In today’s digital age, the majority of travelers prefer to book their flights online due to the convenience it offers. However, there’s a lingering question: Is it cheaper to book online or call an airline? The answer isn’t always as clear-cut as one might assume and varies depending on various factors. Let’s break it down and evaluate the cost-benefit of both methods.

Is It Cheaper to Book Online or Call an Airline?
Is It Cheaper to Book Online or Call an Airline?

Booking Online: The Digital Convenience

Booking your flights online comes with a significant advantage – convenience. The digital booking process allows you to explore a variety of flight options, compare prices, and book your tickets from the comfort of your own home. It’s a time-saver, and you can often score better deals because you’re able to take advantage of online-exclusive discounts and promo codes.

  1. Price Comparisons: Online platforms make it easy for travelers to compare prices across multiple airlines, ensuring they get the best deal possible. Websites such as Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner are all excellent resources for price comparison.
  2. Exclusive Discounts and Promo Codes: Often, airlines offer online-exclusive discounts or promo codes which can be applied during checkout to reduce the total cost of the flight.
  3. Convenience: The convenience of booking online is hard to beat. You can book a flight at any time of day or night, without waiting on hold or dealing with high-pressure sales tactics.

However, online booking does have a few drawbacks. Hidden fees are not uncommon when booking through third-party websites, and these can increase the total cost of your flight. Always read the fine print when booking your flight online, and if you have any doubts, it’s a good idea to reach out to the airline directly for clarification.

Dialing Direct: The Advantages of Booking Over the Phone

While online booking has its advantages, don’t write off the traditional method of calling the airline directly just yet. In some cases, this method might offer you cheaper options.

  1. Last Minute Deals: Airlines often provide special phone-only deals at the last minute, in an attempt to fill empty seats. If you’re booking a last-minute trip, it may be worthwhile to call and check.
  2. Complex Routes: For complex travel routes involving multiple airlines or stopovers, a phone booking may result in a cheaper fare. Airline representatives can sometimes piece together routes that aren’t obvious or available online.
  3. Service Fees: Some airlines charge a service fee for booking over the phone. However, they may waive this fee if you can show that you were unable to complete your booking online.

Comparing Online and Phone Booking for Various Airlines

The convenience of online booking has revolutionized the way we plan our travels, often making it the preferred method for arranging flights. However, the query persists, is it really cheaper to book online or call an airline? The answer varies from airline to airline and often depends on various factors. Some airlines may offer special discounts for online booking, while others may apply service fees for phone booking. It’s essential to look at the bigger picture, which includes convenience, accessibility, service charges, and your own comfort with the booking process.

In this section, we delve into this question by examining several airlines, highlighting their online and phone booking procedures, and the associated costs. The aim is to give you a comprehensive understanding of both options across a range of carriers. While both methods have their merits and disadvantages, the key is to decide which factors are most important to you, whether it’s convenience, cost, or having the personal touch of a customer service representative to guide you through your booking.

Before making any decisions, you should thoroughly research the airlines’ policies on their official websites or by directly contacting them. Remember that fees can vary and might change without prior notice. While we strive to provide accurate information, it’s always best to double-check. The following table summarizes whether online and phone booking is available for various airlines, and if service fees are applied for phone booking. Explore the linked articles to gain more detailed insights into each airline’s practices.

AirlineOnline BookingPhone BookingPhone Booking Service Fee
Air France-KLM💰 May Apply
Alaska Airlines💰 Varies
All Nippon Airways💰 May Apply
Allegiant Air💰 Varies
American Airlines💰 May Apply
Austrian Airlines💰 Varies
Avianca Airlines💰 May Apply
Caribbean Airlines💰 Varies
Delta Airlines💰 May Apply
Frontier Airlines💰 Varies
Japan Airlines💰 May Apply
JetBlue Airlines💰 Varies
Korean Airlines💰 May Apply
LOT Polish Airlines💰 Varies
Philippine Airlines💰 May Apply
Singapore Airlines💰 Varies
Southwest Airlines💰 May Apply
Spirit Airlines💰 Varies
Sun Country Airlines💰 May Apply
Swoop Airlines💰 Varies
United Airlines💰 May Apply
Hawaiian Airlines💰 Varies
Virgin Atlantic💰 May Apply
Qatar Airways💰 Varies
Pakistan International Airlines💰 May Apply
Ryanair💰 Varies
Air Koryo💰 May Apply
Citilink💰 Varies
Lion Air💰 May Apply
Air India Express💰 Varies
Bulgarian Air Charter💰 May Apply


In conclusion, whether it’s cheaper to book online or call an airline largely depends on your individual circumstances, such as how flexible you are with travel dates and times, how complex your travel route is, and whether you’re booking a last-minute trip. It’s always a good idea to compare prices online first, and then give the airline a call to see if they can offer a better deal. Remember to also factor in the added convenience and ability to easily compare prices online when making your decision. For more insights on getting the best deals on your flights, check out our article on how to find cheap flights.

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