In 9 out of 10 cases, a long-awaited trip, business trip or just a vacation with your family begins with the purchase of air tickets. And more and more people prefer independent travel planning to convenient, but formulaic package tours. To buy a plane ticket is, of course, an everyday matter, but it will be useful to study some of the details of this issue deeper.
Who sells plane tickets
In the last century, agencies sent passengers on a flight by appointment. A person came to the office or called, announced the destination, the operator entered his last name and issued a ticket. At the slightest problem with the departure of the plane or the transfer of the flight, the passenger inevitably faced difficulties.
With the development of air transportation, it became necessary to create a common network, which was implemented in the form of global ticket booking systems such as Amadeus and Galileo (there are several more, but these two platforms are the largest). Their databases offer tickets for hundreds of air carriers, and this is the information that thousands of travel companies work with. The main online ticketing sites are airlines, travel agencies, metasearch engines, and online ticket agencies. Let's consider these options in more detail.
The assumption that you can buy a ticket from a carrier much cheaper is incorrect. Airlines tend to distribute them in packages - for large and small wholesalers and for individuals. Based on this, tariff rates are formed. Naturally, the carrier sells tickets to individuals at the highest price, and it may exceed other offers on the market.
The airline offers a limited selection of tickets - only those flights and destinations with which it operates. And if it is a foreign organization, you will have to study the information on the site in another language.
Ticket sales are not the main and far from the priority activity of carriers, so their online purchase services are not always user-friendly.
There are chances to buy a ticket from a carrier at a very favorable price, but they are not great. We are talking about one-time promotions - discounts, bonuses and special applications. The airline may give a sale or offer exclusive prices on certain flights, new or unpopular destinations, but this option is only suitable for those who do not care where and when to fly, as well as the lucky few.
The main advantage of buying tickets directly on the airline's website is the guarantee that in the event of any overlaps, the airline itself will bear responsibility, which, as a rule, resolves such issues as soon as possible and in favor of the passenger.
It is also possible to buy a separate plane ticket in a travel agency, but it will try to sell the full package: hotel, transfer, excursions, additional services.
It is advisable to contact travel agencies if you are interested in buying a whole tour, if you need to get advice on the peculiarities of recreation in the country, there are difficulties with foreign languages, or if you want to have a representative in a foreign country, since there is no experience of independent travel.
If you prefer to organize the trip yourself, you have a difficult or unusual route and have certain preferences for the price, the two previous options will not suit you.
But the search for air tickets using metasearch sites is suitable. They should not be confused with online ticketing agencies. Metasearch engines are connected to the databases of airlines and online agencies, which allows them to quickly select the best options according to the parameters you set. As a rule, you can filter the route by price, carrier, presence and absence of connections, departure time and other conditions.
However, you will not be able to buy a ticket here - to purchase the selected flight, you will need to go to the OTT website (online travel agency) or directly to the carrier's website. Actually, metasearch companies live on commissions for switching and buying a ticket from partners.
It happens that when going to the website of an agency or an airline, an unpleasant surprise awaits the user - the final cost of the selected ticket turns out to be higher than that stated on the metasearch engine. It may also turn out that tickets for this flight have already been sold out. Do not take this as an attempt to deceive the passenger - as a rule, this is nothing more than the costs of running the databases.
Metasearch engines can also offer services such as announcement of the best deals, contests, promotions, etc. So if you are constantly planning independent travel, then it makes sense to register on the site you like and use its services to the fullest.
Online ticket agencies
Specialized online agencies, which are increasingly appearing on the market, in fact, combine the functionality of metasearch engines with the ability to immediately buy the selected ticket. Actually, their disadvantage is that, as a rule, more airlines are connected to the databases of metasearch engines and they are able to “see” some special offers, as well as charter flights, which are inaccessible to online agencies due to the specifics of doing business.
Of the obvious bonuses that online ticket agencies offer, it is worth noting:
- the ability to immediately set a complex, compound route;
- the ability to compare and analyze the cost of tickets using a special scale for seasons and days;
- accrual of bonuses and discounts for regular users;
- the possibility of buying a ticket by installments;
- saving the search history and more.
Online ticket agencies often also offer hotel reservations and car rental abroad.
How to buy a ticket online
The principle of buying tickets on sites for their sale is intuitive and simple. You set the route, choose dates, indicate, if important, some other parameters (for example, "only direct flights" or "only daytime"). After you have made your choice, click "Buy" and proceed to filling in the fields to pay for the ticket. Enter your last name, first name, date of birth, passport details. Pay in a way convenient for you (most often with a bank card).
For international flights, it is necessary to enter the data of the international passport, for traveling around the country - the Russian one.
Check your email and make sure that the company has sent you a confirmation, and all the information on it is correct. If you are registered on the website where you bought the ticket, your ticket will also be saved in your personal account. Just before the trip, check in for the flight, print the e-ticket or save it in a special application on your smartphone.