fsnuffer From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 229 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1630 times:
I was just thinking about how US airlines are complaining about not being able to differentiate themselves on quality and how this relates to them getting rid of travel agents. On multiple occasions, US carriers have offered more leg room or higher levels of service just to see the flying public go with the lower quality offering because it was $10 cheaper on the web. I remember back in the early eighties going to Gensler Travel Agency in Babylon, NY and I was going to book on one carrier but was counseled to pay a small extra to go on another because of a better offering. By removing travel agent commissions and their ability to offer advice, did the airlines shoot themselves in the foot by making price the single most important factor in booking?
WesternA318 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 5395 posts, RR: 25 Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1617 times:
Quoting fsnuffer (Thread starter): By removing travel agent commissions and their ability to offer advice, did the airlines shoot themselves in the foot by making price the single most important factor in booking?
As a travel agent, I still advise my clients on which airline to pick, in regards to theri preferences on schedule, time of travel to their destinations, etc. etc.
Woohoo! Back to Beirut in Oct '13! (Along with a stop in DOH for 4 days)
newark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 33 Reply 2, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1617 times:
Quoting fsnuffer (Thread starter): I remember back in the early eighties going to Gensler Travel Agency in Babylon, NY and I was going to book on one carrier but was counseled to pay a small extra to go on another because of a better offering.
And of course they got a higher fee as well. Or am I being too cynical?
My feeling is that there's enough info out there that you don't need the "advice" of a travel agent. And it's the airlines' job to get the message out there as to why people should pay more for their premium offerings.
DLDTW1962 From United States of America, joined May 2009, 393 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1573 times:
Yes, we need travel agents. As a Travel Agency ower. We advise which carrier would be better for the client that is
traveling. Remember, when you purchase your travel on line you have no line of defense when your airline or tour
company goes out of business. Or when your flights are canceled and the airline is jacking you around. You don't
have anyone who knows the rules to help you out. The airlines are not going to help you out at all if they can
do nothing and knowingly is breaking the laws that protect you as a consumer so they can make a buck off of you.
They have also seen a decline in revenue since they stopped paying us commissions. Air Canada has started paying
out commissions to Canadian Travel Agents and they have seen an increase in their revenues.
So yes....Travel Agencies are need to keep the consumer from being ripped off by the airlines...
rolfen From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 1764 posts, RR: 2 Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1481 times:
Travel fares are complex things, necessitating services from a travel agent.
For example, fares for shorter round-trip tickets (ie 1 week or less) are considerably higher then those for longer round-trip tickets. Small airlines might offer good deals but now be known to the public. Travel agents can book charters. They can put you on multiple lists.
Granted, sometimes you dont need an agent, but sometimes they are useful in assisting you to plan your travel.
Quoting newark777 (Reply 2): My feeling is that there's enough info out there that you don't need the "advice" of a travel agent. And it's the airlines' job to get the message out there as to why people should pay more for their premium offerings.
You could use the same argument against career counselors, psychologists, and many other counseling professions. I wont debate whether the argument is valid or not, I'm just saying, think twice...
FATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5667 posts, RR: 17 Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1447 times:
I've used the same travel agent for 25 years. For short out and back flights or a couple of days in a hotel I make a lot of reservations myself. Not worth her time and I can get it completed pretty quickly.
But for anything more involved I rely on my agent.
Why? first it saves me time, there are things I want to do besides read through a lot of inane reviews from people who didn't like a resort because the ice in the drinks wasn't square or round or whatever.
Also I do some of my own research but my agent has seen places I haven't. So I value her first hand experiences if I'm considering a trip somewhere I haven't been. And we can bounce info off each other about what is right for me.
I liked a few of the reasons in the article including:
**When you don't have the time - "If you're a busy professional with no interest in doing the research and would rather be dreaming about sipping a Caipirinha on Copacabana beach than doing all the legwork to get there, why not work with an agent?"
**Travelling Internationally - "if you're headed off to a country whose name you can't pronounce, you probably need to stay off the computer"
**Special Events - "A honeymoon, anniversary or class reunion falls into this category. But mostly, a honeymoon. Engaged couples have enough to worry about,"
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
mariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 22711 posts, RR: 88 Reply 13, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1413 times:
Quoting newark777 (Reply 5): Probably a generational difference as well. I've never used a travel agent and honestly wouldn't even know where to go to use one.
Mostly, it's for the deals. My travel agent in LA could get me trans-Pacific fares in First Class for less than the price of Business Class.
LAX-LHR or SFO-LHR? I never paid anything like full price, because of her. She books the hotels - she gets great deals and if something goes wrong , she sorts it out - and she could get great upgrades.
Once or twice, I'd check. I'd see if I could replicate her quote on my own, on the computer - I couldn't get close.
VHTJE From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2009, 306 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 1348 times:
Quoting mariner (Reply 3): For anything else, I will always use a travel agent.
Personally - and apologies for offending any agents seeing this, but I am only stating my experience here - I am not certain I see the point of an agent. Whenever I used an agent in the past, I couldn't escape the feeling that I was being sold something that suited the agent, not me. (I am thinking more of hotels there than flights.)
My biggest personal beef with booking with an agent is that if I want to change my flight, if I telephone the airline I get told that they cannot change the flight, I need to contact the agent. This is not convenient if I am in BNE and the agent with whom I made the booking is asleep in Cambridge, UK.
The only personal advantage I have experienced in using an agent was that I was once able to get a terrific routing on a round-the-world ticket at a resonable price. The same itineray done directly with the airlines was considerably more.
But often it is cheaper to book directly with the airline. My last flight was booked directly with AY; our regular agent couln't come close on the price on the dates we wanted to travel.
On the other hand: if I was doing a complex itinery involving lots of sectors, stopoverss, hotel stays and hire cars - then yes I suppose an agent would be a time saver.
It's the same for me. For most vacation/'charter' flights the travel agent's rate is significantly lower than those available directly from the airline or online travel agencies. However, this doesn't benefit the airline much, as bargain hunters don't do much for the bottom line.
For domestic trips I usually book directly with the airline, but for international trips (especially those involving hotel/car/tours) I like the added security of going with an agent. Does it always pay off? I'd say so, as all trips booked through them have been quite good.
Radial engines don't leak oil, they are just marking their territory!
JMackey From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 294 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1298 times:
" Brick and Mortar " travel agencies serve a very important function for their corporate clients, or folks that would rather trust someone else to book their leisure travel. The thought of doing away with them would be a tragic mistake.
On the other hand, I have a very sore taste in my mouth for pyramid schemes that sell " want to be a travel agent " packages to sometimes underqualified people. I know this because I used to work for one.