Airlines typically provide discounts of 5–10% off of lowest published fares for leisure groups of 10 or more, even if you are not traveling together. For association or company meetings, domestic zone-fare discounts range from 40% to 70% off full, unrestricted coach rates, and do not require a Saturday-night stay.
The ones that are selling unpublished fares are typically selling consolidator tickets, which are the result of a contract between an airline and a flight ticket wholesaler. This generally only applies to international tickets, in the USA, the greatest percentage of consolidator tickets are round trips to World.
Find a consolidator fare
Travel agents score good deals by booking consolidator fares, which are discounted seats on less popular flights. While working with a travel agent who has established relationships is your best bet for scoring a consolidator airline fare, you can also find them on sites like TravelAgentMall.
Book sooner, rather than later
A recent report from travel site shows that the sweet spot for booking airfare is 21–28 days out from the date you hope to travel. Prices are likely to be higher outside of this window.
Search for best deals during the beginning of the week
Travel data shows that you’re likely to find better savings if you search for flights toward the beginning of the week. This happens because while fares are mostly controlled by software, humans push sales in certain directions.
Search on the airline’s website directly
Airlines sometimes offer connecting flights involving a codeshare agreement that doesn’t show up when searching on flight comparison websites
Consider booking a travel package
Travel agents can often score better prices for customers who book a full package. Some cruise lines, for example, offer specially priced airfare for travelers. While hotels are known for hiding deep discounts within inclusive deals, you can score big on discounted airfare too.
Weigh out all the costs
Travel agents know that the base price of a ticket rarely covers the total cost to fly, and they do the legwork to find customers the best overall value when it comes to ticket prices.
Try your hand at ‘open jaw strategy’
If you need to book a flight from New York to San Francisco, open jaw strategy would mean routing yourself from New York to San Francisco to LA, but leaving the San Francisco to Los Angeles portion unused, This tactic may not work for the most risk-averse travelers. “If you use this strategy in the middle of an itinerary, the sequential legs after the unused flight may be canceled by the airlines (not necessarily but not unlikely), so the unused portion should always be your last leg,” Backlund noted. “Pay attention to that.”
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