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The Air Travel Center holds various forms of sales, marketing and venture agreements with airline consolidators and air ticket agencies and travel product discounters based in cities on every continent. Your travel reservations and airline ticket orders will be processed by and your air tickets issued by the consolidator or agency whose booking engine you used to shop for flights and fares.

The Air Travel Center label is used to designate those booking engines which will display final prices that were set by The Center.

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To Shop & Book Flights By Departure Region  ↓

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To Track Airlines Aircraft & Cargo  ↓

   
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§   Finding the lowest available fare for a suitable flight on an acceptable travel date involves timing, strategy, knowledge, art and a wee bit of luck for when the first four criteria fail to locate the lowest price airline ticket.

¶  Timing is not everything but it matters a lot. The lowest fares of each year, across the world, are found during the shopping and travel period from 15 January to 15 April. May has intermediate flight prices. June, July and August are the most expensive months to shop and to travel. The period from 15 September to 15 December holds prices ranging from relatively low to intermediate on the high side. The Christmas through New Year holiday period (13 Dec - 07 Jan) has relatively high fares unless you fly on Christmas Day or New Years Day. The 3 days before and after all major holidays and large scale popular events will have premium pricing for flights on those days. The late hours and early hours of each travel day hold the lowest fares for that day. Shopping during the early hours might get you a low fare before it becomes sold out for that day or season. Shopping at least 21 days before your planned travel period avoids price hikes for late bookings. Traveling on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or sometimes Saturday is usually cheaper than other days. That low cost (or preferred) flight might be available this day but not that day, this season but not that season. Contracts held by airline consolidators normally bar them from selling their lowest fares less than five full calendar days before departure.

¶  Strategic shopping can net you a lower fare. A discount fare to your hoped for travel destination might be available at an airport within a reasonable distance from your home airport. A low cost airline might have flights available from a nearby field or an airline might be having a sale from that other airport to your destination. The same might be true at the arrival end of your planned trip. An alternate airport near your destination can yield a lower cost for a variety of reasons. Each airport has its own subset of airlines that serve it and those airlines have a different subset of destinations they serve from each airport and across different routes that present different costs to the airlines and to you. Airport fees and government (municipal, state, country) imposed fees and taxes can constitiute as much as half of the amount you pay for an airline ticket. International flights will accumulate the highest amount of taxes and fees but even domestic flight prices can vary appreciably depending upon which airports make up a flight route. Alternate airports and airlines and flight routes let you write your own discount for any travel date.

¶  Knowledge of airlines and airports and flight routes and aircraft and the air travel industry and airline ticket distribution systems is a key enabler for bargain hunters and for travelers who hold strong preferences. More than 1400 airlines are active around the world and nearly 4000 airline consolidators and air ticket agencies are ready to reserve a seat for you. Most of those airlines and air ticket sellers and resellers will not be relevant to each of your shopping efforts but that leaves you with plenty that are. Each ticket outlet will have their own set of fixed and operational costs and present you with a wide range of aircraft and routes and services and prices. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the ticket outlets available to you for each air travel shopping effort will prepare you to apply some art to obtain the values you want at a price you want to pay.

¶  Artful travel shopping begins with the application of timing, strategy and knowledge outside of and beyond the solitary Internet booking engine. One IBE is one outlet. Maybe one outlet is sold out of discount tickets for the itinerary you are shopping for. Maybe one outlet does not have a discount fare contract for the itinerary you want. Maybe one outlet is running a sale while another is not. Maybe one outlet holds contracts with airlines that serve that itinerary while another does not. Often, two tickets can be cheaper than one. A ticket into Europe coordinated with a ticket from there into Africa will often be 300 to 400 dollars less than one ticket from your home airport to Africa. A ticket to a Pacific Rim airport coordinated with a ticket from there to that South Sea island can save you as much as half the price of one ticket from your home airport to the island. A ticket from A to B with one outlet coordinated with a ticket from B to C with another outlet can save money or net a preferred itinerary. The art of air travel shopping goes far beyond the few examples given.

¶  Luck might be something like pushing the "complete your purchase" button a few seconds before another shopper and getting the last available seat at that very low price.

§  A multiple destination booking function is included with many Internet booking engines. Selector labels usually read multi-destination, multi-city, multi-leg, multi-stop or multi-something. While a primary value of the multiple destination tool is the ability to write your own itinerary with more precise dates and times and layover periods and stopovers, the multi function has many more values for online shopping. You can shop routes to avoid transit through an undesired country or avoid a layover at an undesired airport. You can shop to avoid airports and countries where taxes and fees are high or include an airport that has a low cost or preferred airline serving a flight segment you want to use or pick an airport pair in two countries that hold better trade relations (lower prices) or include an airport where a current fare sale will take you to the next airport you want to visit. The tool will facilitate your effort to build and shop your hand crafted itinerary and the Airline Travel Facility holds additional tools that will oft be of assistance.

Guidance for using the Air Travel Center

Airline Flight Shopping, the cost of not knowing

Air Travel Center on Facebook



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