It takes less than 15 minutes to book cheap air tickets from the time a person begins filling out the search form until they receive a booking confirmation in their inbox. Many events and processes are involved on the airline side in issuing a ticket and verifying that the correct individual boards the plane.
In this article, we’ll go over the flight booking pipeline and the various processes that support it.
Steps In the Flight Booking Procedure
Let’s assume you’re looking for flights to Johannesburg; now it’s time to examine what happens between the time you make your reservation through a travel site and the time you claim your luggage at the destination airport. The entire traveller/airline interaction can be broken down into several basic steps:
- Flight search,
- Flight booking,
- Ancillary booking,
- Using frequent flyer miles and points,
- Payment processing,
- Check-in and boarding, &
- Baggage Handling and Reclaim.
Searching & Booking Flight
A passenger can now book a flight directly on an airline’s website or through indirect channels such as OTAs such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or Priceline, or metasearch engines such as Reliance Travels or Skyscanner. The search process will differ differently in terms of technologies and results depending on the type of retailer.
Through the airline’s website. The website bypasses the GDS entirely by sending a search request straight to the airline’s CRS and then displaying a list of available flights to the user. However, most customers want to compare costs from several airlines or need to arrange a complex itinerary that involves more than one airline. Obviously, they will use third-party platforms that aggregate offers relevant to a passenger’s enquiry from many sources.
Metasearch engines are used. Metasearch engines comb through offerings from several OTAs, full-service airlines, and low-cost carriers (LCCs) that do not generally distribute their inventory through GDSs. As a result, guests will have access to the broadest range of flights available on the market. On the negative side, a traditional metasearch engine lacks booking functionality. Instead, it refers visitors to a partner platform to complete the next logical step.
Regardless of the source of booking, the airline CRS must determine whether the flight product in issue is still available for reservation. It then responds to the travel retailer with the status code HK (“holding confirmed”). The alternative response is UN, which indicates that the carrier is unable to fulfil the request.
At this point, the CRS must also generate a PNR. During the booking process, a merchant — whether an OTA or airline website — obtains personal information such as a passenger’s name and contact information and forwards it to the CRS. Once all required information has been acquired, the system creates a PNR number, which serves as an electronic address for the file in the database.
Processing of Payments
The desire to fly must eventually be backed up by money. At the end of the day, travelers should pay the ticket for the utilization of a seat, just as duties and the expense of ancillaries (assuming any.)
Payment gateways, which are third-party services that manage transactions while also ensuring data security, can be used to make financial transactions between passengers and low-cost airlines more convenient. The scenario becomes much more difficult when full-service airlines, GDSs, and OTAs are involved. In this case, monies must be sent through IATA’s payment processing system, the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP).
The traveller will receive an email with the flight itinerary and PNR number once the payment has been verified. That’s enough to watch the flight’s progress, cancel the trip, or, in the case of a direct booking, change the future voyage and add ancillaries. People, on the other hand, require tickets to board the plane.
Ticketing and booking are two separate processes. A reservation only guarantees a seat on the plane. Ticketing indicates that the passenger has paid for the seat and is entitled to use it during the flight.
Even if a traveller pays for the trip in full, as most OTAs and LCCs require, there is a time lag between these operations. It can take up to three business days to verify payment information and complete the money transfer.
To give an e-ticket or individual electronic receipts connected to the PNR, the organization should be guaranteed by the recently referenced BSP and ARC. This is not something that all air travel retailers can afford. Instead, they book flights through certified partners such as large OTAs, air consolidators, and host travel agents.
In any event, the e-ticket, along with the passenger’s name and PNR number, is finally emailed to the traveller. If the booking cannot be booked for any reason, the travel company must provide an alternate flight or a full refund.
Checking-in & Boarding
A traveller must provide their PNR and name during check-in so that the system can match them with those in the CRS and assign a seat. The technique varies slightly depending on whether you’re doing it online or offline.
Online check-in is normally offered 48 hours prior to departure; however, this varies by airline. A traveller enters data from an e-ticket on a carrier site or application to access an airplane seat map, which permits them to choose a particular seat. If a user does not choose it, the system assigns a free one at random and generates an electronic boarding pass. Check-in kiosks work on the same concept.
Check-in at the airport in this scenario, a passenger delivers an e-ticket to the airport agent at the check-in counter so that the details can be entered and a seat reserved on a seat map.
The departure control system generates a boarding card once passengers check-in, allowing them to board the plane. It is printable or can be downloaded to a mobile device. A QR code is scanned as the person walks to the plane, and the PNR status changes from “checked-in” to “boarded” to “flown.”
The flight buying process is claimed to be simpler today than it was previously because there are no more ticket agents and you no longer need to call them to reserve a paper ticket.
A single booking, on the other hand, needs a number of separate tasks, many of which are entangled, and if you require assistance at any stage of acquiring cheap air tickets, please contact Reliance Travels and we will take care of the rest.