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 a steep discount, 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 seats.
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.
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