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Booking Through Travel Agency, How Many Of You?  
User currently offlineRootsAir From Costa Rica, joined Feb 2005, 4186 posts, RR: 40
Posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3767 times:

Ever since 2 years ago, I book all my flights via the airline's webpage which saves me paying agency fees.

Concerning the hotel, I always look up on the internet !


How many of you are still booking a flight via a travel agency ? And hotels ?

Regards
BM


A man without the knowledge of his past history,culture and origins is like a tree without roots
20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3767 times:

Not I.....have not used a travel agency in probably 10 yrs.


Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineBananaBoY From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 1595 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3755 times:

Yes. Only for a "package" holiday, including TG flights and hotels. Saved us quite a bit too.


Mark



All my life, I've been kissing, your top lip 'cause your bottom one's missing
User currently onlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40076 posts, RR: 74
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3753 times:

The last time I used a travel agancy was for a trip to Cuba back in 2001.


Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3749 times:

Ok... since I work for a company that owns travel agencies on four continents, I guess I just might not be the most neutral person here...  Wink ... while I've booked a couple of flights directly on airlines websites, I usually end up booking my own flights in Amadeus or Sabre myself - because I, with extremely few exceptions (something around 10%) always end up with a lower fare than what I'd be getting on a website.

... and that's without even going into nonrev options...



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineQXatFAT From Israel, joined Feb 2006, 2405 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3728 times:

I useually purchase my own tickets via the website of the airline. Mostly Delta or AmericaWest/US Airways as well as my short hops to the north on Horizon.

For group travels such as Kenya this summer I use a travel agency because we have 28 going. Also Virgin Atlantic will not work with people for group tickets. Only travel agents.

For Hotels, I book them online on Orbitz.com



Don't Tread On Me!
User currently offlineSwissy From Switzerland, joined Jan 2005, 1734 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3726 times:

It all depends, just flight, airline direct (99%), packages like air, car, sleep, tours..... always with the travel agent, if I have to book for business, travel agent all the time (corporate policy)

Cheers,


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3702 times:

Quoting Leskova (Reply 4):
I usually end up booking my own flights in Amadeus or Sabre myself - because I, with extremely few exceptions (something around 10%) always end up with a lower fare than what I'd be getting on a website.

Could you explain this a bit more? Are you just seeing better fares on your GDS, or is it because of a discount you're given by being in the industry?

For myself, I'll use a website such as ITA ( http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/prego ), and if I can't match or better the fare through the airline's website, or an alternate such as Orbitz, I'll go to a travel agent to book the ticket. mobissimo.com is another good source I use to search nearly 200 travel websites at once to come up with the lowest cost options.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineACDC8 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 7653 posts, RR: 35
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3702 times:

I don't book with travel agents anymore. No offence to any members who are travel agents, but I really ask myself if travel agents actually travel themselves, 'cause with the stuff they try to tell/sell you, it's safe to assume that they don't. A few examples in recent years:

- LT and DE do not fly to Canada.
- TS does not fly to Germany.
- All rental cars companies in Germany charge drop-off fees regardless where you drop the car off.
- 25 minuntes is enough for a cnx at LHR going from T1 to T4.
- There is no KL flight that leaves before 8am from DUS to AMS.

I like to book my trips myself, that way I can customize it the way I want and if anything goes wrong, I can only blame myself.



A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
User currently offlineHPLASOps From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3698 times:

In the last 8 years, the only time I heard of anyone using a travel agency to book a vacation was when my parents and another couple went to Austrailia for 3 weeks two years ago. The primary reason they used the agency was because of the complexity of the itenerary. They wanted to make it a combination New Zealand/Austrailia through a tour group, which involved going to many cities throughout AUS/NZ, and using mulitple airlines (NZ for the LAX-AKL leg, QF for Austrailian domestic travel). There were mulitple hotels involved as well. My parents are both in their 50s, and while still of sound mind and health, would've never been able to get all the details of the trip together and right without the use of an agency. It was the first trip to the southern hemisphere for both of them. In that situation, a travel agency came in very good handy.

For the record, they much preferred the service they received on NZ as opposed to QF, for those considering going down under and don't know which one to choose.


User currently offlineSK601 From Belgium, joined Jun 2005, 976 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3694 times:

I haven't used a travel agency for years. I book my hotels at the hotel website or via Expedia or Priceline. Same for car rental. I do go to the travel agency to pick up some brochures to see what they offer and how their trips are organised. Based on that information I make my bookings.

User currently offlineBMED From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 860 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3693 times:

I always booked via the net and one day the internet at home was down and needed to book a FR flight before it went up in price. The flight include taxes and charges £19.97 but the travel agent wanted to charge a £35 booking fee so I went to an internet in the end. Now I always book via the net.


Living the jetset life! No better way to be
User currently offlineFemme From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3690 times:

We always book our two week holiday to Greece with a well known High Street Travel Agent. As mentioned previously, as it's a package, it's easier.

Flights to Ireland or Germany (where we have family and friends) we book directly via the Airlines Website.

I recon booking the main holiday through the Travel Agent (including travel Insurance) takes the worry out of organising it plus if theres a problem we can refer back to them. We also get a better rate of exchange with them !

