Airline, agency or internet … Which is better to book trips?

Dubai: Khansa Al Zubair
Online travel agencies are trying to attract travelers and make them book their seats on flights through them, so the agency is ready to offer comprehensive offers in addition to the travel ticket; From booking hotel rooms and car rentals to restaurant reservations and when it comes to flights, you can earn reward miles even when booking through these agencies. With all this, a question may arise: is it better to book a flight directly from the airline?

Airlines certainly prefer to book through them and for this to happen some of them do not allow websites to display the ticket price, which makes it impossible to purchase the ticket from these agencies, although online travel agencies have dominated the airline. ticket business for several years offering less Prices can be imagined, but the trend towards bookings directly from airlines has begun.

Flight points

Question here: Do airlines prevent travelers from seeking points when booking through an online travel agency?

The answer, of course: It does not happen. As for the actual accumulation of miles, you can book through the agency you want and earn these points during the process; However, each agency (and some are owned by the same company) works completely differently, so the only time you can not earn these points when booking from one agency is when you pre-purchase comprehensive itineraries, such as cruises and all. – inclusive tours.

Although it is possible to earn miles from the airline even by booking through an offline site, you can use these points to purchase a ticket only from the direct airline website or one of its affiliates, ie , when it’s time to earn points, booking through the airline is more rewarding.

Time and choice of destination

There are two tips that every traveler should consider this summer: First: COVID-19 is not over yet; So he may have to take the test before he leaves for his destination or when he returns from it. Second: there will be chaos.

A number of flights were canceled this summer, causing chaos and most analysts expect the “load factor” to rise to levels not seen since World War II.

smart time

Time is the most important factor when it comes to affordability. A recent analysis by Kayak found that flying in the middle of the week will save you more money, with flights averaging 13% cheaper on Wednesdays. Sunday is 15% more expensive.

For international travel, morning travel can help you save money; Because flights between 5am and 10am are 22% less than the rest of the day. The opposite is true for domestic flights, early morning flight is more expensive, while it is 12% cheaper from 10am to 10pm.

In all cases, it is preferable to book the flight in advance so that there is plenty of time and opportunity to take advantage of affordable flights. The delay forces the person to accept the offer before him to arrive quickly.

When booking through agencies

There are some situations where online booking through agencies can be helpful; If you are trying to book a complex route that requires a lot of flights, the option may be an agency, because an airline does not offer a range of routes according to the agency, especially for multi-stop international flights. The agency is also helpful when trying to book a flight with the hotel.

And if you have a balance of travel rewards, booking through the agency allows you to pay for the ticket and earn points on the card, as well as earn miles through the airline rewards program when you actually travel and of course you can pay with the same card. when booking directly through the airline if you do not have a company credit card; Today’s online travel agencies mainly offer comprehensive rewards programs to compete with airlines.

Agency programs vary in what they offer and how valuable and rewarding the rewards actually are. Some also offer great email notifications of price changes, which can be helpful when reviewing the trip and trying to find the right flight for the right price; Some even track flight prices for you and let you know when they are at their lowest expected price, something you will definitely not find with airlines.

Cost and benefit

When it comes to these two aspects, booking directly via airline is best; If the price changes after the purchase of the ticket, many of them return the price difference directly to the customer or save it as credit for a future flight ticket. In addition to convenience and reasonable price, there are many other reasons why your booking via airline is best for you, sometimes you can find the lowest last minute ticket price at the online agency, and sometimes there is a defect in its system that offers a very low price; But the best offers are always obtained when booking directly through an airline website.

What to keep in mind

Airlines sometimes offer special benefits when booking through them; Especially if you belong to his rewards and loyalty program, booking customers through the airline website can get bonus miles, free Wi-Fi, food and beverage credits, airport lounge access or priority discounts, and if you have their credit card you can earn benefits such as cash back when using the card to book directly through the airline website.

• When booking through online travel agencies, you may not be able to choose your place until you check in at the airport. Also, the best seats will be given priority to customers from the airline’s “loyalty program” category and you will book directly through it.

• Some airlines charge extra when booking through agencies, in an effort to get more passengers to book directly through the company website.

• When booking directly on an airline’s website, your voice is heard more when it comes to delays, changes to your booking or cancellation. If you contact the airline and your booking is through an agency, you are likely to return to the agency.

• In addition the airlines guarantee you the best price (lowest price); Many of them sometimes offer a discount coupon.

Expert advice

The best company

Yes, budget airlines offer unbeatable fares, but you could end up paying more for other things. Instead choose a major airline that has costs for things like groceries and hand luggage and do not worry about paying extra for these items on your flight, just fly on time (like mid-week ) to lower the price of your ticket.

Budget airlines often have very limited schedules and if your flight is canceled due to weather or other reasons, you may have to wait days for the next flight on the same airline.

Off-season destinations

Keep in mind that the choice of destination is at a time out of the tourist season and this makes you enjoy the best movement because there are not a large number of tourists and you can walk to the markets and museums more quietly. So you have to be your own destination different from the others.

Look for a destination similar to where you want to go, but the situation is not at the right time, or flight ticket prices are exorbitant this season. For example, instead of pushing yourself and your budget by going to the French Riviera this summer, go to Greece or southern Spain, where the prices are reasonable.

Plan B

You should always have Plan B, or Plan B.

With flights full, there is a possibility that a canceled flight could severely disrupt your travel plans for the coming days, so always be aware of your spare flights and take the time to check your departure morning online and keep in touch with some of the additional options flight to your destination, preferably with the same airline or one within the same alliance.

A site like Google Flights lets you rank by airline time, price and alliances.

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