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purchasing airline tickets at the airport

Oak Ridge, TN
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purchasing airline tickets at the airport

I have heard that if you purchase an airline ticket at the airport you get a much better rate than if you purchased one online. Is this true? If so, is it true for any airline? Our airport is about 40 minutes away and I wanted to know if the savings were great enough to make this worthwhile.


San Francisco...
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for San Francisco
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1. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

First time I am hearing this . Can you please point to your source please. A lot of Fakenews going around in our country.

Use google flights and find the best deal and book online with the airline's website. What airlines do is to have multiple fare classes and once seats in a fare class are sold, then prices go up. Prices yo yo based on some algorithm

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

Why go to the airport when you can book online direct through the airline?

I am going from Toronto to the UK in June and booked through Air Transat throught their website which was cheaper than going through a travel agent.

Alot of times if you go to the airport you can only buy a ticket the day of, not before. Not sure how it is in Tennessee but I know at YYZ there is nowhere to buy a ticket at the airport, only at the check in counter.

If you want the best rate, buy through the airline in advance. It avoids shonky third party sites, saves you money and permits you to deal with the airline direct if you have any issues.

Glacier National...
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3. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

I haven't heard that. To the contrary, I've found that day-of fares are more, sometimes a great deal more, and that they often continue to increase as the hour of flight gets closer.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

OP is not necessarily asking about buying tickets on day of travel at the airport (which is always the most expensive way to buy a ticket), but appears to be asking is it cheaper to drive to airport to buy a ticket vs buying it on line

The answer is no.

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5. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

Even on the rare occasions I have had to do this, the ticket counter staff suggested I go to the nearest computer terminal and book though the airline's website as it would be considerably cheaper than an over the counter purchase.

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6. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

As an airline employee....that is false. There's no secret fares at the airport.

Nieuwerkerk a/d...
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7. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

No, and don't forget the airlines also charge service fee per ticket/person at the counter depending from $25 up to $50.

Book online that's my advice.

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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8. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

'I have heard that if you purchase an airline ticket at the airport you get a much better rate than if you purchased one online.' I'd truly like to know where you heard or read this. If you heard it, was it a story from a friend of a friend's third cousin's aunt's sister in law or told you by someone who had proof of it? 'Is this true?' Probably not.

I have seen agents for ticket sales at airports, but as emel suggested it's often better to book online even if an agent could book the ticket for you. Out of curiosity I've checked fares on the days that I've flown to see what one might have to pay, and some flights have had fares lower than those I've booked, but that very much depends on date and routing.

Dubai, United Arab...
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9. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport

There are two cases:

1.) Buying tickets in advance of your flight: I have not come across any airline selling tickets cheaper at the airport ticketing office or city office cheaper than the ticket on their website online.

2.) Buying tickets on the day of travel: Done this twice - I think - in my life. You will pay dearly for the walk-up price at the airport. They know you have run out of options and price tickets accordingly.

Considerations: Some airline charge a fee if you buy tickets via phone. Also, it is well possible, that other than the airlines website sell the tickets more expensive than the airline itself.

Conclusion: Buy your ticket directly from the airline but you can do this perfectly fine over the airlines website.

Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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10. Re: purchasing airline tickets at the airport


As a carriers employee, I'll also agree -- this just isn't the reality.

For a few reasons.... First is staffing, labor and costs. Selling tickets via a physical location, using a human agent is expensive -- far far more than online or other fully- or partially-automated processes.

Second, at the airport, all those staff (be that direct employees or contracted staff) are all "operational" focused and not support - be that pre- or post-travel.

Yes, most airport locations and staff *can* (have the ability/knowledge to) sell and issue a new ticket from scratch-- but that's not what carriers want their airport staff to be doing, and therefore, that's not how they set up their operational staffing plans nor allocate labor resources.

I know, for example, AirAsia's non-management staff can't issue sell/issue tickets using any kind of online-only fare basis, when such is sold at the airport "face-to-face" ticket counters.

These days, little is done at the airport other than straight pre-departure check-in processing, boarding/loading processes and required post-departure paperwork and reconciliation for outbound flights. For inbound it's a bit easier with just customs/immigration liaison, arrival paperwork processing and any arrival baggage/cargo issues.

Airlines just don't want to do in-person ticketing any more -- and there're not going to incentivize it via promo fares.

Now, there may be some minor, minor exceptions -- think ultra-small domestic-only carriers in parts of Africa or Central/South America, but I suspect outside of that, you're not going to find any carriers of size or scope who do such.

Travel Safe,

Edited: 21 March 2017, 20:02