Purchasing airline tickets through consolidators can be to your advantage, but there are occasional downsides. Foremost among these is the difficulty of finding a reputable company that offers the cheapest rate. As consolidators do not usually advertise their services, the passenger has to search for them online. When the passenger finds one, he may not accept the restrictive conditions that are tied to these cheap tickets. Additionally, tickets from consolidators are usually non-refundable, so if a flight is delayed or cancelled the passenger is not entitled to any compensation.
Terms to the Letter
Another potential turn-off is the difficulty in modifying the terms and conditions of the consolidator ticket. Passengers who find it necessary to change their travel itinerary will not be able to rebook their tickets because consolidator tickets can be used only for a particular schedule or route, and any deviation can result in its cancellation. In exceptional cases when rebooking is allowed, the airline may charge expensive penalties. Additionally, consolidator tickets are also “non-endorsable,” which means that these tickets are not honored by other airlines in case of re-routing or ticket cancellation.
Low on benefits
Consolidator tickets are also constrained by a lack of benefits that usually apply to airline tickets bought at regular fare rates. For instance, passengers may not be able to earn frequent flyer miles or points on their consolidator tickets. In addition, they are ineligible for seat upgrades and other airline promotion that are normally available to regular fare ticket holders.
Too Good to be True
Lastly, sometimes passengers who think they purchased cheap consolidator tickets find the opposite is true because airline companies may offer cheaper rates than consolidators during certain periods. For instance, airlines offer discounted tickets during off-peak season to beat competition. In such cases, passengers who bought tickets in advance from consolidators might find they purchased more expensive tickets with restrictive conditions.
But more Boon than Bane
However, more passengers believe that the benefits of a consolidator ticket outweigh potential disadvantages. For them, getting the cheapest air fare is still the ultimate motivation, and restrictive conditions that apply to it are part of the whole package. Passengers who wish to take advantage of the cheapest fares can be guided by practical tips that will ensure optimum benefits of a consolidator ticket.
First, the passenger should work with an experienced travel professional in dealing with consolidator tickets who can ensure the tickets were sourced from a bonafide and reputable consolidator. The passenger is assured that a ticket purchased not only offers the cheapest fare but will be honored by the airline company despite its restrictive conditions.
Another tip is to look for good consolidators in local newspaper advertisements and on the Internet. It is also worthwhile to research a consolidator’s track record, which is usually available on travel websites. If the passenger opts to purchase from a consolidator online, he has to make sure he is able to contact the consolidator by other means. This will be very practical in cases of emergency.