Booking flights by phone

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Booking Flights by Phone

Best practice for using your phone when purchasing airline tickets

It might seem odd for a website to recommend finding a flight by phone, but sometimes the phone is best for researching and booking your flight. wants you to find the best fare regardless of how you do it. Read on for our top tips:

Why book flights by phone?

  • Sometimes you can get cheaper flight deals
  • With complex itineraries the human touch can help
  • Specialists can offer expert advice

When booking via an airline:

  • Have a paper and pen ready
  • Ask if there is a surcharge for booking on the telephone rather than online
  • Find out what restrictions and fees exist if you need to make a change or cancel later
  • Ask if savings are possible by purchasing your accommodation too
  • Is it a nonstop flight? If not, find out exactly how long the flight will take and where you will be transiting
  • Find out whether you will be able to check-in online after making a telephone booking
  • Always ask to make seat assignments (and meal request if required) during your booking
  • If you are a frequent flyer make sure they have your information
  • Ask if discount fares are offered for children, seniors or students if applicable

When using a consolidator or discount travel agency:

  • Ask whether there is pricing and availability for an alternative airline
  • Use the expertise of the assistant who may suggest cheaper dates or routing
  • Try to negotiate. Sometimes the price is not fixed
  • Ask if their ticket will allow you to earn mileage
  • You can usually hold the seat for 24 hours with no charge. If you say you are going to shop around they may give you an extra discount
  • If it is a discounted ticket ensure that you are comfortable with the restrictions
  • Ask the name of the airline, flight times and route. They are not allowed to advertise the details of the cheapest deals online but you can ask on the phone


  • Recap everything before ending the phone call – flight numbers, times, date, day of week, connections, how your name is spelled (use legal name only that matches your ID) etc.
  • Ask for the name of the person you spoke to and their telephone and extension number
  • Ask for a reference number (usually a record locator)
Author: Brittany Dietz (230 posts)

Brittany has travelled to France, Germany, The Netherlands, Mexico, Canada and all over the U.S. She's passionate about travel and has big plans for future trips! Brittany is a Content and Social Media Executive at Cheapflights.