The Essentials

Why You Should Call the Airline Directly

You see it almost every time you book an airline flight online.

 

Right next to the posted price is often a note that says “only two seats left” or “only three rooms left.”

 

It forces you to move fast, but how about forcing you to think fast?

 

The reality is that if a website says only two seats are left, the online travel agency is only referring to the seat or room allotment it received from the airline or hotel, not the total number of seats or rooms available.

 

And that can be — actually it is — misleading.

 

In almost every case, you should call the airline directly on its toll free number.

 

What the reservations agent is seeing on his or her screen is not what you’re seeing on your screen. And that’s the same for hotels. When calling, don’t ask for reservations. Ask for the manager on duty or the head of sales, because they’ll know exactly what the inventory is. And chances are reasonably good that you can often get a better deal.