How to Book a Flight Without Using a Travel Agent

Booking Online

1.

Visit a site which shows airfares and flight options. The site can be the airline's own website (Delta, for example) or the complete-search sites such as Kayak or Travelocity. Kayak shows dozens of airlines and flight options at once, allowing you to further hone your travel options.

2.

Type in the departure and arrival airport codes where prompted. If you do not know the airport codes, type in the city and state and the site will show airport options. Choose the appropriate airports.

3.

Select your departure and arrival dates. Select "my dates are flexible" to show the best price options.

4.

Select your preferred flying options: first-class, business class or coach, and whether you prefer direct, non-stop or multi-stop flights. Hit "Enter."

5.

Review the search results. Select your preferred flights. Some websites will open a new window on your computer so you may book a flight directly with the appropriate airline.

6.

Check the seating options by selecting "Check seat availability" in the flight menu. Choose a seat on the departing flight. Repeat for the returning flight.

7.

Proceed to the "Review options" page and confirm your selections and the price. Click "Continue" to fill out personal details required before purchase.

8.

Enter your personal information in the spaces provided. If booking the flight for someone else, be sure to have their complete information, including date of birth, ahead of time. Hit "Enter."

9.

Enter credit card details where prompted. Click "Continue" to review the details once more before the purchase is finalized.

10.

Enter your email address where prompted to receive a receipt and e-ticket.

11.

Click "Complete the purchase" to book the flight. A confirmation message will appear onscreen. Copy the confirmation code for future reference, in case the email does not go through.

Booking by Phone

1.

Complete steps 1 through 5 in Section 1.

2.

Open another browser tab. Go to the same website viewed in the other window. Find the "Contact information" section of the site and select the phone number used for booking reservations.

3.

Call the reservations number listed on the website while viewing your selected flight options. Give the agent your personal information and credit card information when asked for it.

4.

Jot down the confirmation code and e-ticket number for future reference.

Tips and Warnings

  • If having problems making a reservation via the Internet, most airline and travel sites have agents available to assist by phone. Have your credit card and flight information handy if you need to finish the booking by phone.
  • Compare prices before booking. Kayak is a great place to see what competing airlines charge for similar flights.
  • Join the airline's website to view your flights and make changes online. Join their sky miles club to receive perks and special offers. After completing enough flights, the accumulated miles can be used for free travel.
  • Some flight reservations are non-refundable or require fees if one wishes to change dates after booking.
  • Booking a flight can be done anytime by any adult with internet access. The internet allows you to compare flights, airfares, seating classes and even special deals. It even lets you see whether travel will be cheaper a day or two outside the preferred flight dates. The only requirement for booking air travel yourself is a valid credit or debit card.