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Middlemen sell cheap air fares

If you want to save money on airline tickets, consider a consolidator.

Consolidators buy tickets in bulk directly from airlines and resell them at reduced rates, usually without all the advance purchase requirements.

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While a consolidator often sells these tickets to travel agents, some are sold directly to the public.

These tickets can be a good buy, but there can also be a downside. They may carry heavy cancellation penalties, be nonrefundable, or not be eligible for frequent-flyier credit.

To find a consolidator, check the classified section of most Sunday newspapers.

The ads may not contain the word "consolidator," but if they quote very low fares, chances are good that the advertiser is indeed a consolidator.

Once you agree to buy a ticket from a consolidator, don't pay for it until the airline confirms your reservation. Ask the seller for a record locator number, then call the airline to confirm your seat on the flight you requested.

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