There is a wide range of air tickets based mainly on price and class of travel. CBT uses an unbiased computer reservation system (CRS) called Amadeus in which is loaded the majority of worldwide flights – with real-time availability. The CRS will display availability by class and indicate to our staff the conditions and limitations associated with the reservation. As a general rule, fixed fares booked well in advance will be cheaper, but there will be penalties for changing.
The most expensive ticket prices are associated with fully flexible, fully changeable and fully transferable tickets.
Net tickets are ones which the airline sells to agents and, in the main, leaves the agent to add its own commission. These tickets will produce substantial cost savings, but there will be penalties for cancellation or change. More importantly, this type of ticket will not be transferable to another carrier.
Consolidated tickets (consols) are ones that are bought from a third party, in some cases the airline’s own distribution unit, and they offer good value. Their availability relies on the airline offering predicted unused seats – so not all flights or classes will be available. They are non-transferable and attract considerable penalties for cancellation or change.
Low-cost Carriers provide competitive ticket prices but may involve use of airports remote from city centres. Fares normally increase closer to the departure date and become less competitive with the schedule carriers. The majority of carriers allow name and flight changes – at a cost. Taxes for unused or cancelled flights are not returned. CBT will search all available methods to meet a preferred itinerary. In some cases and to meet timing constraints, the ideal solution may require a mix of low-cost and schedule carrier.
There are various internet search engines in the market-place that purport to offer all options. Net and consolidated fares would not necessarily be available to them. Also, many of the sites are biased, and some do not offer last-minute availability. None that we know will allow an option to be held. Their systems depend on confirmed bookings. This practice runs counter to the norm in business travel, where last-minute changes are inevitable and part and parcel of the business travel trade.
- Dynamic packaging
Dynamic packaging is a system where all elements of travel (air, car-hire and hotel) are offered from one source but by separate suppliers. No single agency takes responsibility for all the elements – it is a case of ‘buyer beware’ in the event that not all the elements are produced. Changes to one element will not be triggered by changes in another.