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The air traveler’s goal is to always get the most inexpensive last minute airfare. And airlines are in the business of flying their air planes at full capacity at the highest price per seat. So every time you purchase plane tickets directly from an airline, the ticketing agent will sell you the most expensive seat possible.
SOME INSIGHTS TO THE AIR TRAVEL INDUSTRY
An airline lowers fares ONLY in relation to its competitors. They will not directly offer you a last minute airfare. In fact, they monitor each other’s marketing strategies very closely. Pricing of the air travel product becomes a tool of competition.
Meanwhile travel agencies and online travel service providers are in the business of discount pricing to the consumer. They are at the core of the vibrancy of the travel industry and are on your side. They will advise you of opportunities for savings that an airline will not share with you directly.
Airlines will even cut back on commissions to their appointed travel agencies to thereby force you the traveler to purchase from the airlines directly. So some agencies go out of business. Others survive until…
The online service providers continue to upgrade their systems to remain competitive and minimize their fulfillment costs.
So what’s the best move for you the traveler, to obtain travel products?
Shop online for your last minute airfare. Online transactions and negotiations are simple and even fun. Besides with the click of your mouse, you can do comparative travel shopping and get the best deals.
And that’s not all…
You save time and money.
Besides, online agencies even have 1-800 numbers to call their agency specialists to assist you! You can tele-connect to their specialists for advice.
So you need last minute airfare for let’s say, a sizable group and it is a challenge to finalize. Then, call for help.
Besides, you can even talk to an offline travel agency consultant for preliminary advice also — once it’s free. Then go travel shopping online.
BUT… to secure last minute airfare
You need to answer a couple questions before shopping…
Travel Shopping Guidelines
1) WHO ARE THE INDIVIDUALS TRAVELING?
Let’s say ou need to secure flight and hotel. If children are traveling with you, include their current ages at the date of intended departure. The costing for a two year old will differ greatly than for your teenager. And watch out for upcoming birthdays of your children too. A change from age eleven to twelve may cost you more money for last minute airfare
And once your group is large, predetermine sleeping arrangements for hotel rooms. You can win or lose some more dollars here.
2) HOW MUCH MONEY HAVE YOU ALLOCATED TOWARDS THIS VACATION?
This will influence the location and type of accommodation and facilities. You want to achieve the lowest investment for the most luxurious vacation possible that will be fulfilling to you and your party.
3) WHAT ARE YOUR PLANNED DATES OF DEPARTURE AND RETURN?
To arrive at accurate pricing and availability of flight and hotel, you need this information to begin an online search. Still, be flexible in your dates to facilitate especially flight schedules. Prices for plane tickets vary according to the day of the week, time of the day and even holiday periods.
And for the Caribbean, it may be best to negotiate a package vacation deal. This requires a specific date for booking and payment transactions.
4) WHICH AIRPORT IS BEST FOR DEPARTURE?
Airfares differ depending on large city or suburban airport location and further, according to airline. These can affect the pricing of last minute airfares and also flight availability. The leading established airlines dominate the larger airports in big cities.
And that’s where you will find most chartered flights.
Smaller independent airlines often must use airports in smaller cities. So a drive to a suburban airport may result in savings – plus cheaper parking, less traffic and overall congestion.
The flexibility of departing from more than one airport can result in discount airfare. So when travel shopping for last minute flights online, tinker around with more than one departure airports.
So how did online travel shopping really come about?
Some Background to Online Travel Shopping
Firstly, international air travel and domestic flights are two distinct markets. Their pricing strategies therefore differ.
1) ROLE OF INTERNET TRAVEL SITES
Long ago only the travel agencies and the airline reservations were able to enter the central reservation systems to sell tickets to the public. That means they were the only ones to access the published fares of the airlines.
That has now changed.
And how did this happen?
Much thanks to the world wide web.
Today, internet travel sites act as facilitators that allow you the searcher to go online, shop, compare prices and availability and even print boarding passes. The purchasing of last minute airfare for a domestic flight in North America for example, now benefits from the technologies of online agencies.
SPECIAL NOTE: Given seasonal demand, flights and hotels can sell out very quickly online.
Please know that availability and rates can change without notice. So when you find a discount package vacation deal that fits your needs, act quickly before it sells out. Otherwise…
You then have to start the search process all over again.
Acting quickly means…
You need to confirm your reservation with a credit card deposit or payment.
2) RESTRICTED OR NON-RESTRICTED PLANE TICKETS
Tickets are either restricted or non-restricted. With restricted there are a lot of regulations and heavy penalties if you attempt to cancel or change travel dates. Usually you cannot. The lowest priced plane ticket has the most restrictions. So read the fine print carefully.
With unrestricted tickets you can switch flights without paying penalties.
Ads for last minute airfare usually do not include fees and taxes. These are the hidden additional costs. So be careful. Most of the times, these ads are only for a few minimal seats. So you have to respond more than quickly to get onboard at that price.
3) WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AIRLINES DROP PRICES?
Reduced prices from the airlines are the beginnings of discounted last minute airfare.
Airlines want to travel near to full capacity always. That’s their business. Can’t blame them. They strategically drop prices on some seats just to ensure full capacity. The tickets for these seats become restricted OR more restricted.
Travel agencies then benefit from these savings. They locate buyers for these tickets. AND they do that well.
So that’s why…
Airlines now use the internet agencies that can move high volumes of air travel ticket sales. This way airlines operate at or near full capacity. Everybody wins! And you get great last minute airfare deals.
4) EXAMPLES OF HEAVYWEIGHT INTERNET TRAVEL SITES
These are some heavyweights. And they allow other website agencies to use their ticket technology systems. SO you can end up doing comparisons…
a.. On the same systems…
b.. Via different websites…
c.. For the same deals…
d.. At the same prices.
So don’t dissipate your efforts. Use the heavyweights
5) AND WHAT ROLE DOES IATA PLAY IN ALL OF THIS?
Firstly these letters represent the ‘International Air Transport Association.’ All the international airlines across the globe are its members. IATA facilitates free trade within the international air travel industry. And pricing for international travel is fixed. IATA gives its stamp of approval for the agreed pricing for international airfares and all the airlines abide by these rates.
So concerning international air travel… 6) HOW DO YOU GET DISCOUNTS FOR LAST MINUTE AIRFARE?
Well airlines are free to offer any level of commission to their agents. The agents pass some of these savings to you the consumer. This creates a discounted airfare that is legal.
And that’s where air fare negotiation occurs. With the travel agents. NOT at the level of the airlines. The hands of the airlines are tied to honoring their IATA membership code of ethics.
So buy your tickets via the agents or shop online. They are the engine room of this industry.
Now you know where and how to locate your last minute airfare.
Travelocity caribbean vacations
And what happens online is a combining of this reduced airfare with a discounted hotel rate packaged together for a period of time.
And that’s what you invest into. It’s now called a package vacation or a last minute package vacation and you will not know the price of either travel component. It does not matter really.
Expedia vacation package You pay for the package Orbitz caribbean deals and off you go with what is now last minute airfare to your Caribbean island destination via a chartered aircraft.
And you reside for a couple of days in a luxurious hotel resort…
To be on the sand of a lovely beach…
Sipping some exotic tropical beverage…
Preparing yourself for a swim and some snorkeling.
E-N-J-O-Y… your last minute airfare to Caribbean paradise.