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Essentially, a legitimate negotiated flat rate that a travel agency has with an airline by contract.
Virtually always non-refundable and only occasionally changeable with penalties
which can be more severe than the standard airline domestic penalty.
Each contract fare has rules that may or may not be substantially different from any other conventional airline ticket.
A contract ticket may not allow for upgrades or frequent flyer miles.
Ticket counter people at the airport may be confused by a contract ticket as it frequently has no price on it.
(Travel agents also call it a bulk ticket.)
The airlines coding for all nonstandard tickets in many cases uses the same airline internal codes as award,
gift and incentive tickets. Why this is done is a mystery to us as well.
However, these are legitimate tickets and the savings compared to a “normal” ticket can be very substantial.
International tickets are almost always some type of a contract or bulk ticket.
You would never want to purchase a “normal” ticket for international flights, except when included as part
of a “package deal” or perhaps during a “low” season sale.
(Package deals universally use contract tickets…you're just not aware of it)
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