Welcome to our comprehensive
Travel Portal. We hope you will find the answers to all your travel
needs here. These pages are designed to be used whether you travel locally
or around the world. We wish you safe travels.
Finding the best airfare may take some time, but most agree that the
effort is worth it. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Sister City Airports
Split City Tickets
Terms & Conditions
Bucket Shop Airlines
On-Line Reservations Systems
Saturday Night Stay
Corporate Contracted and/or Government Airfares
Airline-Specific Internet Sites
1. Sister City Airports:
Maybe you shouldn't be traveling to where you're traveling; maybe
you should be traveling near to where you're traveling. Although
nothing is set in cement, as a general rule, Midway is cheaper than
O'Hare, Oakland is cheaper than San Francisco, Canton is cheaper
than Cleveland, BWI is cheaper than either Dulles and/or Reagan,
and Providence is cheaper than Logan. Is it always practical? No.
It depends not only on the nature of the trip, but also the VIP
level of the traveler, the budget, and the window of time allotted
for the trip. Can a travel agency help? You bet. As opposed to an
Internet site that offers what it offers with no apology, a travel
agency is supposed to provide all options, and then let you decide
for yourself which is best.
2. Split City Tickets:
Have you ever noticed that, in a restaurant, ordering a-la-carte
sometimes gets you a better deal than buying the entire dinner?
Airline tickets work the same way. Sometimes, by breaking a ticket
into its component parts, you can come up with a cheaper fare than
if you just order a "through-ticket." Once again, this is where
a travel agency computer can benefit, analyzing each option in a
fraction of the time that you could do it yourself.
3. Carrier Selection:
In these days of industry polarization, airlines have become divided
into the so called "emerging" carriers (Southwest, Jet Blue, Air
Tran, ATA, Frontier and Spirit) and the "legacy" carriers (American,
United, US Airways, Delta, Northwest, Continental). The first tend
to make money, the latter tend to lose money. The first tends to
charge lower prices, the latter higher. Is there a correlation?
Most analysts think yes but, despite the fact that using a new airline
creates a certain level of anxiety, it is to the consumer's advantage
that support be offered to the carriers, forcing down, not raising,
4. Terms & Conditions:
In analyzing an airline ticket price, there is the base cost, and
then there are the extras: change fees, same-day standby fees, luggage
fees, and cancellation fees. A new wrinkle includes frequent flyer
points, and the choice of some airlines to penalize travelers with
lower awards when they buy a less expensive ticket. Who can help
sort out the options, and guide you through the minefield of extra
charges and penalties? We believe the travel agency is still best
for this service. The on-line reservation systems say they can match,
but not all agree. With the Internet, especially if you request
options by price, lowest is first, highest is last and terms and
conditions are often downplayed.
5. Airline Consolidators:Airline
consolidators are volume discounters that offer reduced rates to
specific locations, usually overseas, at sometimes half the cost
of the GDS and on-line reservation systems. For more information, contact either your agency
or your travel coordinator.
6. Department Specialists:
Department specialists are agencies and/or consolidators whose negotiated
airfares are uniquely designed for certain campus departments and/or
situations. As an example, there are student travel specialists
with waived maximum stay for year-abroad programs, and reduced one-time
return charges for family emergencies. Additionally, there are athletic
specialists whose rates take into account name changes, injury replacements
and early returns (not every team wins every tournament).
7. Bucket Shop Airlines:
The term "Bucket Shop" is a 60's term describing dozens of discounted
travel agencies, most of whom were located in London, that offered
incredibly cheap fares for both air only and week-long travel packages.
Bucket Shop Airlines is our extension of that term; they are also
primarily European, also offer very cheap fares- sometimes as low
as $10 to fly from the UK across the channel to continental Europe-
and model themselves after Southwest in the USA. Everyone knows
their names- Easy Jet, Ryan Air and BMI- the problem is finding
them. You don't have that problem. They're all on your website.
8. On-Line Reservations Systems:
Based on sheer volume, the big three are Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity,
but many travelers also swear by Priceline, Cheap Tickets and Hotwire.
Additionally, there are overseas on-line services like Select Travel
and E-Booker that can be particularly useful for incoming, overseas
originating flights. The thing to be careful of is the extent to
which cancellation, change and same-day standby charges are downplayed,
and the airline options that are not included. As an example, Southwest,
Amtrak, Jet Blue, the volume discounters, and/or athletic/study
abroad consolidator specialists are rarely included.
9. Saturday Night Stay:
The frustrating thing about the requirement for Saturday night stay
is that, despite the fact that the new, emerging carriers have shown
that this particular criteria for cheap fares is unnecessary in
maximizing profit, the legacy airlines still insist on forcing their
use. Is it worth hundreds of dollars in daily hotel, car and food
costs to establish eligibility for a non-refundable ticket? As with
other bargains, it depends on the nature of the trip, the traveler,
and the budget with, once again, the travel agency as a useful source
to sort out options.
10. Corporate Contracted and/or
Government Airfares: There was a time when corporate
negotiated airfares could save significant sums, even off non-refundable
and already discounted tickets. Those times have changed, with most
corporate contracts restricted to discounts off the highest fares,
ones most people simply don't use. If you are lucky enough to have
access to state or federal airfares, that's a different story. These
fares are one-way, refundable, cheap, and are highly recommended
where institutional eligibility makes them an option.
11. Self Booking Technology:
They go by many names, SideStep, ResX, Cliqbook, and Fare
Chase, but the idea is that, by scraping the screens of both conventional
and on-line systems to find the cheapest fares, they preclude the
use of human agent assistance and, as a consequence, can charge
lower fees. As with on-line systems, the thing to be careful of
is the extent to which cancellation, change and same-day standby
charges are downplayed, and the airline options that are not included.
As an example, only some of the systems include Southwest, Amtrak
and Jet Blue and none of them include volume discount and/or athletic/study
abroad consolidator specialists.
12. Airline Specific Internet
Sites: The one huge benefit that airline sites have
over their third party equivalents is that they can offer last minute,
Internet-only specials, waive all service fees- even the $5 ones-
and offer bonus frequent flyer points at the drop of a hat.
There are other tips, like foregoing paper tickets where possible
(extra cost to purchase, extra fees to replace if lost), exploring
air/hotel and/or car combination packages (if your trip fits their
requirements, you can save a bundle), consider auctions, take advantage
of promotional coupons offering zone fares, and- goodness, I almost
forgot- consider train travel, especially those in the Northeast
Corridor or other areas offering high-speed inner-city access.