Booking flights by phone

How to purchase airline tickets over the phone

Believe it or not, sometimes the phone is best for researching and booking your flight. Seems odd for a website to be saying this, right? Wrong! We want to help you find the best deal by any means.

Why book flights by phone?

    • Sometimes you can get cheaper flight deals.
    • With complex itineraries the human touch can help.
    • Specialists can offer expert advice.

Here are some useful insider tips that can help ensure you get the most out of booking your flights via phone.

When booking through an airline:

    • Have a paper and pen ready!
    • Ask if there is a surcharge for booking on the telephone rather than online.
    • Find out what restrictions and fees exist if you need to make a change or cancel later.
    • Ask if savings are possible by purchasing your accommodation at the same time.
    • Is it a non-stop flight? If not, find out exactly how long the flight will take and where you’ll connect.
    • Find out whether you will be able to check-in online after making a telephone booking.
    • Is this a ticketless booking? A paper ticket often incurs surcharges (plus delivery and insurance charges), so opt for an e-ticket.
    • Always ask to make seat assignments (and meal requests, if required) during your booking.
    • If you are a frequent flyer make sure they have your information and update it for your booking.
    • Ask if discount fares are offered for children, seniors or students if applicable.

When using a consolidator or discount travel agency:

    • Ask whether there is pricing and availability for an alternative airline.
    • Use the expertise of the assistant who may suggest cheaper dates or routing options.
    • Try to negotiate! Sometimes the price is not fixed.
    • Ask if their ticket will earn you mileage.
    • You can usually hold the seat for 24 hours with no charge. If you say you are going to shop around they may give you an extra discount.
    • If it is a discounted ticket ensure that you are comfortable with the restrictions.
    • Ask the name of the airline, flight times and route. They are not allowed to advertise the details of the cheapest deals online but you can ask on the phone.

Always:

    • Recap everything before ending the phone call – flight numbers, times, date, day of week, connections, and how your name is spelled (use your legal name that matches your ID).
    • Ask for the name of the person you spoke to and their telephone and extension number.
    • Ask for a reference number, usually a record locator.

(Featured image: 93095839@N08)

Article by Melisse Hinkle (389 posts)

A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has traveled throughout North America, biked through rice paddies in Bali, seen the Northern Lights in Iceland, walked alongside llamas in Machu Picchu and made her way around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Head of Content and Social Media for North America at Cheapflights.