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.
Compare ticket prices at different venues. When Bruce Springsteen played in the New York metropolitan area, seats on the resale market were far cheaper at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., than at either Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center in Brooklyn, said Will Flaherty, SeatGeek’s vice president of growth marketing. When Beyoncé was on tour, the cheapest ticket to see her at Citi Field in Queens, N.Y., was $140, and that was for a lousy seat. Compare that with the cost of seeing Queen Bey at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh a week earlier, where tickets on the resale market could be had for as little as $28; $140 bought a seat close to the stage, Flaherty said.
“When traveling abroad, I usually fly out of a different airport than my ‘home’ one. I live in Indianapolis, but I’ve discovered that flights to Asia and Europe are way less expensive from Chicago. It's about a three-hour drive, but I save almost $2,000 by flying out of Chicago, instead.” —Lori LeRoy, 45, a travel blogger who takes at least six trips a year
If you don't want to put in the leg work, you can let the deals come to you. Condé Nast Traveler shares many of the best flight deals on social media, but for those even more obsessed, it's hard to beat the convenience of flight deal blogs like Scott's Cheap Flights, Airfarewatchdog, SecretFlying, and TheFlightDeal, which are constantly posting deals from around the world. Follow them on social media or sign up for their newsletters.
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.
I agree that ticket reselling is probably not the most efficient form of MS. But it can be a profitable reselling endeavor, not unlike other reselling approaches. As with any business venture or MS strategy, clearly one needs to become educated and decide what works best for them. And as Shawn always advocates on this blog, start small. If it works for you, do more. If it doesn’t, stop.
What you need in order to score premium seats consistently is a systematic approach to purchasing tickets and the right infrastructure to get the job done. All this will come with enough experience combined with trial and error. There is no holy grail—just perseverance and know-how. The book mentioned above offers some excellent techniques and insights on pulling tickets that the average fan will probably not have thought of.
Some low-cost airlines do not allow their prices to be included among the meta-search results because they prefer you to buy directly on their website due to already low prices. Information about their campaigns and discounts are usually communicated directly through their e-news and social channels. Therefore, it makes sense to subscribe to their e-newsletter (if you use Gmail, you can create a filter that allows you to collect all low-cost mail in one folder. Here it is explained how to do it).
This works for your arrival airport, too, but a note of caution – if you’re unsure where the airports are and how to get to and from them, do your research before booking. Sometimes the cheaper airport can cost you more in transportation costs, eliminating any savings you might have made on the fare. The fixed-fare price for a taxi into the city centre from Rome Fiumicino Airport is €48 (per vehicle, not per passenger), compared to just €30 from Rome Ciampino Airport, so bear this in mind when deciding on which flight to book.
To maximise savings, book well in advance and shop around. Just as with flights, comparison sites are the best place to start, but it's also worth trying booking direct, combining parking with a hotel room or renting a personal space near the airport. Our Cheap Airport Parking guide has full step-by-step help, plus we've blagged extra discounts on top to help bring costs down further.
RAFI MOHAMMED: I always ask people on the front line, because they deal with customers. And oftentimes people on the front line can tell you a lot of people would have paid a lot more, or we’re getting a lot of people who are very interested, they take the product off the shelf. They’re interested, but once they see the price, they put the product back.
I’m not sure why it’s a good idea for some, but not others. Certainly there are risks, as I start off the entire discussion by pointing out. But if people do some research, start small, and follow some of my other tips (from today’s post and part 2), then it can be profitable (it’s a career for some!) or at least a low-margin (overall*) MS opportunity. I say overall, because anyone who does this WILL have occasional losses. If someone tries it and finds that the losses outweigh the gains, then they obviously either need to quit or figure out what they’re doing wrong. Again, it is clearly not for everyone, but there are LOTS of people doing it (as anyone who does it knows) and can be a good venture and/or tool.
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).
Qantas American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines and LAN, and has additional commercial agreements with Aer Lingus, Aircalin, Air Niugini, Air North, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Vanuatu, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, Asiana Airlines, Bangkok Airways, China Eastern, China Southern, El Al, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Jet Airways, Jetstar, and Vietnam Airlines.