Study Says Internet is not Cheapest Source for Airline Tickets

Four consecutive studies by
a company that audits the price of airline tickets on behalf of business
travelers show these travelers save significant airline ticket costs by
booking through a professional travel consultant rather than purchasing on the
The latest study by Topaz International Ltd. of Portland, Oregon, found
that fares generated by corporate travel agencies averaged $116 less per
itinerary than fares offered on the Internet. Based on 19,000 transactions
booked between January and June 2002, the average agency-booked fare during
this period was $478 while the average fare booked through Internet sites was
The study found lower fares on the Internet only eight per cent of the
time while 77% of the time the cost for the same itinerary was higher on
Internet travel sites compared to a corporate travel agency.
“While sometimes fares found on the Internet are lower than those offered
by corporate travel agencies, they are not typically an `apples to apples`
comparison, but rather an itinerary within the parameters of a corporate
travel policy versus one that might not even involve the same travel days,”
says Valerie Estep, President, Topaz International Ltd.
Malcolm Read, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for The
, says the cost savings on ticket purchases are only half of the
story. “Purchasing a ticket online means you are on your own. For example,
most web fares are non-refundable and non-changeable and many have
restrictions that travelers may not be aware of. A professional travel
consultant can frequently work behind the scenes on the traveler`s behalf.”
“In addition to consistently getting the lowest possible prices, travel
consultants stand behind travelers with a long list of services not provided
by websites, such as an emergency 24-hour help desk, preferred airline seat
placement, lost-luggage tracking, and e-ticket tracking,” says Read.