Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
noelg
Posts: 2313
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2002 11:39 pm

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:09 am

Quoting 7LBAC111 (Reply 45):
I have been screwed around before by travel agents - wrong hotels booked, wrong flights booked, car hire screwed up etc.

Don't you think that if this constantly happens to you, that there might, just might be another reason for it? ie. You?



Quoting Mikephotos (Reply 44):
Sure, travel agents should do all the work but the client does play a part in verifying what is going to be booked and/or ticketed

The problems we've had have all shown correct on any invoice etc. For instance, for our honeymoon we were not only booked into the wrong hotel at Luton (the itinerary said "Holiday Inn Luton Airport", which was actually the "Holiday Inn 10 miles down the road", which was caused by the silly bint at the travel agents keying in the wrong code.

We booked car hire through a travel agent, paid everything upfront to the travel agent, then had to pay again in Greece as the travel agent hadn't done what they had to do and pay them. If I'd have paid and booked directly with the hire car company there wouldn't have been that issue, and even if there was I would have been able to deal with it with them directly.

Do you not think, as an A.netter my first thoughts are always to check my itineraries and make sure everything's correct?  Wink

The problem is that UK travel agents are 99% 17 year olds whose experience of travel is a fortnight in Torremelinos. They aren't travel people, they are people who sit behind a desk, key in information and then say "bye bye", as you say "bye bye" to your money.

And finally, not to stir things up any more, but why do people have to be so quick to jump down people's throats in here? Surely we all share a common hobby - can't people just bite their tongues and be nice about things? It's not just this thread its plenty of others. Chill out people!

My case now closed, back to the aviation!
 
BAxMAN
Posts: 655
Joined: Fri May 28, 2004 7:51 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:06 am

Quoting Noelg (Reply 50):
The problem is that UK travel agents are 99% 17 year olds whose experience of travel is a fortnight in Torremelinos. They aren't travel people, they are people who sit behind a desk, key in information and then say "bye bye", as you say "bye bye" to your money.

I hope you don't take offence, but that's a bit of a dim-witted statement. Travel agents are not restricted to the high street chains of Going Places, Lunn Poly, MyTravel etc. I deal with travel agents all day long and the vast majority of them do a good job in increasingly difficult circumstances as airlines are no longer that receptive to the needs of agents. Corporate travel agents like Amex and BTI are huge and are not staffed by a bunch of teenagers. Most of these agents know their stuff as do the likes of Trailfinders or STA should you be needing a more complex itinerary.

The world is a lot larger than your own experiences and for every cock up a travel agent makes, a passenger will match them effort for effort as they make bookings themselves. I have had amusing conversations with a Lunn Poly-esque travel agent who was sheepishly looking for advice on how to get their client to Ontario, Canada rather than ONT, California. Their confused client (a doddery old lady) was awaiting a connection on a HP flight from PHX and had just worked out she had been booked to a completely wrong destination. I have also spoken to an angry Dutch guy who blamed BA as had landed in JER, fully expecting to have arrived in New Jersey. There is also that incident where a daft couple booked themselves to Sydney, Nova Scotia rather than Australia.

The fact is, empowering passengers to make more bookings themselves leads to far more stupid errors than when the majority of bookings were made through the trade. The number of people who cannot spell their own name or forget that their passport is in their maiden name makes me despair.

The grumblings about teenagers who sell packages to Magaluf are largely irrelevant. If you want a package holiday to Ibeefa, then the teenager will do a stellar job. If you want a different kind of product, then clearly Lunn Poly or Thomas Cook are the wrong people to visit. It is excruciating speaking to these agents and having to explain that their GDS can actually do seat requests and that a 'non-changeable' ticket is, in fact, 'non-changeable'. I'm sure the agent at Lunn Poly also hates making bookings on scheduled airlines as this sort of stuff is not their bread and butter.

The airlines are just as guilty for making life unnecessarily complicated. I'm frequently frustrated by stupid little policies that BA make which are often embarrasing when you are questioned about them. I sympathise a great deal with agents who, on the whole, stoically accept whatever management have dreamt up this week to save a few pennies. I've frequently seen instances where a passenger has clearly been advised that their agent has screwed up their booking, just so that somebody can save face.

It's quite sad that, in many respects, the relationship between agents and airlines has developed into a battle.
Mild green Fairy liquid
 
HKGKaiTak
Posts: 971
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:48 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:27 am

Quoting Noelg (Reply 50):
The problem is that UK travel agents are 99% 17 year olds whose experience of travel is a fortnight in Torremelinos. They aren't travel people, they are people who sit behind a desk, key in information and then say "bye bye", as you say "bye bye" to your money.

Well, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. The travel industry still hasn't got around to realising why they can't attract good staff or why they can't keep them for long.

