Buy local, save big, and not just in Morocco’s famed souqs.
I was flummoxed how I could not replicate a Royal Air Maroc fare I found on ITA Matrix. The Royal Air Maroc website errored out and OTAs came up with a price $100 extra. I thought it was only because of my unusual routing with a deliberate 24+ hour overnight in Casablance so I can drive up the Atlantic coast to Tangier and Spanish Ceuta.
It was a helpful travel agent that dug out the issue in the GDS ticketing system, “15.SALES RESTRICTIONS TICKETS MAY ONLY BE SOLD IN MOROCCO.” This agent does not publicize his business, instead working only by existing client referral, so I am respecting his request for anonymity.
I then learned that Morocco has currency controls. The Royal Air Maroc website provides a clue. When you switch to the local Maroc website, you immediately get three types of payment options:
- Moroccan credit card (payment in dirhams)
- International card (payment in currency)
- Cash payment (in dirhams)
The prices are the same for each payment option, are quoted in Moraccan Dirhams (MAD), and significantly lower than the global site and other websites.
A one-way Casablanca to Marrakesh is 897 MAD (91 USD) versus 161 USD.
This is similar to booking tickets for China and Vietnam flights.
So, here’s the quick steps:
- Go to the Royal Air Maroc domestic site (in English).
- Buy your ticket.
- (Alternately, call Royal Air Maroc, their numbers direct over to Morocco and they price locally. In this case, register a frequent flyer number first to speed the call and reduce potential for errors in the booking).