Aaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 7891 posts, RR: 27 Posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2022 times:
In the last year there's been a lot that's come out about the dubious practices of travel agencies in Japan, particularly last summer when they were adding extra fees claiming they were part of the fuel surcharges brought by airlines.
Have there been similar problems in the country in which you reside? Currently the Japanese government seems to be unwilling or unable to do anything about this consumer rights issue.
[Edited 2007-01-01 11:52:08]
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Goldorak From France, joined Sep 2006, 1749 posts, RR: 4 Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2008 times:
In a lot of countries, travel agencies charge "service fees" which are most of the time more expensive than the same fee charged directly by the airline if you book directly through it. These service fees have been implemented when the airlines stopped to pay commissions to the agencies for bookings. So it's slightly different from your story as these fees are not part of the fuel surcharge. I never heard of such (bad) practices.
Rdwootty From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 900 posts, RR: 2 Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1954 times:
You cannot expect a free service these days. The airlines,who used to pay 9% of the ticket price to travel agents stopped this. So do you want to pay for expertise that could save you may pounds/yen by looking at all the options or book it yourselve and find you did not get the best deal? You ;pay your money and take your choice.Remember that the airlines charge you to use the call centres as well.
LAXdude1023 From Lebanon, joined Sep 2006, 7041 posts, RR: 25 Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1880 times:
Quoting Aaron747 (Thread starter): In the last year there's been a lot that's come out about the dubious practices of travel agencies in Japan, particularly last summer when they were adding extra fees claiming they were part of the fuel surcharges brought by airlines.
Being a travel agent, I might be able to shed light on this. Alot of times the way we make commission is when we get a price from a wholesaler and mark it up to just below the published rate. Some of my collegues also use the technique that you describe. Im not as keen on it. Its too risky. Also this is used more on long distance and international travel here, not on domestic.
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OA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26028 posts, RR: 58 Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1828 times:
Travel agents have a right to charge service fees otherwise how are they to make money. As long as they offer a good, friendly service I think they are still a useful service. If you get stuck somewhere or need to change your flight who do you contact?? A call center in another country and hold for hours!!! If you find a good Travel Agent then you will know what I mean.
As long as the service fees are reasonable and displayed at the counter then its transparent. Most agents here in Ireland charge Eur30 for a flight which is around GBP20 the same some airlines charge so its reasonable enough.
I have never experience the type of practices that the OP mentioned as it is always broken down on the invoices I got.
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Spacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3365 posts, RR: 13 Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1824 times:
Quoting OA260 (Reply 5): Travel agents have a right to charge service fees otherwise how are they to make money.
The way they always have; from the airlines.
I understand this is not happening anymore, and maybe the business is changing. But then they can't wonder why people are now booking their own flights through Expedia or whatever. The fact that travel agencies basically used to be "free" for customers is one reason why customers used them. It was basically a free service subsidized by airlines in order to get passengers to ultimately spend more money by buying larger, more inclusive packages and flying more often.
If the service is no longer free, though, then there's a lot less incentive for customers to use it. If I have to pay a service fee on tickets I could otherwise just book myself, why would I bother using a travel agent? So in the end, both the travel agencies *and* the airlines will suffer from this practice (the airlines will suffer because if people don't use travel agencies anymore, they won't have anyone guiding them to the packages that the airlines want them to use).
That said, I used a travel agency on my last trip (JALPAK) and I was happy with them. I don't know if they charged me any sort of service fee or not, but they did get me ticket prices pretty far below what I could have booked myself (I checked), and ditto for the hotel rates. The total cost was a few hundred dollars less than the cheapest I could manage on my own, and they got me better hotel rooms in the same hotels than I could even by paying more. So if they can still manage that, it may still end up being worth it even if they do charge a fee. The key is just to keep the fee smaller than the discount by a significant enough margin to retain their customers and attract new ones.
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This is only true of some airlines which offer commission direct to travel agents on nett fares.
Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 6): But then they can't wonder why people are now booking their own flights through Expedia or whatever. The fact that travel agencies basically used to be "free" for customers is one reason why customers used them. It was basically a free service subsidized by airlines in order to get passengers to ultimately spend more money by buying larger, more inclusive packages and flying more often.
People pay to use travel agents for complicated itineraries, as arranging them for ones self, especially if you are either computer illiterate, or do not have the time or expertise to plan your trip.
However I quite agree some airlines will suffer due to neglect of travel agents; especially BA!
Access-Air From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1939 posts, RR: 14 Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 1614 times:
I actually think that airlines that claimed that they were saving millions of dollars by taking travel agency commsions away just simply took that 10% and shifted it to the client....So their cliam that they are saving money is bugus....Airlines have actually created a bad situation by which they are eliminating the people and relying too heavily on automation (Internet bookings) to fill their planes. They have also downsized their planes by spreading Regional Jets all over the place. The way I see it is if airlines had elected to NOT take away our commisions and sell driectly to the general public as they now do, they could probably charge more for their fares, fares that will actually allow them to make money.
