Consolidators or wholesalers are companies that buy airline tickets at very low prices in bulk and then sell them off to public at a discount rate than the original price set by the airline. They are the cheaper means to buy airline tickets from, because even after they have deducted their profit on the tickets, they are still cheaper for normal people like us. You must be wondering why airlines sell tickets at low prices. Actually, not all flights are booked seat-to-seat by the passengers. Because of this reason the airlines or air travel agencies have to sell tickets in order to make a full flight. And of course everyone involved in this game makes a profit this way.
You might have heard of brick & mortar travels or B&M Travels as they are commonly called. They are the offline consolidators specializing in providing cheap airfare to their customers whenever the demand for a certain flight grows. Online consolidators are also available and they are becoming increasingly popular these days. They are called online travel consolidators. Many websites that you will encounter while searching for cheap airfare are of these consolidators or air travel agencies. They are there to help you out in finding the cheapest flight, whether it's national or international, and they also advise you on choosing the right time for booking these flights.
Consolidators in the field of international air travel are the most helpful and useful source of saving a lot of money on airfare. Of course people are always looking for these consolidators or online cheap travel agencies to benefit from the services they have to offer. However, there are some points you should keep in mind before booking with one of these agencies. First of all, keep your options open. Consolidators all around the world offer different discount rates. Sometimes, you save only 10% and at other times, if you are lucky, you can even save up to 70% on your airfare! But it needs a little research and careful investigation before you can find such a consolidator. Furthermore, it also depends on the time of your flight and some other considerations including the destination location and the popularity of an airline.
Secondly, check the price of the airline ticket offered by your consolidator and see if it is inclusive of tax and other fees. Sometimes these companies list only the ticket cost and exclude taxes until the time of payment. This way they can advertise themselves quite cleverly, but do not fall in their trap. Check with other companies and compare their prices. Some websites let you compare prices only through a few clicks and a little information you provide. If possible, wait for a whole season and then see if the ticket rates have reduced. Then book yourself in advance to enjoy affordable and cheap airfare when the time is ripe.
You can tell the agent about the frequent flier program if you are enrolled into one. The consolidator will see if they find a matched price on one of the flights and will book you on it. If time is not of importance then tell your consolidator how flexible your dates are. They can find a good flight for you at the lowest possible price on a weekday or when there is little rush. This way you can travel safer and cheaper. Last but not the least, always check and double check you name and date of the flight and reservation after you have been handed over the ticket by your consolidator. Like every other business, there are traitors and dishonest persons out there so you need to keep an eye open.
Follow these steps and you will find a good consolidator very soon whether you are planning to fly national or international. Here are some consolidator websites to help you start your search from: Travelocity (travelocity.com), Hotwire (hotwire.com), Expedia (expedia.com), Cheap Travel (cheaptravel.com), and Airfare Choice (airfarechoice.com). However, do not rely on just these sites, as already said, keep your options open and keep looking for better and more reliable websites and consolidators to fly cheaper on your next trip.