Last Updated: 13 Oct, 2020

Airline Consolidators Overview: Their Role, Advantages, and Key Players

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An airline consolidator contracts with an airline to sell seats at a special, discounted price. The consolidator sells these seats to qualified travel agents who are representing their client. Essentially, airline consolidators are the wholesalers of airline fares. Through their partnerships with airlines, the consolidators gain airfare at reduced prices or with a commission. These fares are then offered exclusively to travel agents who work with the consolidator.

Consolidators sell tickets to individual travellers at low fares that aren’t available to the public; they buy those cheap tickets from airlines with which they have contracts. The best prices are on international long-haul business and first-class tickets, but consolidators can also sometimes beat published economy fares. Consolidators are able to offer little on domestic tickets. The best deals are usually on flights within a week or two before departure, when published fares are generally very high.

As with airline sale fares, these lower prices often carry more restrictions. When you purchase through a consolidator, you may not be eligible for frequent flyer miles or advance seat selection, and you won’t have much flexibility to make changes to your itinerary without paying significant change fees. Airfare consolidators also tend to have limited staff, so customer service may be minimal. But these restrictions may be worth it in exchange for a rock-bottom fare.

Airline Consolidator Business Model: How It Works




Traditionally, when you first begin booking with a consolidator, it is on a "request only" basis. This means the consolidator must first check your request with the airline before you get your confirmation -- usually in two to three working days. 

With the world now more computerized, sometimes, but not always, you can get instant confirmation. After receiving your ticket (or e-ticket), call the airline to verify that everything matches. If they don't have your record (and you're not flying immediately), try again in a couple days.

There may be a small surcharge for credit card payments, but it is often advisable to use a credit card (not a debit card tied to a checking or savings account) to provide protection in case of bankruptcy. Not all airline consolidators (or those representing themselves as such) are honest, and they should be checked thoroughly before any money is exchanged. 

Some travel agencies have recognized the value and convenience of booking online. It's a good idea to look for travel agencies who book consolidator tickets and have their own booking engine set up on a company website. 

You'll have access to three sets of fares through their booking engines, which will give you three chances of finding the lowest fare for international travel. You'll have access to consolidator fares, published fares offered by airlines and online only special fares. If you have a favourite travel agent already, check out their website and see if they offer this option.

Benefits of Airline Consolidator: 

  • Earn Higher Commissions 
  • Better Positioned to Compete 
  • 24x7 Customer Service 
  • Make any complex itinerary easier 
  • Comprehensive Vacation Planning 
  • Search a wide selection of international airfares 
  • You can compare the consolidator rate to the published rate and adjust your commission accordingly

Why do Travel Agents like to work with Airline Consolidators?




Travel agents also refuse to sell air tickets because they feel it's too complicated or they can't make any money. But agents miss huge earning opportunities by allowing their travelers to book air elsewhere and can completely lose their customers. They can provide the best deals across the multiple GDS by connecting with the Airline Consolidator. It increases flexibility and functionality. 

Save time: It offers a user-friendly solution to locating the cheapest airline tickets for your customers in very less time. Travel Agents can quickly and conveniently locate what they need by navigating through an airline consolidator.

Save money: There are several Airline consolidators that display the offers in advance with the help of social media or through other marketing outlets. Which can allow travel agents to provide money-saving deals to customers.

24/7 customer support: Some airline ticket consolidators offer customer support services around all clock. This is beneficial for travel agents because, in case of emergency, delays, or cancellations, etc., they will get assistance from them at any moment. As the consolidator has a direct relation with Airlines, it can notify travel agents at any time of any problems.

How Does Booking Through An Airfare Consolidator Work?


Once an agent has registered with the consolidator, they can search the consolidator’s airfare matrix for the thousands of consolidators and published fares available. Consolidator fares are often low enough that an agent can set up a mark-up for themselves into the total cost of the ticket while still offering the client a discount.

Understanding when the best time to book consolidator air versus published air is important for you to know as an agent, as it could be a better choice for you and your clients.

  • Air consolidator fares are cheaper for international travel than the fares travelers can find on their own. 
  • You can search for a wide selection of international airfares.
  • You can compare the consolidator rate to the published rate and adjust your commission accordingly.

Role of Airline Consolidators In Growing Travel Business




Being responsible for the sales of thousands of flight tickets, Airlines prefer to provide exclusive fares to Consolidators. They get the fares from aircraft on arranged rates relying upon their long-term relations with them. Travel agencies seek Airline consolidators to ensure sufficient profit while giving attractive discounts to their customers. 

