Booking flights by phone

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Best practice for using your phone when purchasing cheap flights

Sometimes the phone is the best tool for researching and booking your flight. Though it might seem odd for a website to be saying this, we want to help you get the best deal, whatever the method…

Why book flights by phone?

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

There are some useful insider tips that can help ensure you get the most out of booking by telephone and that your reservations and travel go as smoothly as possible.

When booking through an airline:

  • Have a paper and pen ready
  • Ask if there is a surcharge for booking on the telephone rather than online before you make your reservation
  • 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 with your flights
  • Find out if it is non-stop flight. If not, find out exactly how long the flight will take and where you will be making your connection
  • Find out whether you will be able to check-in online after making a telephone booking
  • Always ask to make seat assignments (and meal requests if required) during your booking
  • If you are a frequent flier make sure they have your information
  • Ask if discount fares are offered for children, senior citizens 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 agent who may suggest cheaper dates/routing
  • Ask if their ticket will allow you to earn mileage points
  • 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 you are buying a discounted ticket ensure that you are comfortable with the restrictions
  • Ask the name of the airline, flight times and route. Agents 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)
  • Ask for the name of the person you spoke to and their direct line
  • Ask for a reference number (usually a record locator)

(Featured image: 白士 李)

Booking flights by phone was last modified: July 1st, 2015 by Oonagh Shiel
Author: Oonagh Shiel (3400 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!