Thanks for your reply, Mike. You make some very fair points. To be fair to me, I think I at least alluded to a number of them. And this is not intended to be a deep dive on ticket reselling (although recall that there is a Part 2 coming Saturday). I can’t imagine anyone would stick with any reselling activity (tickets or otherwise) if it had a less than 50/50 profit/loss rate. Of course, overall profit margin is the more important factor. When I first got started doing this, it was tough to get over the losses (and they will happen – as I highlight more in Part 2).
Copying ultra-low-cost airlines such as Spirit and Frontier, now Delta, American and United also sell bare-bones economy class fares. On domestic routes, they typically cost $40-$60 round-trip less than regular economy, although the savings can be greater to international destinations. Buy one of these fares and, except on Delta, you'll pay even for a carry-on bag unless it's small enough to fit under the seat in front of you; you won't be able to choose a specific seat before check-in (which means you'll end up in a dreaded middle seat), and your fare will be entirely non-refundable and non-changeable. Although I'd never buy one of these airfares, my millennial friends, who apparently travel with just a change of clothes and a toothbrush stuffed into a backpack that slides under the seat, tell me that they're worth the inconvenience.
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When you use reward miles to pay for a last-minute award flight, it's not uncommon for the airline to charge a "close-in" fee. One of the few airlines to not charge this fee is Delta. If you're a Medallion member, you can also enjoy free first class and premium seating upgrades for any unsold seats, which is a second way you can save money on airfare.
In a world filled with more options than ever, it's your job as a consumer to stay informed. Luckily, the businesses that want you to choose them have made it easier than ever to stay up to date. Whether you have a trip coming up soon, or simply know that you'll be planning a vacation sometime next year, take some time to prepare. When the time comes, you'll have all the information you need to get the best deal. 

New York State lawmakers in May renewed the current ticket-selling law, which expires annually; new pending legislation would stiffen civil penalties and impose criminal ones for bot usage. Meanwhile, there are two ticketing bills under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives, which would prohibit the use of bots and give the Federal Trade Commission enforcement authority. With significant reform unlikely to happen soon, how do you avoid getting gouged on ticket prices the next time you want to go to a ball game or take in a show?
This is your first step, and it’s probably the most important. Ticket brokering can be fun and extremely lucrative, but it’s not for everyone. There are a lot of unpredictables, a lot of tough decisions, and a ton of organizational work that goes into this business. If you’re just learning about ticket brokering and you need an introduction on how it all works, this is not the career where you can simply “learn on the job.” What will end up happening is you’ll buy thousands of dollars worth of tickets that you can’t sell and you’ll just get discouraged.
In a study from earlier this year, CheapAir analyzed the data of 921 million fares. The company found that between 320 and 106 days before a trip, plane tickets tend to hover at a static price. However, at the 105-day mark, price start dropping, until they reach a nadir at 54 days, before ticking back up. Then, at the 20-day mark, prices dramatically increase.

Search sites occasionally beat the fares on the airline's official site, sometimes by using "mix and match" journeys to connect the legs of a single trip on multiple airlines. (However, these trips can be difficult to rebook in case of a delay or missed leg — review the schedule carefully, watching out for very tight connections or extremely long layovers.)
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Sorry, I really don't have a clue about BART PD, except they are not to be fucked with. The cops have to enforce property rights all the time when someone refuses to leave a bar, restaurant or even a private home, or whatever. The Giants pay SFPD for "x" amount of officers to be in uniform and on duty at every game, to protect their interests. By offering the tickets for sale on their property is prohibited in the tiny print on the ticket, so ipso facto hocus pocus, you've committed an infraction.
Google Flights, Expedia, Kayak, and Priceline are all reliable search sources, and will direct you to the airline's site or a third party to book the ticket. Though it may not be the ideal, if you have flexible dates or can fly out of nearby airports (rather than your home base) you can usually find a great deal. Many search sites like Google Flights allow you to browse prices for an entire calendar month at a time. By searching nearby airports—say, arrive at London Gatwick instead of Heathrow—you may be able to save hundreds.
Having a baseline fare is a good starting point. Not only can you work this expense into your budget as a line item and save for it, you feel like you have your bearings when it's time to research fares. Budget $1,000+ for international fares, and around $400 for domestic fares. If your fare ends up being higher, you can adjust other trip expenses accordingly, like cutting what you spend on souvenirs and gifts.
If you wait until the last minute to book, airfare can be outrageously expensive. You might be able to save up to 60% by booking a Priceline Express Deal. You won't know the exact the flight times or carrier, but, if there are only a few available flights, you might be able to make an educated guess based on the travel windows Priceline provides before you book.