Many of us who work in travel do it because we like the industry, not because of the pay. I can think of plenty of professions or even non-skilled jobs which pay more money for less hours than my job in travel ...

Is it any wonder agents have to hire the airheads? I work with plenty of them and spend time correcting their mistakes.  Sad

Quoting BAxMAN (Reply 51):
The airlines are just as guilty for making life unnecessarily complicated. I'm frequently frustrated by stupid little policies that BA make which are often embarrasing when you are questioned about them

True, I don't understand why fare rules have to be so complicated ... kudos to the LCCs for making it simple, even if the public still doesn't understand why they don't receive a refund if they change their mind or why they won't be paid compensation if their flight was delayed/cancelled.
4 Engines 4 LongHaul
 
LH459
Posts: 793
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:41 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:20 am

Quoting BAxMAN (Reply 51):
frequently seen instances where a passenger has clearly been advised that their agent has screwed up their booking, just so that somebody can save face.

It's quite sad that, in many respects, the relationship between agents and airlines has developed into a battle.

Hear hear! My clients have often been told things were my fault when they were completely beyond my control. With a few exceptions (CX comes to mind), our relationship with airlines is more adversarial than anything else, even though we're bringing them revenue!
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
 
oznznut
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2003 10:04 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:02 am

Jafa39
I bit off topic (ok, a lot off topic) but when are you going to do another trip report? Love your writing.
Dave
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:15 pm

Quoting Noelg (Reply 50):
We booked car hire through a travel agent, paid everything upfront to the travel agent, then had to pay again in Greece as the travel agent hadn't done what they had to do and pay them. If I'd have paid and booked directly with the hire car company there wouldn't have been that issue, and even if there was I would have been able to deal with it with them directly.

If I had received a Dollar for every time a rental car was messed up by the rental agency, I'd have a lot of money on my account; dozens of times have I made (quite expensive) international money transfers, dozens of times have I faxed my credit card details, dozens of times have I supplied all details including my agency's IATA number, receiving a written payment confirmation that ended up in the clients having to pay on arrival nonetheless.

Quoting Noelg (Reply 50):
And finally, not to stir things up any more, but why do people have to be so quick to jump down people's throats in here? Surely we all share a common hobby - can't people just bite their tongues and be nice about things? It's not just this thread its plenty of others. Chill out people!

I agree - it's just really tiring to constantly have to defend your own profession again, again, again and again against the ridicules, insults and wishes for your profession being confined to the history books under the heading "complete failures"... believe me... after a while that just somewhat puts you "slightly" on the edge whenever a new thread about the subject appears.

Quoting BAxMAN (Reply 51):
The number of people who cannot spell their own name or forget that their passport is in their maiden name makes me despair.

 rotfl  We had three of those yesterday... or people who use their nickname for reservations (and later, after the s..t hit the fan, commenting "well, no-one uses my real name!")... or people who give a wrong date of birth...

Quoting BAxMAN (Reply 51):
It is excruciating speaking to these agents and having to explain that their GDS can actually do seat requests and that a 'non-changeable' ticket is, in fact, 'non-changeable'. I'm sure the agent at Lunn Poly also hates making bookings on scheduled airlines as this sort of stuff is not their bread and butter.

I worked in our ticketing department for the first 1 1/2 years at the company I work for... and, believe me, I know those problems... just as agents demanding we put the passengers date of birth into the name reference field (most of our fares require a date of birth) because they forgot it and they're afraid it'd be a namechange with the resulting cancellation... or agents making seat reservations for one part of a two-segment flight number (which always causes an error message in Sabre when closing the PNR)... agents who've never figured out that Amadeus' AP-element (or Sabre's 9-element) are not for remarks about how the passenger looks, but for agency contact details...

I know that I sometimes felt like breaking down whenever I heard things like "I can't look up fares at the moment, because the point-and-click interface doesn't work right now" - with my question "why aren't you simply entering the command?" being answered with "don't know how".........

.... and, yes... I've even spoken to agents that called the airline to request a vegetarian meal because they didn't know the command in Sabre (and, again, the point-and-click-interface didn't work)... not that I think that "3VLML" (it was just one pax in the PNR) is so hard to remember...

Quoting BAxMAN (Reply 51):
It's quite sad that, in many respects, the relationship between agents and airlines has developed into a battle.

Truer words, on these forae, have rarely been spoken.

Quoting HKGKaiTak (Reply 52):
Many of us who work in travel do it because we like the industry, not because of the pay. I can think of plenty of professions or even non-skilled jobs which pay more money for less hours than my job in travel ...

Some of my colleagues have stopped calling it "pay", but actually "rent-supplement"... the pay is enough to survive... but not more...

Quoting LH459 (Reply 53):
Hear hear! My clients have often been told things were my fault when they were completely beyond my control.

