People who work in the travel industry don’t pay full price for flights. Not even close.
Flight attendants, pilots, and those who are “in the know” are often able to get steep discounts on airfare. Flights like:
- New York to Spain for $17
- San Francisco to Peru for $5.25
- Miami to Thailand for $12
- Austin to Los Angeles for $6
These Deals Are Not Limited to Airline Employees
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), over 21% of airline seats fly empty.
These “leftover” seats still cost the airlines fuel, employee time, and the expense of renting the runway. Airlines are often happy to get rid of these “leftover” seats by giving them at steep discounts to airline employees – as well as those who know how to navigate the system.
Of course, the airlines can’t publicly sell one ticket for $1,200 and the next for $12. That would wreck havoc on their image, and their bottom line.
That’s why these “rock bottom tickets” — the 21% of the tickets that are leftover, which the airlines are happy to get rid of — are sold on completely different platforms. That way, these tickets don’t show up on sites like Expedia, Kayak or Orbitz.
A travel writer has recently published a video, detailing how non-airline employees can get access to similar deals.
Airlines Earn Less Than $6 Per Passenger
It’s no secret that the airline industry runs on thin margins. According to a recent CNN article, airlines only earn an average of $5.42 for each passenger, after fuel, staffing, and other costs.
“We’re the wrong part of the food chain,” says JetBlue’s CEO David Barger. “Airports and financiers, you look at the profit margins of them versus the airlines. But we recognize we’re the wrong part and you have to be innovative.”
Naturally, airlines are looking to boost their profits any way they can. From charging $2 for tap water to $25 checked bag fees, the list of places the airlines are trying to squeeze revenue from goes on and on.
And one big source of potential revenue is selling off the 21% of unfilled seats as cheaply and discretely as possible.
Although the airlines are generally quite secretive about how these deals are made, this video details the ins-and-outs of this process.