And the second thing that you have to do, and I haven’t seen anyone discuss this, is that for low demand events, you have to have a way to let consumers know that, gee, we’ve lowered our prices. So if I’m interested in going to a rock concert, I’m not going to go to the website 10 or 12 times to see what the prices is. But if I know, much like on Broadway, that the day of, that they lower prices for some Broadway shows, there has to be an event that consumers will know, oh, maybe I should go back and check and see what the price is. So those are the two ways to think about dynamic pricing when demand is high or demand is lower than expected.
Let's say you've done your best to find the lowest fare, and then the day after purchase your non-refundable fare goes down $100. Sure, if you ask for it you can get a refund for the difference, but it's a little-known fact that some airlines will charge you a "service" or "administrative" fee as high as $100 for domestic fares or from $200-$300 on international ones, wiping out any savings. United, however, will give you the entire fare difference without extracting a fee, as will U.S. Airways (which prominently displays this policy on its site) and JetBlue as long as you accept the reimbursement in the form of a voucher good for future travel. Northwest charges just $25, for both domestic and international fares. American and Delta extract the $100-$300 fees; Southwest gives you a credit for a future flight without charging a fee. Even on these less generous airlines, however, we've heard of plenty of instances where a polite entreaty will get you a full fare difference refund without the penalties, so it's worth try.

Rarely ever do airline tickets get cheaper as your departure date approaches, especially if you need to fly on a certain date. Budget airlines typically offer low rates as a baseline price, and as these tickets sell, the remaining ones increase in cost. This is very typical in Europe and Australia. If you know when and where you’re going, don’t wait on an unknown sale. More often than not, your biggest savings come from booking far ahead when you can.
United Airlines' MileagePlus: You can earn and spend points on flights with 28 airlines to and from more than 1,100 destinations, thanks to United's StarAlliace partnership. The huge route network, in and out of the U.S., is key here, and makes the complicated MileagePlus redemption plan worth it. Your best bet is to use the points calculator tool to work out how many points you need to get a free flight, and work backwards from there.
Stick to the major players. In addition to StubHub and TicketsNow, established resellers include Razorgator, Vivid Seats, and ScoreBig, which all offer money-back guarantees in the unlikely event a ticket is a counterfeit. (Fake tickets are a potentially bigger problem if you buy from individuals on sites such as eBay or Craigs­list.) You can shop on individual websites or use SeatGeek, a search engine that scours dozens of resale sites. When shopping, you should also:

Online travel agencies, such as Kayak, Travelocity and Orbitz, have made the search for inexpensive airfare easier than ever. Perhaps because of that, many travelers begin and end their search for airfares with one of these sites. Yet there is more a traveler can do to find moderately priced airfares with fewer stops and/or better timing; stopping after the initial search means missing out on these opportunities.
Aim to buy higher quality tickets. Unlike selling online, you are probably not going to be able to sell to a large amount of buyers while scalping in person. Realistically, a dedicated scalper may only sell to a few parties in one night, so it's important to make those sales count with higher quality tickets. Buy your tickets early, and make sure the tickets themselves are part of a tier that's bound to sell out fast.
A. The sweet spot is between 6 weeks and 3 months prior to your flight for domestic flights, 2 months to 4 months for Caribbean destinations, and 4 to 5 months for Europe. Any farther before and the airlines haven’t started to actively manage fares on the route. The pricing is still on auto-pilot, if you will. Any closer to your flight than these ranges and most cheap seats will be sold out. Within 2 or 3 weeks of a flight airlines assume you’re a business traveler (or a desperate one) that will pay whatever the fare is.
Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards: Southwest's rewards program is strong, especially if you make frequent domestic trips. Your reward comes from dollars spent, based on fare class—that's six points per dollar on "Wanna Get Away" tickets; 10 points per dollar on "Anytime" tickets; and 12 points per dollar on "Business Select” tickets. When it comes to redeeming there are no blackout dates, not even holidays, and no change fees or cancellation fees, either.
General question for anyone in the know about this. So I'm trying to get tix from StubHub (as usual) for opening night vs. DC but I'm not paying $27 a seat for my wife and I to sit at the very top. I guess I'm considering "doing business" with the gentlemen outside of the arena next to the police and the bucket drummers. This is my first time doing this.
Some people think ticket scalping has a negative connotation associated to it. The word scalping has its origins in the stock market. Investors who trade very often, every day, are called day-traders. They make money buying and reselling stocks because they believe small changes in a stock price is easier to predict than larger moves. Therefore, they trade often and in small amounts which makes them small profits repeatedly. Traders who implement this strategy are refereed to as scalpers.
At Texas A&M I was an ECON major, a sports nut, and gambling freak, so this ticket broker thing just about summed up every interest I had. My career did not begin at Texas A&M, though, but in New Jersey at Seton Hall University. I was in Grad School and I realized I was about 12 months away from having to find a real job. All throughout college I tried to get internships with various sports teams and I even worked for ABC Sports for a few years, but nothing fit. My ultimate career goal in life was to have my own businees but not have the type of business in which I had to work 100 hours a week.
As their nickname suggests, discount airlines can save you a bundle, but they’re not always easy to find. Luckily for consumers, discounters are cropping up more frequently on aggregators and booking sites (Kayak now offers fares for JetBlue and Spirit, for example) — but there are still a few holdouts, such as Southwest and Allegiant Air, whose fares can’t be found anywhere but their own websites. If you’re traveling outside the U.S., don’t forget to check the international discount airlines as well.
Kiwi.com, on the other hand, will mix and match airlines (including budget airlines) in order to find you the very cheapest route. For long-haul flights especially, this can make a huge difference. The same search on Kiwi.com returns a route at $459.80 USD via JetBlue, Norwegian Air, and Vueling. That’s a savings of $171.40 USD, and the travel time is even shorter!
Our detailed how-to guide spells out how to find mistake fares easily on your own. Basically, AirFare Watchdog and Secret Flying are great resources to stalk for finding mistake and sale pricing as they conglomerate slashed ticket rates all in one spot. Another great approach is to search for flights for an entire month using Skyscanner (Tip #3 in this article). This will allow you to easily spot a significantly reduced fare against what’s displayed that month, and has twice helped us stumble on error fares ourselves.
Airline credit cards generally lure you in with promises of free bags, but other credit cards offer this perk, too -- take five minutes and call your credit card company to see if this applies. Many companies also automatically offer travel insurance, which means you won’t need to buy that from the airline either. Just remember travel insurance isn’t “I decided to sleep in” insurance, and only applies in situations stipulated in the policy. So maybe read up on that.
When it comes to some things in life -like Coachella tickets and restaurant reservations on Valentine’s day- it pays to book early. The same can’t always be said for booking flights. Flash sales or low booking rates can drop airfare prices as your travel date approaches. Be careful though- waiting too long can cost you big time too. Studies show the sweet spot is around 6 weeks before your domestic travel dates or 12 weeks before international travel dates. Everything else aside be prepared to book a ticket to one of your bucket list destinations on a whim when you hear of a sale!

For the sake of convenience, we’d all like to live near a major hub like New York or Toronto, but the fact is that river cruisers come from different parts of the world – and chances are your hometown airport doesn’t have direct service to places like Budapest or Prague. But it’s equally likely that you have more options than you know about. Wikipedia can be a great resource for researching your airport, as most have a complete listing of airlines that serve each airport along with their respective destinations (check out this page on Vancouver International Airport to see what I mean.)
No matter how good it sounds, you should never book the first fare you see. Start your search by checking a few of the major online travel providers such as Travelocity, TripAdvisor Flights or Kayak. SmarterTravel’s sister site, Airfarewatchdog, is another good source of cheap airfare. Checking these sites will give you a preliminary idea of which airlines fly your particular itinerary, what the going rate is and which restrictions might apply. Armed with this information, you can head directly to the airline website to see if the same flights are any cheaper (some airlines guarantee to offer the lowest possible fares on their own websites). While you’re there, check to see if the airline is running any sales or promotions to your destination.
Nonstop flights, although convenient, are expensive. To save money, book a flight with at least one stop. Also, search for flight deals at airports close to your destination. Sometimes it's cheaper to fly into Oakland than San Francisco, say, or Newark instead of JFK. Of course, be sure to factor in any additional ground-transportation costs involved in reaching your final destination.
Airlines, in general, rarely share all the possible fares or "fare buckets" that are available on any given flight on any given day. Many times travelers are faced with choosing between a full fare ticket and the lowest fare ticket, not knowing that there can sometimes be as many as 20 additional fare buckets available for that flight. At best, only the lowest fare in each fare category will be presented to the business traveler as options.
As with many companies, sales reps and executives are their most frequent travelers. Many times a sales rep will know exactly when they are leaving on a trip but are uncertain as to when they will actually return and have a need for an open-ended ticket. This means the purchase of a full fare ticket or at the very least, changing an existing ticket with a penalty of $75 or more. Each fare bucket offered by an airline comes with its own set of restrictions and many times purchasing a ticket that is not the lowest fare available (but not full fare), will allow flight changes without penalty and provide maximum frequent flyer points.
Some think that aggregators such as Skyscanner or Kayak always lead to an online travel agent (OTA) with the cheapest flight price. But while they can help with some airlines, others are better booked directly. These include low-cost carriers such as Norwegian, and charter airlines such as Thomas Cook. Anything but a standard full-service international carrier will often have cheaper prices if you book through the airline itself.
If you're excited about seeing an adored artist or important game, it might be easier to miss red flags when buying tickets online. Scalpers generally have real tickets to sell while scammers do not, said Katherine Hutt, a national spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau. Both are financially motivated and use a combination of scarcity and immediacy to lure consumers.

Is it possible at all? A bullet-proof secure and transparent solution, at the same time streamlined and easy to use for fans, without extra hustle? A solution that would enable artists and promoters to control revenue and pricing both on the primary and secondary markets as well as provide flexible tools for ticket vendors, while helping maintain fair pricing for fans?


SARAH GREEN: So as companies like that start experimenting, I think part of the reason it’s useful, for instance, to talk about ticket scalping is that it becomes obvious when you’re leaving money on the table, because, well, either people are willing to pay more or they’re not, or, as you mentioned at the beginning, they’ll pay less. So it’s sort of easy to see how close you are to the mark by how close you are to that secondary market. But if you are in a business where your product or service doesn’t get quote, unquote “scalped,” how do you know if you’ve got it right?
Kiwi.com, on the other hand, will mix and match airlines (including budget airlines) in order to find you the very cheapest route. For long-haul flights especially, this can make a huge difference. The same search on Kiwi.com returns a route at $459.80 USD via JetBlue, Norwegian Air, and Vueling. That’s a savings of $171.40 USD, and the travel time is even shorter!
Comparison-shop "air plus hotel" promotional deals. Some airfare aggregators and airlines offer "getaway" deals. For one low price, you get a round-trip flight to a European city as well as a few nights' lodging. Given Europe's high accommodation costs — especially in big cities — these can be a good value, though you can expect to be put up in a soulless business hotel.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to save money on flights and lodging that don’t involve eschewing them altogether—life hacks I didn’t even realize existed until I began reporting this story. Like, did you know you can download apps that will alert you the moment the price goes down on that flight you had your eye on? Or that hotels will often offer you better deals on rooms you’ve already booked if you find that room available for a cheaper price after the fact on some other site? The list goes on. And here it is:
Don’t go lugging an oversized suitcase filled with a whole semester’s worth of clothes (or weird contraband) through TSA, but if you’ve got a small- or medium-sized bag you’re willing to part with for a few hours, taking it to the gate and volunteering to gate check it can save you a bag fee. It also earns you goodwill with the flight crew, as you appear to be sacrificing something for the good of the plane, even though you’re just being cheap. Of course, this doesn’t apply to airlines that charge for carry-ons to begin with, and you’re probably out of luck (meaning, there’d be an administrative fee of around $50) if you’re flying Economy Plus on a legacy carrier, too.
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