... don't get me started on that issue...  Wink
Smile - it confuses people!
 
mikephotos
Posts: 2888
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2000 12:52 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:36 pm

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 49):
I own my views, easy to make a mistake when you're unenlightened...it isn't compulsory to fight fire with fire you know.

Actually, isn't fighting fire with fire a very successful tool fire fighters use on huge forest fires  Smile But then it's usually not to even a good idea to start a fire in the first place, even if it's because of an unenlightened mistake. Don't worry, I'm just messing with you! We're cool!

Quoting Noelg (Reply 50):
The problems we've had have all shown correct on any invoice etc. For instance, for our honeymoon we were not only booked into the wrong hotel at Luton (the itinerary said "Holiday Inn Luton Airport", which was actually the "Holiday Inn 10 miles down the road", which was caused by the silly bint at the travel agents keying in the wrong code.

It happens, I'm not saying every agent out there is a pro, far from it. But you should not be so determined to write-off using an agent because of a few (one?) bad experiences with obviously a low-quality/bad choice example.

Oh, and I'm not sure how it works over in the UK but there is no way the hotel problem would have shown correct on any invoice/itinerary our office printed. Our itins show the hotel name, address and phone, which you would have verifed before leaving my desk. But I'm not a "17 year olds whose experience of travel is a fortnight in Torremelinos" so there in lies the problem  Smile

Mike
 
7LBAC111
Posts: 2427
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 9:17 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:44 pm

Quoting Leskova (Reply 55):
Quoting Noelg (Reply 50):
And finally, not to stir things up any more, but why do people have to be so quick to jump down people's throats in here? Surely we all share a common hobby - can't people just bite their tongues and be nice about things? It's not just this thread its plenty of others. Chill out people!

I agree - it's just really tiring to constantly have to defend your own profession again, again, again and again against the ridicules, insults and wishes for your profession being confined to the history books under the heading "complete failures"... believe me... after a while that just somewhat puts you "slightly" on the edge whenever a new thread about the subject appears.

Hear hear. Well said.

7L
Debate is what you put on de hook when you want to catch de fish.
 
aussieindc
Posts: 289
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:16 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:58 pm

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 47):
I now know more about ticketting than I did and am still baffled though, it would be nice to be able to say "Gee thanks for that dudes, now I know" but all it has really done is remind me why I live here, in NZ, where in the main people are friendly, courteous, fleixible, kind and forgiving.........

Your subject heading makes us (those of us who feel unfairly done by by your heading) feel that you are far from friendly, courteous, kind and forgiving. So maybe next time by using another subject heading, it would not make us feel like you are attacking all of us that are in our profession.

What you have to remember is that the agent has no incentive to "Rip you off". It's not as if we have an incentive in place for our agents to pocket half of what they gouge you for. We want to bring business in, not drive it away.

For the most part (except for airfare only transactions), our services to yourself are complimentary. Any $20 ticketing fee that we impose, only goes to cover the administrative costs. That said, we provide you with a $20 credit voucher for you to put towards a package vacation with us in the coming 12 months. It's the service we provide that sets us amongst the internet.
 
BHXFAOTIPYYC
Posts: 1442
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:47 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Thu Jun 29, 2006 12:13 am

Quoting Oznznut (Reply 54):
Jafa39
I bit off topic (ok, a lot off topic) but when are you going to do another trip report?

I think his next trip report will be about the BUS jouney he took between WLG and AKL to save his NGO even more money, after his workmates see this thread!!
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
 
LH459
Posts: 793
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:41 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:17 am

Quoting Leskova (Reply 55):
agents who've never figured out that Amadeus' AP-element (or Sabre's 9-element) are not for remarks about how the passenger looks, but for agency contact details...

 laughing  I guess that problem isn't confined to STA here in the US, then! I worked for STA for several years, and during that time we nearly lost our AF contract because an agent wrote "these frogs are f*ing rude" in the 9 field, which of course was transmitted to AF as an OSI element.
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
 
BigOrange
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:20 am

RE: Rip Off Travel Agent!

Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:26 am

Quoting Noelg (Reply 50):
which was caused by the silly bint at the travel agents keying in the wrong code

She's a silly bint for selecting a hotel using a code!

Quoting Noelg (Reply 50):
The problem is that UK travel agents are 99% 17 year olds whose experience of travel is a fortnight in Torremelinos. They aren't travel people, they are people who sit behind a desk, key in information and then say "bye bye", as you say "bye bye" to your money.

Don't generalize about travel agents, we are not all that bad!

Quoting BAxMAN (Reply 51):
If you want a package holiday to Ibeefa, then the teenager will do a stellar job. If you want a different kind of product, then clearly Lunn Poly or Thomas Cook are the wrong people to visit.


These should be banned from calling themselves travel agents!

Who is online

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos