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FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 1/4 [Monthly posting]
Section - [1-23] Tour Desks

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Airline "tour" desks (e.g., Flyaway Vacations on American) are
excellent sources of good fares on relatively short notice. For
example, "bulk" or unpublished fares are available with as little as
four days notice (and a $15 late booking fee if the reservation is
made less than 14 days prior to arrival) to many popular destinations.

The only catch is that a minimum land package must be booked; after
all, it is a "tour" package. But for some destinations (e.g., Hawaii
from the west coast), that's only a minimum two-day rental car. Other
embarkation points require a three-day minimum hotel stay, but the
rates are very attractive.  

Other cities require a two-day minimum hotel stay, but this can be in
connection with the Holiday Inn voucher program (runs as little as $79
per room per night depending on the hotel category). The passenger
must book a "tour room" directly with a participating Holiday Inn --
and the airline rarely checks if the passenger actually made the
reservations. Also, the vouchers do not have to be used in connection
with a flight, and can be used anytime within a year from the date of
the trip.

To combat fraud, such as folks cancelling the car rental and applying
for a refund, the land segment is usually non-refundable. Bulk fares
are also often blacked out during holidays, but this can vary by the
destination. 

In essence, a tour package combines airfare with a minimum hotel stay
and/or car rental. Requirements vary with the destination and
embarkation point, but if you can meet the requirements, you may find
yourself saving some money.

These tour packages can be particularly useful to business folks who
don't want to stay over a Saturday night. The savings on the flight
can more than make up the cost of the hotel stay, especially when
compared with the cost of a last-minute non-supersaver fare.

Many airlines are starting to outsource their tour calls to
contractors, as they aren't very profitable to the airlines. How this
will affect the availability of such deals is unknown.

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Top Document: FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 1/4 [Monthly posting]
Previous Document: [1-22] Discount Airlines

Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Single Page

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM