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Subject:  Re: More Interest Hassles Date:  12/10/1998  6:58 PM
Author:  redhed Number:  5852 of 312155

"I think it may determine as to whether you buy your tickets from the airline or through a travel agent. The tickets I bought for Florida which will be used in a few weeks were purchased last February, and they've long been paid for."


I've been out of the "biz" for a few years now so something may have changed, but neither the airlines nor the travel agencies charged for tickets until they were printed for several reasons:

1) before a ticket is printed you really haven't purchased anything ... you've just reserved space on a particular flight. It would be kinda like having them charge your credit card for a meal at a restaurant at the time you call to make the reservation. A reservation is no guarantee that you'll actually use the product; it's only your "statement of intent" to use it.

2) if you pay for a ticket before it's actually cut, anything could happen to cause you not to receive it. Then you're out the money and, by the time you produce the credit card statement and they check to make sure it wasn't refunded, etc., the flight's already left.

3) once the ticket is printed, you have a guarantee of the price ... without a printed ticket, it's your word against theirs as to which fare you agreed to on the phone.

4) finally, the reason they make you have your ticket issued by a certain date in order to obtain an advance purchase discount instead of just requiring that the reservations be made 7days in advance, is so that they can be certain they get paid for that seat and won't be stuck with unsold seats at flight time. No-shows are a huge, and costly, problem for the airlines. It's hard to fill up a 1/2 empty plane 30 minutes before it leaves the gate and once the plane takes off, their opportunity to make money off the unsold seats is lost. The reverse of this theory is that you have to pay full fare for a ticket that can be purchased/issued just as you get to the airport to catch your flight. The logic in both scenarios is that once they cut a ticket, they get the money. And, if you'll give them the money early on, they'll give you a discount.

Hope this isn't too confusing, but it's sort of difficult to put in writing. My job was as an account manager for large corporate accounts. One of the things I did was to give seminars explaining stuff like this to their business travelers. It's much easier to explain in person, believe me.

Please remember that I haven't been in the biz since they came out with "paperless tickets", so I have no knowledge of how they handle them. If that's what you purchased and were charged for, we may be talking a different ball game. However, if you were charged for a ticket (paper-tangebile type) months before you actually received it, they probably cut it and stored it before delivering it ... per the delivery date you requested. If this isn't the case and they charged you for a paper ticket that they didn't issue for a long time ... you wuz robbed.

Hope this helped to clear up some of the confusion.

Regards, Redhed
BTW: when exactly are you "off 2 Aruba"?
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