Cheap Asia Flights 2: Online
or Offline Flight Booking

"Cheap Asia Flights 2" was last updated on Jan 12, 2013

Online flight booking, © Babiy

Should you buy a ticket online or at a travel agency?

In my experience,

  • online travel companies offer cheaper tickets than ordinary travel agencies
  • if you're in a hurry, booking a ticket online process fast. You receive an e-ticket immediately.

But if you want to book a flight early, you should do this at a travel agency.

  • Travel agents allow flexibility

If you decide to buy tickets from a travel agency, you usually pay 1-2 months before departure. The downside with online booking is that you usually have to pay the minute you carry through the booking. Many things can happen before your departure, and cancelling a paid flight ticket without a good reason, will burn hole in your pockets. In most cases, you can change the departure date from online companies, but there's a fee involved. Always read the policy before you hit that buy-button. 

  • Some backpackers prefer travel agencies, so they can have that personal contact with a human being, instead of a computer.

Like, if you have questions regarding your trip or flight, you can ask the staff. Normally they're experts on traveling, and might give you some valuable information.


If it's a last-minute booking, you should consider buying online.

If you're booking online like 6 months before, you have to be sure that you have a cancellation insurance which will cover the flight costs in case of emergency.

Sometimes a travel agency has better deals than the online travel companies (especially for students). Try it out before going online. Some travel agencies also have special deals with airlines.

Like, in winter 2011 my mom had special deals with KLM which gave her customers a higher luggage allowance. She made a deal with them, allowing customers traveling to the Philippines to have a baggage allowance of 46 kg. That's 26 kg more than the usual!

If you're interested in buying your ticket at a travel agency, here's a tip from mom: 

Look up small (and reputable) travel agencies.

If you buy your ticket at a large travel company, you'll likely get charged too much for the ticket.

Why you say?

Travel agencies sell tickets on behalf of the airlines. And the last couple of years, some airlines have stopped paying commissions to travel agencies.

Large travel agencies have of course big expenses (office rental, employees' payment, office equipment etc.)

So, they have to charge a large enough commission per sale, to cover their expenses. This commission is usually in the form of a booking or a service fee. Commissions equal income for them. 

But smaller travel agencies usually don't have big expenses. So they will likely charge a small commission.

Like my mom, she runs her business solo (with the help of dad). And she only has a small office in downtown Oslo. The only expense my mom has, is the office rental. So she only takes a small commission. And that's one of the reasons she is successful. Her regular customers appreciate that she sells cheap tickets.

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How to book tickets
while you're abroad

Alright, you're already in Asia and need a flight ticket. How do you handle this?

Firstly, locate an internet café. If you're traveling within Asia, check out cheap airlines like:

  • Air Asia (covers entire Southeast Asia, China and more)
  • Nok Air (Thailand)
  • Lion Air (Indonesia)
  • Jet Airways or IndiGo (India)

Check out flight prices and compare them. If you're booking a couple of weeks/months in advance, make sure you read the cancellation policy before you hit the buy-button.

I encountered a problem regarding my Jet Airways ticket from Kochi to Delhi.

I had second thoughts about traveling in north India, after a hard field study in Kerala and just wanted to relax on a beach. So I decided to ditch travel in the north, and go for Goa instead.

The original plan was to travel with 4 other people, and I was the one who booked the Jet Airways tickets for all of us before we left for India. The reservation was in my name. The others wanted to continue their journey to north India, but it wasn't possible without me.

Since the reservation was in my name, I HAD to be on the flight for the others to be able to fly with Jet Airways. It was either "you're all flying, or you're all staying."

Since I decided this the night before departure to Delhi, I didn't have the time to cancel the whole reservation and then make another reservation for these 4 girls.

So, I had to go (but don't regret it though :-))!

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