Competition between the main U.S. airlines is in contrast to another industry. A coach seat is almost similar from one carrier to another, however the big difference in price might run as high as $1,000. Business tourists, who require flexibility to buy their tickets at the last minute, modify their plans at a moments notice, or want to be home prior to the weekend, pay the premium rate, called the full fare.
People who can book their plane ticket long in advance, who don’t mind remaining over Saturday night, or who will be willing to travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, spend the minimum.
Consolidators, also called bucket shops, are excellent options for international tickets, although they generally can’t do better than the Internet on fares within North America. Begin by looking in Sunday newspaper travel sections; if you’re a U.S. visitor, focus on the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Miami Herald.
For less-developed locations, small travel agents who focus on immigrant communities in big towns usually have the best prices. Bucket shop tickets are generally nonrefundable or rigged with stiff cancellation penalties, frequently as high as 50 to 75% of the ticket price, and some place you on charter airlines with questionable safety records.
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