re: Flyinggismo's remark: As far as using time to book tickets on the net, only a tard would have a problem booking a flight in more than two minutes.
Well, first off, it takes more than "two minutes" if you're planning a long trip with multiple destinations, including hotel rooms, rental cars or limo services, conference rooms in hotels, etc. If your itinerary is complicated, that "two minutes" becomes a hell of a lot more. Why should a small business owner handle that crap, when a simple phone call or e-mail to a travel agent gets it all taken care of? TIME has VALUE, you know.
But more importantly, when you're actually out on the road and have to make a sudden change on a multi-destination trip, it's a lot more efficient to make a quick call to a travel agent, who will rebook EVERYTHING for you, than try to make changes on the Web. Especially if it's an international trip. And what if you're on the road or in some small town airport, and don't have Internet access?
Large corporations have in-house travel departments, or outsource the function to a travel agency. They don't expect individual employees to screw around with travel bookings. Small businesses use indepedent travel agencies for the exact same reasons.
As for (f)or years the travel agents have been ripping the public off with absurd commission rates...
, the AIRLINES paid the commissions, not the PASSENGERS. A given routing would cost the same whether you booked through an agent or called the airline directly. The airlines have pocketed the savings (and no, I don't blame them, it's just reducing a cost of doing business!), but in effect fares actually went UP
to the customer, since the customer either has to pay a service charge to the airline (if their carrier charges one) for booking directly, pay a service charge to a travel agent (yes, including Expedia or Travelocity), or has to spend the time to book it themselves on line (that whole "time has value" thing again.) For simple domestic flights, the "time cost" is very, very small - and in some cases, may be zero, if web booking is faster than a phone call to a travel agent would have been. (My time pretty much has zero value on a Sunday afternoon, especially if I've had a few beers.
You seem to have some sort of fixation on travel agents "ripping you off." Offering a service that saves you time in exchange for a fee is not "ripping you off", any more than, say, me paying my dry cleaner for washing and pressing my shirts is ripping me off...I could do it myself, but that would cut into my "fun time", which has value to me. I make a cost-benefit decision here. (Also, I really suck at ironing.) And for those who don't have a PC
? Presumably they've chosen not to have a PC
because they see no value in having one. If they only fly occasionally, it's more cost-effective for them to just pay a travel agent's fees than get a PC
(and an ISP
One more thing, your remark on the elderly? My step-father is 70 years old, and makes all his own travel arrangements on the Internet. Try not to stereotype in the future, okay? It makes you look like a 'tard.