The diversity in the travel field brought more air traffic that made the travel agencies spur the travel business in one way or another. The travel agents discover aircraft ticket consolidators’ immense source to get their revenue expanded. By getting in contact with airline consolidators, they can stretch out their flight appointments up all things considered.

Brings best deals for travel agents

Airline consolidators are capable of negotiating fares with airlines. Travel offices that book fares for clients requesting seats in premium classes can make a solid benefit in the wake of acquiring the same on consolidator fares. Apart from that, travel organizations can purchase airfares that are regularly reserved relying upon frequent regional traffic. The enhanced airfare content by these consolidators enables them to spare an enormous amount of worldwide fares. 

With this, travel management organizations can book the correct fares for clients with more attractive deals on vacation packages as well. Collaborating with aircraft consolidators makes travel organizations procure considerably more. As it enables them to get to multi GDS content at once. That helps them to present decent arrangements to their clients while making enough benefits for themselves.

How Airline Consolidators Can Help Agencies of All Sizes?




Maybe you’ve noted some travel agents using airline consolidators, but you’ve never tried them personally. By not utilizing this business, you’re doing yourself great harm. In case you work from home, a small office, or a large agency, airline consolidators can give your business improvement.

Home Based Travel Agencies Benefits From An Airline Consolidator

Finding a niche in the travel industry is a valuable business strategy. It empowers your travel agency to zone in on a specific type of customer need and meet it. However, there is powerful competition from other agencies and customers searching for their own deals. The excellent solution for any niche travel agency is to work together with airline consolidators to curb the competition and become a recommended agency for the targeted market.

Extend your customer base: An extensive range of airlines also allows your home-based travel agency to cater to a larger customer base. Not only do we offer a larger selection of air carriers, but we also cater to customers traveling for both leisure and business. 

Wider range of airlines: With more than 50 airlines on our database, we offer one of the widest ranges of airline tickets to help customize your ticket purchase to customer needs. You can choose to purchase tickets of airlines your clientele uses frequently or recommend new flight options to exist customers looking to try a new airline.

Get airline tickets at great discounts: By ordering your airline tickets with our air consolidators for travel agents, you can take advantage of our huge discounts. We provide great airfares for home-based travel agencies to help you save on costs so you can earn more.

Offer exclusive deals: Finding reliable air consolidators for travel agents can give you an advantage over established competitors. Our range helps you compare ticket prices from various airlines so you can offer exclusive discounts to customers that large travel agencies cannot afford. This can earn you referrals as an affordable provider and add to your bottom line.

Small Agencies Benefits From An Airline Consolidator

The important advantage that small travel companies can gain by working with airline consolidators is the use of global distribution systems (GDS: ‎Sabre, ‎Amadeus, Travelport etc.) databases. While many smaller agencies use one or two GDS, airline consolidators have access to all of them.

Often, airlines will offer the best deals on a particular GDS because it’s cheaper. The several airlines may have a long-standing relationship with Sabre, for example, and as such favors that GDS when advertising their lowest fares. While this is excellent business practice for airlines, it means any travel agent who does not have access to that GDS is out of luck. Airline consolidators mainly have access to all four GDS which means agents will have a better opportunity of finding a lower fare and keeping their clients happy.

Moreover, having the access to all four GDS, airline consolidators generally have great deals on business and first-class seats. For smaller agencies, selling tickets in seating classes that are normally more expensive means a greater profit for the agency. Plus, clients are more likely to enhance a better seating class if the price is right. When travel agencies use an airline consolidator, this will most definitely be the case.

Large Travel Agencies Benefits From Airline Consolidators

Like any good business, large travel agencies are profitable because they have found a model that works for them. Whatever the case may be, having famous vacation packages means those agencies will have specific airfare that’s in constant demand. Airline consolidators can assist these larger agencies in two ways.

Furthermore, to make more tickets available, airline consolidators can offer better deals on those same tickets. When airlines sell in scale to airline consolidators, the fares are sometimes as much as 65% lower than what the airline is advertising. This vast discount allows agencies to pass the savings on to their clients while also marking up the fares as they see fit. Essentially, it’s a win-win for all involved.

Mondee group: flights to and from China, India, and the Caribbean

Mondee, Inc. is a leading travel technology company and the world’s largest airfare wholesaler. Mondee owns globally recognized travel companies including CTS, C&H International, Skylink, Transam, Hariworld, Skylink Canada, and other technology and retail companies. Founded in 2011, Mondee is headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, with 36 offices in USA and Canada, and operations in India, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Greece.  

