Centrav Resources
4 Profit-Killing Myths about Selling Airfare

4 Profit-Killing Myths about Selling Airfare

In the early days of the airline industry, a travel agent’s main source of revenue was through commissions. When the airline industry cut commissions in 2002, travel agents were driven to become more innovative in the way they earned a living. Many turned their focus to cruise and tour packages where they could still get a commission, leaving their travelers to figure out airfare on their own. A reluctance to sell air is often driven by 4 myths that will hurt your bottom line.

Myth 1: My clients don’t mind booking their own airfare so it’s not a problem.

Reality: You will probably lose clients if you don’t book the entire trip. When customers seek a travel agent they want to give the burden of responsibility to a pro.

If a client comes to you for a travel package, they don’t want to scramble and pull all the pieces of their trip together on their own. Even with the rise of Online Travel Agencies, booking airfare can feel risky, unpredictable and confusing to someone who doesn’t do it for a living. If you sell travel packages without air, you put yourself at risk of losing clients to a full-service agency.

Myth 2: Selling air will cost me time and money hassling with debit memos.

Reality: True if you book air in a GDS, but not so if you book air through Centrav.

Any travel agent who has used a GDS knows how easy it is to make a mistake. Enter… the dreaded debit memo. An Airline Debit Memo (ADM) is a fee that airlines charge for mistakes made during the booking process. The average travel agent who books air in a GDS incurs $12.70 in ADMs for every $100 of commission. But an ADM can cost you thousands – or hours of phone calls trying to get it waived or reduced.  The high possibility of loss due to errors can be enough to drive some agents completely away from selling airfare. But using an airline consolidator like Centrav allows you to avoid the headache of GDS training, issuing tickets, monitoring schedule changes, sitting on hold with an airline to resolve problems. More importantly, it completely removes the heavy weight of debit memos from your shoulders. You will never get an ADM when you book on Centrav.com.

Myth 3: I can’t make money in selling air.

Reality: Selling air can be an easy way to increase your bottom line.

Travel agents usually complete a booking on Centrav.com in less than 3 minutes. And, that travel agent’s average profit per booking on Centrav is $100. Think of it this way; if you could make just two bookings per week you would add over $10,000 to your bottom line each year.

In regards to servicing your customer, a good, long-term relationship with an airline is invaluable. Centrav’s 30 years of business and high volume of sales has earned us Top Account status with most major airlines. We have access to commissions and net fares that are not available to small agencies. Some of our net fares are hundreds of dollars lower than the published airfare. Centrav.com shows you the published airfare so you can compare before you add a markup.

Myth 4: Travelers don’t really need my expertise because they can get it on the internet.

Reality: The internet doesn’t know travel or your client like you do.

Reality: No one wants to plan the trip of a lifetime only to realize they did a poor job planning their trip: booking a flight with terrible connections, overpaying for museums and tours when they could have gotten a package deal, booking a hotel in an inconvenient location… These are all mistakes they could have avoided by going to an expert–like you!

And when you need help with your client’s air schedule, it’s great to know that all you have to do is let us know about it. Then just go back to your business of selling travel. We will deal with the airlines via our Top Account Desk. If it can be done, we can get it done.

Be a mythbuster!

You book these trips every single day. You may have even been to the destination yourself. Own it! Speak confidently about what you know. Share your insights and advice, even during the quoting process and your new client will recognize your value goes far beyond the ability to sell a travel product. Don’t be afraid to put a price on your knowledge.

Likewise, Centrav is the air expert. Let us be YOUR air expert. We succeed only when you succeed so let us help you win.

We want to provide you with the tools and skills to make airfare a profitable component of your agency. Contact our Agent Support Team with questions or to set up a time to do an in-depth training on our tools and services! We offer free training via recorded tutorials, recorded webinars, and live webinars. Ask us for help!

Greg Rholl

Greg is Vice President of Business Development and has been employed with Centrav since June of 1991. He serves as an integral part of Centrav's leadership team with a focus on client relations and sales.


  • Thanks for this Greg….I can attest.
    I have sold air almost exclusively for 13 years and with great success. Centrav is the top asset for any travel agent when booking air for clients.

    • Thanks, Jack!
      We appreciate your business over the years and are thankful for the opportunity to serve you.

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