Here’s a guide to the options available for anyone that wants to promote flights online. I hope it’s useful to someone!
Online Travel Agency Affiliate Schemes
Even in these days of cutting out the middle man, promoting an online travel agency (OTA) instead of an airline direct can reap dividends. Because they offer more choice of flights there is a higher chance of conversion. It’s also true to say that without a good converting website an online travel agent won’t last long in this slim margin industry so generally they convert OK. You can also use these sites for airlines that don’t have affiliate schemes or have such duff websites that you’re better of sending the traffic to the OTA.
- ebookers – Affiliate Future
- Expedia – Tradedoubler
- Lastminute.com – Tradedoubler
- netflights.com – Tradedoubler
- Opodo – Affiliate Window
- Travelpack – Affiliate Future
You might also find that coincidentally you get some conversions for hotels too via the OTAs, as they are in general better at dynamic packaging than many of the airlines.
Airline Affiliate Schemes
Here’s a list of airline affiliate schemes. There may be some that are on two or more networks at the same time so I would be grateful for any comments if you spot any omissions or errors.
- Aer Lingus – The Irish low cost airline which also has a base at Gatwick can be promoted via Tradedoubler.
- Air France – CJ
- Air New Zealand – Affiliate Future
- Air South West – Affiliate Future
- Avro – Affiliate Future
- British Airways – Affiliate Window & Tradedoubler
- Brussels Airlines – Affiliate Future & Tradedoubler
- Canadian Affair – Not exactly an airline but if you can promote Canada flights you’ll find them at Tradedoubler
- Cathay Pacific – Tradedoubler
- Emirates – CJ
- Finnair – Tradedoubler
- FlyBE – Tradedoubler where you can earn 1%. Will need to sell a lot of flights to retire early.
- flyBMI – flyBMI have quite a proactive affiliate manager. You can find the scheme at CJ
- flythomascook.com – the seat only website for Thomas cook has their affiliate programme at affili.net. Publishers can earn between £5 and £8 per booking.
- Iceland Express – A bit niche perhaps but there is a generous payout of over £15 per booking on the schemes availabe at Affiliate Future & Webgains. (webgains has the higher payout).
- Jet2 – At last a low cost airline with an affiliate scheme. You can join the Jet2 scheme at Affiliate Future. They only fly from the North of England, Scotland and N.Ireland though so be careful where you promote.
- KLM – KLM have a massive longhaul route network via Amsterdam. You can find them at Tradedoubler
- Lufthansa – Tradedoubler
- SAS – Tradedoubler
- Singapore Airlines – Tradedoubler
- Snowjet – The snowjet affiliate scheme is at Affiliate Future where you can earn £5 per passenger.
- Swiss International – Tradedoubler
- TAP Portugal - Affiliate Future
- Transavia – This off shoot of KLM can be found at Tradedoubler. Not much UK activity by this airline right now though.
- Virgin Atlantic – Affiliate Future
Flight Comparison Affiliate Schemes
I’ve also included these “meta-search” schemes since they offer a great way to make some money for publishers of travel websites. Typically they will pay for every lead rather than a booking, so while payouts are low you should be able to get a steady stream of income from them.
- Cheapflights.co.uk – This scheme at CJ pays out a flat fee of 20p every time a user clicks on a partner offer. With typical conversions of over 100%, it is common for multiple payouts to be earned from a single user. They have some good search banners which seem effective at encouraging users to search.
- Fly.com – This scheme is at Tradetracker. I just found out about it so haven’t reviewed it yet.
- Liligo.co.uk – Via CJ. This is a nice site. They pay between 3p and 33p for outgoing clicks.
- Skyscanner.net – The Skyscanner affiliate programme available via CJ has some useful “who flies where” widgets to encourage your visitors to do a search. Instead of a flat fee for a lead skyscanner works on a revenue share deal.
Why Promote Flights Online ?
“In the past 25 years the [UK air transport] industry has seen continuous growth, and the demand for passenger air travel in particular is forecast to increase from the current level of 236 million passengers to 465 million in 2030″ source : Wikipedia
For many airlines, their direct to consumer websites account for the majority of their bookings. Some low cost airlines rely on online channels for a high ninety something percent of their total seats sold. For this reason you can expect their websites to be optimised for conversion and have very few offline leakage points (such as high street shops or call-centres). While airlines do of course have call centres they don’t encourage their customers to call, often hiding the phone number or making it expensive to call.