The aviation industry continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic and could achieve pre-Covid air traffic levels by 2024. This may present countless opportunities for those planning to set their feet in the air travel selling space.
Due to the complex and fragmented nature of the airline distribution landscape, running a flight-selling business in a cost-effective way has always been challenging. The industry is highly controlled and there are many restrictions imposed by airlines on who can issue tickets on their behalf. Reasoned to the same, organizations like IATA (International Air Transport Association) and ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) came into existence to facilitate transparent dealings between airlines and agents.
Now, you must be wondering if you would also require an IATA or ARC accreditation to start selling flights. Well, yes, if you wish to sell tickets directly. And no, if you can leverage various third-party airline suppliers and consolidators to deliver the best flight offers to the end customer.
While accreditation is mandatory for ticketing, booking does not require any accreditation. For instance, you can use Mystifly’s flight booking API to search and book flights from over 700 airlines globally, without any official accreditation. Also, you can utilise an IATA/ARC-accredited organisation such as Mystifly to issue tickets on your behalf in exchange for a nominal fee.
3 Ways to sell flight tickets
If you wish to get into the flight selling business without the expenses and hassles involved in accreditation, here are the three ways you can do it. However, each of these has its own limitations.
Issuing Tickets Through Airline consolidators
Airline consolidators are primarily wholesalers who make volume-based ticket deals with the airlines and resell the same to their clients. They also act as a ticketing partner for agents who are not accredited. For online travel agents and new businesses, this could be the easiest option to go for. On the minus side, airfare consolidators operate on low margins and hence do not allow much freedom to exercise modification or cancellation. They may not provide enough transparency in airfares and associated benefits. They lack the technology support that your online business needs. Post booking functions including accessing seats or airlines of choice or automatically processing refunds or changes in tickets also could be challenging. And you will need to work with a host of consolidators to get full access to all airlines in the world including low cost carriers.
Issuing Tickets Through Host agencies
Being IATA/ARC-accredited organizations, host agencies provide travel agents with tools, services, ticketing, and post-booking support on a subscription/membership basis. Some of the disadvantages of selling flights via agencies include hefty commission structures, lack of customization options, and poor customer service.
Association with A Franchise
While host agencies allow associated agents to operate with their independent branding, franchises offer a branded access to their partners. Going for a franchise model is more suitable for brick-and mortar travel establishments.
On the negative side, buying a franchise is an expensive affair. It does not allow you enough flexibility to build and execute your own strategy in serving your specific set of customers. The rules of engagement keep changing and profitability remains lean.
How can Mystifly help you take off?
Mystifly is one of the leading airfare marketplace that allows you to source local airfares and issue air tickets globally. With its SaaS-based and API solutions, it unifies airline distribution, fulfilment, and payments, all on a single API platform.
With B2B API platform offered by Mystifly, you can seamlessly perform search and retailing, order management, revenue and channel management, ancillary sales, multi-currency payment, and post-booking management to offer the end traveller the best ticketing experience. The SaaS capabilities allow your business to add new suppliers into the platform without the necessity to integrate and manage these integrations yourself.
With a global network of over 700 Full-Service Airlines, Low-Cost Airlines, and Airline wholesalers spread across more than 70 countries, Mystifly offers rich, competitive airfare content to travel businesses like OTAs, TMCs, Consolidators, Tour Operators, Travel Clubs, and Concierges.