E-TKTS are okay but partly to blame. Still I believe that airlines could have limited the ability to buy thru an agent or the airline itself. It just makes it more difficult to convince people that as smart as some think they are about booking travel, some just dont have the clue to book themselves out of a paper bag.
We, in our agency are selling personalized service as well as travel. When something goes wrong with an airline or cruise or vacation package, we are here to help you resolve that issue whatever it is. If you book it by yourself and you have a problem, who do you have to turn to???
How many times do we see people on this very forum asking for help with something that they booked themselves, when they could have gone to a reputable travel agent and had the problem taken care of as part of the service they paid for? Too often!!!
And for you cheapies that think you can book it all by your self....Just this morning we had a couple come in and sit at my co-worker's desk. They booked their airfare and their accomodations to Hawaii by themselves...They only came to us to waste our time asking for free travel tips and information....Our office has THREE Hawaii Specialists....Basically, my co-worker told these two ballsy people that we only provide such information for PAYING CUSTOMERS that book with us....and that any information we give out to them our agency would charge a $20 consultation fee......They looked at each other and said, "Oh no, we wont pay that....." They promnptly left....
Travel agencies dont stay in business by picking money off the tree in the back yard....
Delta Air Lines was the initial insitgator of the Commission cuts, I wonder if they rememebr that they actually used to dedicate the whole month of February as Official Travel Agent month......I still have a calendar to attest to that.....It was entitled, "Where would you be without a Travel Agent?"
Those were the days......
Bhxfaotipyyc From Portugal, joined Jun 2005, 1644 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1588 times:
Why should travel agencies inform clients whether they charge a fee or not? People are free to shop around, or look online - it's a free market. When you walk into a store does the price tag say how much the store paid the manufacturer and then how much of a mark-up the store is adding? Of course not. What would you be more annoyed at - finding out only $190 of the $200 ticket you paid the agent went to the airline, or finding out the store where you paid $50 for your nice jeans is actually paying their supplier $7 for them?
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LAXdude1023 From Lebanon, joined Sep 2006, 7041 posts, RR: 25 Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1570 times:
Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 6): It was basically a free service subsidized by airlines in order to get passengers to ultimately spend more money by buying larger, more inclusive packages and flying more often.
Used to be the airlines would give us commissions. Now most do not. Only a few do.
Quoting Bhxfaotipyyc (Reply 9): Why should travel agencies inform clients whether they charge a fee or not?
Quoting Bhxfaotipyyc (Reply 9): People are free to shop around, or look online - it's a free market.
Exactly, we can charge whatever we want. No one is forcing the client to buy it. If I want I can charge my client 2k for a flight from LAX-SFO, they dont have to buy it. We try to be competitive.
DFW Fan Boy: Im crude, irreverent, and blunt, but Im not clueless. I offer no apologies.
Australia1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1505 times:
a lot of agencies add $20-$30 per ticket to cover chnages in taxes/charges, which are often a nightmare to get right, as they chnage daily with exchange rates & so much expensive time can be wasted over what the current taxes/charges are.
For this reason think that CRS's future is limited, as, as soon as long haul with stops can be sold in an online booking facility, what airline would want to use CRS's & their expensive fees !!!
AirScoot From United States of America, joined May 2005, 688 posts, RR: 2 Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1484 times:
Quoting Australia1 (Reply 11): For this reason think that CRS's future is limited, as, as soon as long haul with stops can be sold in an online booking facility, what airline would want to use CRS's & their expensive fees !!!
Keep in mind that those CRS's and their expensive fees are what keep the airlines running. They handle everything from reservations to inventory management to ticketing to bag tracing. There's a lot more than you'd think involved...
In order to divest themselves of the CRS, the airlines would have to come up with something comparable to replace it - which would entail development costs.. and would be a larger project than you would think. There were some strides in that direction with companies like Navitaire but the functionality still remains limited given the needs of a full service carrier.
And before anyone brings up the "what about the internet booking engines", keep in mind that there's a CRS attached to the back end.
AirScoot From United States of America, joined May 2005, 688 posts, RR: 2 Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1372 times:
Quoting Australia1 (Reply 13): Navitaire & co improving all the time & about 1/10th to 1/5th cost of a CRS !!!
In that you are, indeed, correct. In terms of functionality/PNR handling/Eticket processing, the percentage is also in the 1/10th to 1/15th percentage That said, I say give 'em another 5-10 years of development and they'd be a true contender.