How Did You Book Flights Before the Internet

How Did You Book Flights Before the Internet?

In today’s digital age, booking flights has become incredibly convenient and accessible with just a few clicks. However, it wasn’t always like this. Before the internet revolutionized the travel industry, booking flights required a more time-consuming and manual process. Let’s take a journey back in time and explore how people used to book flights before the internet.

1. Travel Agents:
Before the internet, travel agents played a crucial role in booking flights. People would visit travel agencies or call them to discuss their travel plans. Travel agents had access to flight schedules, fares, and availability through specialized systems and databases. They would provide options based on customer preferences and handle all the necessary arrangements.

2. Phone Bookings:
Another way to book flights was through direct phone bookings with airlines. Customers would call the airline’s reservation line, speak with a representative, and provide their travel details. The representative would then check flight availability, provide information on fares, and finalize the booking over the phone. Payment was usually made through credit cards or by visiting the airline’s office in person.

3. Airline Offices:
Customers could also visit airline offices in person to book flights. They would consult the airline’s staff, who would manually check flight availability and provide the necessary information. This method required customers to physically visit the office, which could be time-consuming, especially during peak travel seasons.

4. Travel Brochures and Magazines:
Travel brochures and magazines played a significant role in providing flight information before the internet era. Airlines and travel agencies would publish brochures containing flight schedules, fares, and destinations. Customers could browse through these materials to select their preferred flights, and then contact the airline or agency directly to make the booking.

5. Recommendations and Word-of-Mouth:
Before the internet, personal recommendations and word-of-mouth were vital in booking flights. People would ask friends, colleagues, or family members who had recently traveled for advice on flight options, fares, and quality of service. This method relied heavily on personal connections and trust.


Q: Were flights more expensive before the internet?
A: Flights were generally more expensive before the internet due to limited competition and the lack of price comparison platforms. Travel agents often charged fees for their services, which increased the overall cost.

Q: How far in advance could you book flights without the internet?
A: Customers could typically book flights up to a few months in advance. However, last-minute bookings were often challenging and could result in higher fares or limited availability.

Q: Were flight changes or cancellations more difficult without the internet?
A: Yes, flight changes or cancellations were more challenging without the internet. Customers had to call the airline or travel agency directly and follow a manual process to make any modifications. This could be time-consuming and prone to errors.

Q: How did people find the best flight deals before the internet?
A: Finding the best flight deals required extensive research, comparing fares in travel brochures, or relying on recommendations from others. Travel agents were also helpful in finding discounted fares or promotional offers.

Q: How long did it take to book a flight before the internet?
A: Booking a flight could take anywhere from several minutes to hours, depending on various factors such as availability, preferred dates, and the complexity of travel plans. It often involved multiple phone calls or visits to different travel agencies.

In conclusion, booking flights before the internet was a more time-consuming and manual process. It involved visiting travel agencies, making phone calls to airlines, or relying on personal connections. The convenience we enjoy today was nonexistent, and finding the best deals required more effort. The advent of the internet has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we book flights, making it faster, more accessible, and offering a plethora of options at our fingertips.

Scroll to Top