Claire


User currently offlineCXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 3090 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3685 times:

We use travel agencies, when booking flights for others (family like sisters + brother-in-law) as many places, the card holder must be on the flight and booking. We also use travel agencies, for very complicated things like when my mother went PER-BKK-somewhere in Cambodia -stopover-BKK-stopover-Chiang Mai-stopover, plus a travel tour of Cambodia. We are now using a travel agency to get a safari in Kenya Big grin

Otherwise, when they are simple trips return or oneway, internet sites are always better.

-CXfirst



From Norway, live in Australia
User currently offlineRedTailDTW From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 757 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3681 times:

The last time I used a travel agency was in 2004.

Mason



Northwest Airlines. Now your flying smart!
User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3431 posts, RR: 26
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3674 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

I make use of Flight Centre whenever I have a complex itinerary like the RTW I just returned from. I also make use of the agency whenever I want to prepay hotels in advance, ruling out nasty surprises upon check-out. Also, Flight Centre (with its Australian connections) was able to get me a decent hotel room in Sydney during the Ashes Cricket and New Years Eve, when all the hotel websites showed sold out accommodation.


Rgds

SA7700



When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
User currently offlineCarmenlu15 From Guatemala, joined Dec 2004, 4763 posts, RR: 30
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3670 times:

Having had my first contact with the industry as an airline employee, I always wondered what use could a travel agency be nowadays... until now that I work for one. Big grin From what I've seen here, you might end up finding cheaper air fares through the airline's website (unless it's a huge VFR destination like LAX, where many agencies have bulk rates). For hotels and complete packages, though, the agencies are able to negotiate much better rates to offer to their customers.  yes 

- Carmen



Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
User currently offlineAirScoot From United States of America, joined May 2005, 688 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3650 times:

We are required by policy to use a travel agency for work. I don't have any problems with them because they have managed to pull my butt out of the fire while I'm on travel more than once.

Having spent a considerable amount of time in the industry, it's nice to see that a good number of agencies are moving away from their traditional reliance on air for their income and are moving more towards packages. For the larger ones the bread and butter is from travel management and tracking. Unless you could acutally find an airline willing to comparison shop, they're not going anywhere.  Wink


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 18, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3625 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 7):
Could you explain this a bit more? Are you just seeing better fares on your GDS, or is it because of a discount you're given by being in the industry?

As I noted further in my post, I meant without going into non-rev options - I practically always end up finding a better fare in the GDS than I'd be able to get on a website.

Last example: US Airways wanted to have €100 for a PHX-LAS-PHX flight last October, I was able to book exactly the same flights for €80 (both including taxes) in Sabre.

I'll admit that if I had to pay some service charge on top of that, the website very well could end up cheaper - but for me, airline websites are, for the most part, a non-issue.



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3608 times:

Quoting Leskova (Reply 18):
I'll admit that if I had to pay some service charge on top of that, the website very well could end up cheaper - but for me, airline websites are, for the most part, a non-issue.

That's really interesting. I've been using a website that's supposed to be the back-end of some of the travel websites, ITA, ( http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/prego - you can login as a guest), and I've often found great disparity between what they offer and an airline's website. I'm curious if what prices, routings, and availability they show would be the same as in the GDS you use.

Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 16):
For hotels and complete packages, though, the agencies are able to negotiate much better rates to offer to their customers.

Say I'm Joe Traveler, which I am, and I wanted to spend two weeks in Europe, split equally between London, Paris, and Amsterdam. What advantage does a travel agency offer in the example you outlined above, that I would get price-wise, that I couldn't find on my own? I could search for a good airfare, do pre-paid rates at hotels, etc. Is a travel agent able get a better selection of hotels to choose from, perhaps, or have access to packages that aren't offered anywhere else?

I come from a family of travelers, and I still have a few old itineraries of relatives from past gone eras where their travel plans were hand-typed on parchment paper (literally), so I'm somewhat sad to see travel agents close up shop and move on. I know they can open doors sometimes that others can't--I've experienced it myself. But what is the bottom line? I look at a travel agent nowadays more as a concierge, someone you'd pay when you need something done you don't have the access, ability or time to do yourself, rather than a real necessity. And I honestly don't mean anything degrading by that, it's just that the industry has changed. However, that said, I am open to having my mind broadened on what a travel agent can do.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineAirScoot From United States of America, joined May 2005, 688 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 3586 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 19):
That's really interesting. I've been using a website that's supposed to be the back-end of some of the travel websites, ITA, ( http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/prego - you can login as a guest), and I've often found great disparity between what they offer and an airline's website. I'm curious if what prices, routings, and availability they show would be the same as in the GDS you use.

ITA does it by dropping virtual lines per carrier. They rely on internal carrier pricing for what they offer. If you do a search on low fare statistics by GDS, some of them aren't all that spectacular.. so it depeds on the carrier you're talking about.

To that end, I've seen Sabre price out lower on itineraries involving United than Apollo. To that end, if you were to use the ITA interface, you'd get what Apollo prices out at.. or essentially what the carrier sells at.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 19):
. Is a travel agent able get a better selection of hotels to choose from, perhaps, or have access to packages that aren't offered anywhere else?

It's all about the package. There are still a number of wholesalers that won't sell to the public. The last one I worked for didn't because the margins were too thin and the public was too much trouble  Smile


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