Business travelers and those who coordinate business travel need to be aware of the various types of flight pricing they will come across. Understanding the differences between private and public airfares and when to use each is an important starting point.
What is private airfare?
On an airplane, two people in identical seats may pay different fares. You already know that business class is more expensive, and some airlines offer “Plus” seats with extra legroom for a higher fee. You may also expect lower prices if you book further in advance.
But this is not what we are talking about. We are discussing how people with identical seats and amenities could pay different fares. This is due to airline consolidators and the difference between public and private fares.
Essentially, private fares are offered by consolidators, which tend to be more affordable than public fares. Consolidators have contracts with airlines to buy airfare in bulk. They are negotiated at a lower rate, letting the consolidators sell them for less than the publicly listed fares for the same flight.
How to Find Private Fares
The tricky thing about private fares is that they are challenging to find. You will not find them by talking to an airline or searching. You will have to work with a travel advisor or agent with an airline consolidator.
This contrasts with the published or public fares. Those terms refer to flight prices that are publicly posted on the airline’s website.
Airlines using consolidators helps business travelers and airlines.
Using consolidators is a win-win-win situation for airlines, consolidators, and business travelers. Consolidators and travel agents get the obvious benefit of having a job. They earn a profit by serving as a middleman.
Airlines benefit from the ability to fill all the empty seats on the plane, or at least most of them. For airlines, it is more beneficial to make a little less per seat and fill every seat than to charge more and have more empty seats. Business travelers (and their companies) tap into the benefits of paying lower fares for their flights.
When and how to benefit the most from private vs. public airfares
In most cases, getting a private fare will lead to more savings. But it may also take a bit more effort to find them. Look at when and how to benefit from each private and public fare.
As mentioned, private fares typically offer savings. They deliver even more protection than usual in a few critical situations.
International flights are one of these. The extra savings come from the fact that international flights tend to be more expensive, offering more opportunities to save. There are also usually huge savings by choosing private fares for one-way flights. The only caveat is that there are sometimes restrictions, especially on international flights.
Private fares are also better if you book last minute or very early. Remember that sometimes, if a flight sells well, the public food will be cheaper than the private fare for a short time. However, airlines tend to increase the prices for last-minute bookings, hoping people need the flight enough to pay high rates. At the same time, the private fare will usually stay the same.
If you want to save on public or published fares, there are a few tricks you can try as well.
Being flexible typically leads to savings, as prices can vary significantly daily.
You can also typically save money on public fares by booking round trips.
Savings can also come from staying over on Saturday night. This is because prices tend to be higher for weekday travel, as that is when business people travel.
Have the correct data to get the best prices.
Whether you are searching for public or private fares, being informed is crucial to getting the best prices.
Services like Oversee let you see flight prices so you know what to expect and can get the best deal.