Does it make sense to buy tickets from a consolidator now?

Back in the 1980s, if you really wanted to save money when flying from point A to point B, you really had no choice but to go through a consolidator.

Tickets that can cost $800 can be had for as cheap as 50 bucks through a consolidator. You may be thinking, “What’s not to love? Isn’t this is a slam dunk?” Not quite, you have to remember that, just like any anything else going on in any kind of marketplace activity, there are many different levels to consolidators. On a wholesale basis, yes, it is possible to get a ticket that is normally priced at $800 down to 50 bucks, but for that to happen, you either have to have a direct access to a consolidator, or you have to jump through many different hurdles in the form of conditions.

Many of these conditions are not as easy as you think. In fact, there are consolidated companies that specialize in giving you the lowest price seriously. We’re talking about going from a thousand bucks to maybe fifty bucks, but the price that you have to pay is you basically have to camp out at the airport hoping against hope that somebody, somehow doesn’t show up.

That’s the price you pay, and by and large, if you are a teenage backpacker looking to see Europe on foot, this is not that big of a deal. After all, you have plenty of time. In fact, you have too much time that’s why you are hiking and backpacking in the first place if you’re trying to get some of that traveling bug out of your system before you go to college or graduate school.

This usually is not the case with a business person who has a family to feed and a fixed schedule to meet. In many cases, business travelers have certain sales and contact quotas they have to meet. They don’t have time to hang out in a busy airport for 24-hour, 48-hour, or even 72-hour stretches. Also, they don’t have time to screw around with multiple transfers that can extend up to 72 hours.

If you think about it, back in the battled consolidator days, your total wait time can be as much as a week. That’s right. You can be spending all that time in one airport, at some point, located somewhere in the world. Crazy right?

You may be thinking the consolidators are a relic of the past because now we have the internet, and you only need to go to the right, cheap airline ticket websites to get the rock-bottom prices. You’re welcome to think that way, but unfortunately, the consolidators are still in the background. They still do their work and still play a major role in the marketplace.

They’re not going to go away any time soon because what they provide is a ready marketplace of buyers, both corporate, individual and organizational, that suck up all the tickets airlines produce in any given operating day. Why? Like I mentioned, in any given day, there are going to be seats that somehow, some way will be vacant.

Maybe the person who booked them and bought the tickets for them got sick. Maybe they got caught up somewhere. Maybe they closed the deal, and they needed to stick around. Whatever the case may be, somebody who was earmarked for that seat did not show up. That is the market, and given that market, there has to be an efficient way of disposing all of that at the highest price possible. That’s where the consolidators come in.

The only thing the internet has innovated is that it has stripped away the layers of consolidators, so now you can see which consolidator is going to yank you around by throttling you to try to pay the higher price when it turns out that you can undercut that consolidator by buying from a consolidator who doesn’t play any tricks. A lot of those cheap airline tickets prices that you see online are actually just front ends of consolidator networks.

So, does it make sense to buy tickets from a consolidator? The answer has always been yes. The big question is: Which consolidator and which website importing consolidated information should go with? Answer that question, and you would be good to go.