How to buy airline tickets from a consolidator

Written by laura poeppelman
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Don't let the cost of airfare travel keep you from your next vacation abroad. Next time, use a consolidator fare. Airline consolidators purchase airline seats in bulk and resell them. By purchasing the seats in bulk, the consolidator can offer a cheap flight to your destination at a considerable savings. You can use a travel agent to purchase the ticket or browse consolidator fares and do it yourself. Some consolidators deal exclusively with travel agents and won't sell to the public.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Telephone

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  1. 1

    Select your desired travel dates and destination. Be flexible with your travel dates and select only large airports for departure and arrival, even if those airports aren't closest to your destination.

  2. 2

    Contact your local travel agent and ask if they book consolidated fares, or start researching on your own. If you use a travel agent, remember that they may charge a fee or add commission to your fare. Travel agents do have the most resources for booking consolidated fares.

  3. 3

    Visit if you plan to research your own consolidated fare. The United States Air Consolidators Association lists reputable companies that sell air consolidation with a scheduled airline, sell at least £13 million per year, incorporated in the United States at least two years ago and have no history of bankruptcy or ceased operation. You can refer to this list confidently to find a reliable consolidator for airline travel.

  4. 4

    Select the destination/region you want at on the pull-down "By Destination" menu. Click Search. A list of reputable companies who sell consolidated fares appears.

  5. 5

    Use the list to access company websites or call them to get quotes on your upcoming trip for a cheap flight. Always compare your selected flight with the airline's website to make sure you get the best deal.

Tips and warnings

  • Be creative when selecting your departure city. If you are a few hours away from an airport hub like Chicago O'Hare, use that city as your departure city.
  • Don't limit yourself by dates. Be flexible, if possible. Flexibility allows you to get the best deal on your flight.
  • Only use a consolidated fare when you are sure you are going. It is difficult and expensive to change once you have made your purchase.
  • For your protection, always use a reputable consolidator or a travel agency that you trust.

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