However, not all tickets will be cheaper just because you can avoid the online booking fees. Some airlines, like Spirit, will have carrier-imposed fees or government-imposed taxes that apply to in-person tickets, potentially negating any savings you might make by skipping the online fees.
As luck would have it, the seemingly new person freed up when it was my turn. I told her I wanted to purchase plane tickets, and she immediately got to work. However, it only took thirty seconds for a blank expression to come over her face. She then mumbled something about not remembering how to do this.
The bottom line is that buying tickets on budget airlines at the airport can definitely be cheaper. You will simply have to compare your savings on fees vs the total cost of your flights to see whether the fare difference is worth it.
The way that we find and book airline tickets has changed significantly. Rather than walking into a travel agent, the majority of travellers now book flights online. Another way of booking tickets, which has become almost obsolete, is to book your flights at the airport kiosk. Although many might not even consider this as an option, rumours can still circulate that this is a good way to get a bargain. So, truth or myth Keep reading to find out whether you can save money by booking your tickets at the airport.
Our conclusion is short: yes, you can book your flight tickets at the airport for some airlines; but, it will be significantly cheaper, easier and more convenient to book your flights online instead. Again, in some instances you may arrive at the airport kiosk to be redirected to go online to book your flights yourself anyway.
In days gone by, it was common to wait until you arrived at the airport to purchase tickets. You can probably think of several movie scenes where the harried hero squares off against an unhelpful airline worker at the departure gate. Yet outside of the movies, most airport service desks exist to provide services other than selling flight tickets. The focus of their job is mainly checking in passengers, assisting passengers with checking bags, arranging upgrades, helping passengers find new flights and other services.
There is one notable exception: you can often find Spirit Airlines deals by buying tickets at the airport. When you book Spirit Airlines flights in person, you can often avoid additional service charges. Most other tickets purchased at the airport will come with added fees.
One of the most frustrating aspects of airline tickets, for anyone who has bought tickets for a family member or friend and then had that person unable to go, is the inability to do a name change or transfer the airline ticket to someone else. I'll give a bit of background on why this is the case, address Eric's question, and then give some tips on what to do to prevent having this occur.
The real reason is revenue protection. As you know, airlines have fare buckets, with the cheapest fares selling out, then the next cheapest fares, etc. What used to happen, before the airlines enforced strict name change rules, is similar to what happens at many concerts or sporting events: Speculators would snatch up the cheapest tickets, then sell them at a markup closer to the date of departure. Obviously that was a problem for the airlines, who wanted to be able to capture the revenue associated with the most expensive last-minute seats and not lose out to the secondary market created by these speculators. By making airline tickets non-transferable, airlines are able to ensure that you don't turn around and sell that ticket you can no longer use on eBay or give it to someone who would otherwise have purchased a more expensive ticket.
Because of the emphasis on price competition, consumers may choose from a wide variety of air fares. It is easy to compare fares and schedules on the Web, using airline web sites or third-party reservation services. You can also contact a travel agent, another ticket outlet, or the airlines serving the places you want to travel to. (Some airlines and other outlets charge a fee for tickets purchased by means other than the Web. On the other hand, a few airlines may charge a fee for tickets that are purchased via the Web.) You can also be alert to newspaper and radio ads, where airlines advertise many of the discounts available in your city. Finally, be alert to new companies serving the market. They may offer lower fares or different services than older established airlines. Here are some tips to help you decide among air fares:
Once you decide when and where you want to go, and which airline you want to use, you will usually have to purchase a ticket in order to hold a confirmed seat. However, many large airlines will hold a reservation for 24 hours or so without payment. Others require payment at the time you make a reservation but will provide a full refund if you cancel in the first day or so. When available, both of these procedures permit you to hold a seat and a fare for a short time while continuing to shop for a better deal. Be aware of the following considerations when selecting a flight and buying a ticket:
Almost any planeload of airline passengers includes some people with urgent travel needs and others who may be more concerned about the cost of their tickets than about getting to their destination on time. DOT rules require airlines to seek out people who are willing to give up their seats for compensation before bumping anyone involuntarily. Here's how this works. At the check-in or boarding area, airline employees will look for volunteers when it appears that the flight has been oversold. If you're not in a rush to arrive at your next destination, you can give your reservation back to the airline in exchange for compensation and a later flight. But before you do this, you may want to get answers to these important questions:
Airlines may offer free tickets or dollar-amount vouchers for future flights in place of a check for denied boarding compensation. However, if you are bumped involuntarily you have the right to insist on a check if that is your preference. Once you cash the check (or accept the free flight), you will probably lose the ability to pursue more money from the airline later on. However, if being bumped costs you more money than the airline will pay you at the airport, you can try to negotiate a higher settlement with their complaint department. If this doesn't work, you usually have 30 days from the date on the check to decide if you want to accept the amount of the check. You are always free to decline the check (e.g., not cash it) and take the airline to court to try to obtain more compensation. DOT's denied boarding regulation spells out the airlines' minimum obligation to people they bump involuntarily. Finally, don't be a \"no-show.\" If you are holding confirmed reservations you don't plan to use, notify the airline. If you don't, they will cancel all onward or return reservations on your trip.
Things like this should be carried on your person or packed in a carry-on bag. Remember, the only way to be sure your valuables are not damaged or lost is to keep them with you. Full flights sometimes run out of room in the cabin for full-size carry-on bags. In those situations the airline must sometimes \"gate check\" the carry-on baggage of the last passengers to board the flight. This happens near the door to the aircraft. Pack your carry-on bag in a manner so that if it must be gate-checked you can quickly remove the fragile, valuable and critical items described above. For example, consider packing all such items in a small, soft bag that will fit under the seat in front of you, and make sure that this small bag is easily accessible in your carry-on bag.
Although only a tiny percentage of checked bags are permanently lost, your bag might be delayed for a day or two. Don't put perishables in a checked bag; they may spoil if it is delayed. It is wise to put items that you will need during the first 24 hours in a carry-on bag (e.g. toiletries, a change of underwear). Check with the airline for its limits on the size, weight, and number of carry-on pieces. As of this writing, on most flights you are allowed to carry on one bag plus one personal item (e.g., purse, briefcase, camera bag, laptop computer bag).
The bags you check should be labeled inside and out with your name and phone number. Add the name and phone number of a person to contact at your destination if it's practical to do so. Almost all of the bags that are misplaced by airlines do turn up sooner or later. With proper labeling, the bag and its owner can usually be reunited within a few hours.
Many bags look alike. After you pull what you think is your bag off the carousel, check the name tag or the bag tag number. If your bag arrives open, unlocked or visibly damaged, check right away to see if any of the contents are missing or damaged. Report any problems to the airline before leaving the airport; insist on having a report created. Open your suitcase immediately when you get to where you are staying. Any damage to the contents or any pilferage should be immediately reported to the airline by telephone. Make a note of the date and time of the call, and the name and telephone number of the person you spoke with. Follow up as soon as possible with a certified letter to the airline.
If your suitcase arrives smashed or torn, the airline will usually pay for repairs. If it can't be fixed, they will negotiate a settlement to pay you its depreciated value. The same holds true for belongings packed inside. Airlines may decline to pay for damage caused by the fragile nature of the broken item or inadequate packing, rather than the airline's rough handling. Air carriers might also refuse to compensate you for damaged items inside the bag when there's no evidence of external damage to the suitcase. When you check in, airline personnel may let you know if they think your suitcase