Thursday, March 13, 2008

Buying Air Tickets - Time & Money Factors

There has been a confusion with the customers. A person willing to buy an air ticket is generally confused as to where should he buy his air tickets from. This confusion can be a mixed result of a number of reasons. Especially, when a Traveller is not pretty sure about his preferences i.e. Full Service Carrier to Low Cost Carrier, One Travel Agent over Another or sometimes one Travel Agent over an airline or One Airline over another, Time to Money, Cash to credit card to cheque and many such possibilities that renders him confused to make a firm decision. The person then spend time browsing over internet, asking friends or relatives for advice and making a couple of phone calls before actually buying an Air Ticket.

(I shall keep this limited to the buying of Air tickets only as thats something I shall unveil in the closing end of this article)

For the same reason, it sometimes make me think that Monopoly is better than competition. At least it helps eradicating price discrimination. So, at the end of your journey, you would not feel being exploited unnecessarily and will be much satisfied because every other passenger sitting in that airplane has paid the same price for the journey, which you did. Also, in a monopolistic scenario, you HAVE to buy, as you cannot make choices. Thus, it helps getting rid of the confusion that stuck us everytime we travel.

Now, with all the travel agents sitting all across India - online & offline, the competition is no doubt cut-throat and it benefits you greatly because every agent tries to shell his profits towards you as discounts and thus hope to build loyalty from you and pushing the competitors down. And you avail discounts as if they were a product you bought. But does that help you getting out of the confusion? No. Infact, even then you are skeptical, that there must be someone who could offer a better price. Incidentally, the unknown satisfaction thresholds are much above the known 'discount thresholds'.

Coming back to the innumerous travel agents and the confusion which still persist in your mind even when you have been able to get the best discount on your ticket, we all try to know and get in touch with as many Agents as possible so as to satisfy our insatiable soul of making the wisest decision. This was realised by the businessmen out there in the corporate world and they were ready with a decent solution for all of us. Cheers, We got a new breed of Agents, who did nothing but collected all the Online agents on one single webpage for you to easily compare fares and make a quick decision. This is a great leap which has eased you out of the tiring work of following up referrals, searching web, and doing all sort of things before you actually purchase.

These Agents came to be known as Meta-Search Engines, who searched for your desired flight plan and retrieve information from all the available Online Agents selling that plan, Index it on to their database, arrange them and produce it to you with your choice of sorting them out. Whether these Meta search Agents really succeeded or will succeed is a long matter of discussion & debate and I shall discuss it in subsequent posts. But the fact here is that we have a ready made solution at hand that shows us the best price that we could get if booked on the internet.

Solution of one problem is not the solution of all. There will always be a problem in this world and so would be a solution. This is a balance that God maintains. So now, another problem that many people subconsciously would feel but havent yet been introduced to, is the preference of time over money (or money over time). Factually speaking, there are only two valuable things that make people run: Time & Money.

What makes you decide when you buy an Air ticket- Time or Money? Well both are inversely proportional to each other. More the money you spend, less time it would take for you to reach the destination. But if you want to spend less money, it may take a while before you reach your destination. This is why Trains are cheaper then Airplanes, unless another factor Luxury comes into play. so, mathematically, if Time is denoted as 'T' and Money is denoted as 'M', then

T =k/M (where k is a constant).

Hence, k=T*M. .........[1]

While purchasing a ticket, we always try to strike the right balance between both Time and Money. By eq (1), it is quite clear that if the value of k is minimum, you would not hesitate to
buy your ticket.

It is this k, that shall decide as to what can be a best option for you.

This k, as you would see, shall serve a very nice purpose for you logically and would help in making a ticket purchase much easier than what it had been. I will discuss this in the next Post and we will also see if this will be applicable to the hotels.


Dinesh Arora said...

you gave me a right way to search for a good price for my travel through metasearch engines will you please give me the names of that search engine. I am agree with your idea of single OTA's

aisha said...

Hi, cool post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for sharing. I will probably be subscribing to your blog. Keep up great writing!!!

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Johnes Joseph said...

wonderful post..thanks for sharing..

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