Airfare consolidators are
companies that may save you money on
your flight to Turkey.
Consolidators take a gamble
by buying blocks of airline seats from
the airlines on various flights at
then reselling them to the public at
less of a discount in order to make
a profit. If they don't sell them,
they may take a loss.
Here's how a consolidator
works: an airline might
estimate that it will have difficulty
filling a certain flight. It may
believe that it will be unable to
sell 50 seats. So it sells those
50 seats to a consolidator at a low
price and says "You
go see if you can sell those seats." The
airline may put some restrictions
on the consolidator (most usually,
that the consolidator is not allowed
to use the airline's name in its
promotions). But now the airline
has at least some money for those
The consolidator now has to sell the
seats for at least what it paid for
them in order not to lose money; and
for more than it paid for them in order
to make a profit.
For example, a major airline may sell
a consolidator 50 seats from New
York to Istanbul for
US$700 each. The consolidator may try
to sell them for US$900 each. If there
are not enough buyers,
they may lower the price to US$800
each. And if there are still no buyers,
to US$750 or even US$600.
Of course, it will be losing money
selling the seats at US$600, but losing
US$100 is better than losing US$700,
so it may have to do it.
On the other hand, if demand for the
flight picks up, the consolidator may
be able to sell the seats for US$1000,
making a profit of
US$300 per seat.
It's a game of risk for
the consolidator. What it means for
you, the traveler, is that sometimes consolidator
fares may save you money—perhaps
even a lot of money.
You may have to commit to
buying a ticket before you even know
which airline you'll be flying on. That's
normal in the consolidator fare business.
But you can often figure out
which airline you'll be flying by
comparing flight dates and times.
If, for example, you know that "MegaJet
Airlines'" daily flight from New
York to Istanbul departs
at 10:10 am and arrives at 2:13 pm,
and if your consolidator tells you
that your New York-to-Istanbul flight
departs at 10:10 am and arrives at
2:13 pm, it's a good bet that you'll
be flying on MegaJet.
regular tickets and consolidator tickets.