else, I'm
not doing my job.
the fares change so I have to search to find the airlines
that have the deals of the year. This year it was
a codeshare with American and Swiss. This works out
well because American flies from so many US cities
we have a lot of options(many of the net fares will
not allow codeshares) and the Swiss taxes seem to
be a lot lower, but you can read about taxes in my
Why are the taxes
so high page. These tickets are very hard to find
and I'll explain the process so you can see why the
computer sites like Expedia and Travelocity can't
find them(or don't want to look?).
the American/Swiss codeshare