If you usually buy flight tickets online, you may have found that the same ticket could be purchased on several different websites.
- Buy from the Airline website
All of these websites may seem the same, but although the differences do not always appear, the fact that you search on an airline page, in a travel agency, or with a search engine, can influence aspects such as availability, after-sales service, or price. That’s why it’s worth it that next time before you book your ticket, you’ll stop to think about where you are and what you can expect.
The airlines, in addition to offering the passenger transport service, also directly manage the reservation of the same, making flight tickets available to anyone who wants to acquire them.
Since agencies are not intermediaries, American Airlines Reservations usually sell the cheapest tickets. A study conducted on a random sample of 20,000 searches, we found that 76% of the time, the best price was given by the airline. However, this is not a fixed rule, and the percentage varies considerably if we analyze separately the prices of low cost and those of traditional airlines.
Another difference between buying the airline or the agency is that in the case of the airline, the final buyer has more direct control over the reservation and on aspects such as the location of seats or participation in promotional or loyalty programs (for example, miles).
- Buy from a Travel Agency
Travel agencies are intermediary agents, which means they take airline tickets, and then they are the ones that sell them to the final traveler. As intermediaries, their prices tend to be higher than if the ticket is purchased directly from the American Airlines Reservations Official site, but this is not always the case.
The main characteristic of the agencies is that they provide an added value to the purchase, although the said value can be more or less interesting depending on the agency in particular.
For example, a good agency will offer interesting promotions or vacation packages in combination with several airlines with which it works, and with services such as booking hotels and rental cars. One of the cases in which it is more interesting to book from an agency is for long-haul trips with stopovers since when taking into account the routes of several airlines, the traveler will have more options to choose from, including different prices.
- Use a Metasearch Engine
The fundamental difference with the previous types of the reservation is that a metasearch engine does not sell the tickets, but rather it is a tool that helps the user find the best options among the available offer. When you search, the robot searches simultaneously on all the airlines and agencies websites and offers on a single page of results the flights found, sorted according to the user’s preferences and taking into account all possible combinations.
You should also know that search engines do not charge commissions. Once the search has been carried out, the user can verify that the prices offered in the comparison are indeed the same as those shown on the web of origin.
Think before you look
We hope that this article has served to clarify some concepts around a world as complex as the reservation of airline tickets online, where precisely because of the large number of options available it is even more important to be well informed.