There are lots of different ways to book your flight to Asia. You can visit your local travel agent, you can do it online, or you can just pick up the phone and call. Each method has its own relative advantages, and the method you choose will depend on your own situation. But there are several circumstances where you may need to use the phone to buy your tickets.
You may for example, have a complicated travel plan that requires multiple connections. Web sites are great for booking straightforward round-trip flights, but what if you want to fly into Bangkok, stay for a couple weeks, then go to Japan for a couple more weeks, then finish out your trip in Macau for a little casino action and then fly home from Hong Kong? Try doing that online! You’re going to need some human help. Yes, it is possible on some travel sites to book these multi-leg flights, but it’s complicated, and a skilled travel agent or customer service agent that understands all of the variables will more than likely be able to arrange it for you for a much lower price than you could arrange yourself over the Internet.
Also, although the online world of travel booking does offer a lot of conveniences, those unfamiliar with the Internet (yes, there are still a few) can still access those conveniences, along with a little personalized service, by ordering through a live person.
Can you still get the Internet Discounts?
Every travel web site touts “Special Internet Rates” for flights, and there truly are some great deals on these Web sites. And in some cases, especially with flights booked well in advance for straightforward journeys, the Internet will usually be the best deal. But in the end, those “Internet specials” are just marketing. If you see one of those special rates online, but need to book over the phone, take careful note of all the details, including the flight numbers, and ask the phone agent if they can give you the same deal. It’s not a sure thing, but in some cases, they’ll be able to give you approximately the same price.
A knowledgeable travel agent can still be worth their weight in travel miles. Internet discounts aside, a travel agent knows precisely how the booking systems work, and can use this insider knowledge to your advantage to get the best rate—and often unadvertised rates.
Putting it on Hold
If you find a great deal but need to do some last minute money-shifting to get enough money into your debit card, the phone can be your friend. The online travel sites will charge your card right away, but if you call the airline directly, most airlines will allow you to hold the ticket for 24 hours without paying. This gives you time to shuffle around your money, and call back the next day and make the payment. This is particularly important because plane fares change so quickly—it’s not unusual to find a great deal one day, and then go back the next day only to find out that the price is now a hundred dollars more.