Thursday, November 16, 2006

Airline Ticket Purchase

Winter is just about to descend on my part of the country which means it’s time for me to start planning a winter break. I usually try and pick somewhere warm and free of snow. Planning early has been the key to finding the best prices, so I’m generally start looking around the beginning of October, for flights in February. Years ago, we had to trudge down to the travel agent for our airline ticket purchases.

In those days I felt as though I was at the mercy of the agent. She or he would tell me what my best deal was and I didn’t even get a peek at the other airline prices. Today it’s so much different as anyone can make airline ticket purchases right from their home computer.

I usually try and research the ticket prices over a few days. The rates can go up and down quite a bit and when I do happen to see a good deal, I try and grab it. The discount travel sites sometimes have the best prices on airline ticket purchases, but overall I’ve found that the airline websites are really the place to find the deals.

Another huge change has been how the tickets are presented. I can remember a time when everyone had a huge paper ticket that they’d have to present at the counter when checking in at the airport. The ticket had all the information the airline needed and those tickets were created during the time of the airline ticket purchases. You could usually request a certain seat, aisle or window, but you really didn’t have all the choices you have now.

Today I can log onto the website of my preferred carrier. I can search for flights at the time of day I want, either morning, afternoon or evening. I can even pick exactly what seat I want to sit in for every leg of the trip. In fact, after I’ve made my airline ticket purchases, I can easily change seats or even flights by using their website.

It’s also a bit different when you check-in for your flight now, as well. Many airlines offer their passengers the convenience of checking in online. You’ll receive a confirmation number whenever you make airline ticket purchases and this number replaces an actual paper ticket. You may also be able to use a self-serve kiosk at the airport to check-in. It’s much faster and you’ll get through to your gate in no time at all.