- Alternate location ticketing can allow travellers around the world to pay less for airline tickets
- It can be an effective strategy to find cheaper flights on flight aggregators, like Kayak or Orbitz.
- Be sure to check the fare rules before using alternate location ticketing .
Alternate location ticketing allows you to do just that.
In his e-book, “How to Find Cheap Flights: Practical Tips the Airlines Don’t Want You To Know,” Scott Keyes, cofounder and CEO of Scott’s Cheap Flights, explains that alternate location ticketing simply means instructing a website to search for flights as though you’re flying from somewhere else, instead of defaulting to your geographic location. Because ticket prices are dynamic, and can change according to everything from airline to day of the week, searching for the same flight from an alternate location could show a different, lower price.
“The price might be – let’s say it’s like $US200. That’s the price that they’re giving to Americans searching on Kayak.com who don’t necessarily know what that flight should cost or aren’t necessarily doing a lot of comparison shopping on that,” Keyes told Business Insider, discussing a hypothetical flight from the US to South Africa.
He continued: “It oftentimes is actually a different price for the South African version of, let’s say Kayak, or let’s say Orbitz – wherever you buy flights, the actual in-country version of that might show that exact same flight, exact same times and dates and everything for $US125.”
Before using this tactic, be sure to check the fare rules for the country to which you plan to travel.
“This is not common but every once in a while, a country will have a specific thing in there, it says, ‘This fare is only available for South African Nationals.’ And the price is legally has to be different for foreigners there,” Keyes warned.
Some testing this method showed that it’s more effective on flight aggregators such as Kayak and Orbitz rather than airline sites, like Delta or JetBlue.
Here’s how it works:
Start by searching for your preferred flight. Here, we used flight aggregator Kayak to search for a flight from New York to Paris in March:
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find a site/currency field. Change it to your destination – in this case, France:
The currency will change to match that of the selected country. Change this option back to your country’s currency:
You’ll notice the top flight, a seven-hour nonstop trip on Norwegian at 10:30 p.m., is offered for $US230 on the American site, and $US199 on the French site. You’ll also notice that the French site is in French – so you’ll need some language skills, common sense, or Google translate to use this strategy effectively.
Alternate location ticketing isn’t guaranteed to save you money, but if you have the time, it’s worth a shot.