Mondee Holdings is building the disruptive global travel brands of the future, today, in an unrelenting mission to transform the industry through world-class technology, service, content, and products.

To transform the industry, the Mondee Holding companies pursue an unwavering commitment to innovation that is defining the future of travel. Innovation is built into the DNA of all the Mondee Holding companies, each one strives to show the industry the future and get there first.

Their mission is to innovate relentlessly - for our customers, for our partners, for ourselves.

Picasso Travel: transatlantic flights and package tours to Europe

Picasso Travel is one of the largest airline consolidators in the United States serving both, travel professionals and airlines. Picasso Travel, headquartered in Los Angeles has been in business for more than 28 years. In addition to its air consolidator business the company offers package tours under the brand names of Nordique Tours, Picasso Tours & Cruises, Ports of India, Splendida. Italia, SwissMade Tours. 

Picasso Travel is a member of ASTA, IATA, CLIA, USACA, ARC and the BTC. Today, Picasso Travel is one of the nation’s largest air consolidators, providing discounted travel services to the U.S. travel agency community. A wholesale distributor for 72 airlines and tour operators, Picasso Travel enables travel agents to purchase travel services for their customers at deeply discounted prices. 

Centrav: long-haul flights “from anywhere to anywhere”

Centrav is an international airline consolidator that has focused solely on serving the travel professional community since it opened for business in 1988. With over 50 major airline partners under contract and software that delivers the lowest private and published fares in the market, Centrav is well-equipped to provide travel agents great airfares to almost anywhere in the world. 

As our tag line suggests, Centrav offers low airfares with an emphasis on customer service. Our web site is widely acclaimed among travel agents for its speed and performance. Should you prefer talking to someone in person, Centrav's friendly and experienced staff is eager and ready to help you.

GTT Global: flights to and from Southeast Asia and China

GTT provides travel agents with the largest selection of air carrier contracts which provide competitive net fares that you can mark up or generous commissions for published international airfares in First, Business and Economy Classes. GTT has international air consolidator contracts in the industry including all U.S. carriers and 66 of the major foreign flag carriers.

GTT provides the most diverse and competitively priced air fares on the American market. Their mission is to empower travel agencies of all sizes by offering the most extensive product portfolio and a suite of cutting-edge travel technology tools.

Transform Travel Business By Selecting The Best Airline Consolidator

As a trusted travel agent if you really want to bring a positive change in your business, you can start by selecting the right airline consolidator. Here, we will help you determine whether or not your airline consolidator is capable of growing your business. This may help you select the best consolidator and transform your business.

How Choose Your Airline Consolidator?


  • Majority of airlines: If an airline consolidator has connections with multiple airlines, it can be a significant benefit for any travel agent. This provides a chance to have numerous fares for multiple destinations and can extend the profit margin. Having the excellent fares for niche routes also, allows travel agents to make all possible profits. This can be filled with the help of a consolidator that has maintained relationships with a majority of airlines.
  • Covers all major GDSs: Selecting an airline consolidator having a partnership with all major GDSs can be the best choice. If your consolidator only has access to a unique GDS, it can’t offer nearly enough flight options. Therefore, you should choose one that covers all major GDSs. This will assist you to present numerous flight options and the best airfares available.
  • 24*7 customer support: A consolidator is also responsible for delivering outstanding customer support to travel agents. Several times, travel agents have to manage last-minute flight bookings for their customers due to unexpected flight cancellations. These situations require a fast response to resolve queries on time. Therefore, travel agents should check for round the clock support from an airfare consolidator. This can save a lot of time as a consolidator will be able to respond whenever the help is required.
  • Group fares: Airline ticket consolidators play an important role in travel businesses. If they can offer wholesale flight tickets, as well as offer the best group fares, this can prove to be a vast benefit to any travel business. Travel agents find trouble in managing group fare discounts as getting the required group seats in a single plane is not that easy. In this case, an airline ticket wholesaler can be helpful as it can handle discounts on group fares due to its long-standing relationship with airlines.

Future Of Air Consolidators




No matter which career track you find yourself upon, travel agents of all types can benefit from the global distribution systems, the added resources, and the advantages of utilizing an airline consolidator.

Airline consolidators allow agents to take control of their earnings by giving them the ability to mark-up fares when and how they see fit. It avoids the problem of sending clients to look for their own airfare, and therefore more money stays in the pockets of agents. Before you book your next client, put an airline consolidator to work for you!  


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