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It's been a long while since using a Travel Agent

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Foreigner

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Perhaps six years long. As time has progressed I'm confident of making bookings...flights and accommodation...myself. Tours have been booked after arrival at destinations.


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k_sheep

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While most things can be done online, a good travel agent is invaluable. I don't see them becoming extinct (even for the very frequent flyer) any time soon.
 
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RooFlyer

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Not sure if you are trying to promote discussion, or just making a declaration :)

But let me put the case for using a TA - a good one, not like Flight Centre of similar.

* Prices for airfares and hotels are mostly the same as on-line direct bookings; occasionally less, sometimes a bit more (I select and price hotels and then give them to the TA to book). Pricing not relevant in my decision to use a TA.

* TA spends their time monitoring seat availability on flights, and all the other micro managing that I might otherwise do.

* TA can keep flight booking(s) rolling forward as they see availability is still there, putting off the day that payment has to be made. I've put off commitment of many thousands for several months this way.

* TA have access to fare structures not available on line etc, and/or ones which would take a heck of a long time to understand and put together.

* If things go pear shaped, TA cleans it up. A good TA has 24 hr availability; I've had a call in Canada, middle of the night in Oz, telling me of a flight cancellation and asking which alternative would I like. Solved even before the airline let me know of the cancellation (and I get access to the alternatives before most of the other punters).

* TA has access to range of tour wholesalers and can present to me a range meeting the criteria I specified. I say which one, and then it gets booked. Vouchers and e-tix land in the inbox.

Sure, for domestic flights and overnight hotels in Oz I book myself. But anything overseas, the TA does it.

I regularly send her flowers, wine and chokkies as a thank you :)
 

Foreigner

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Not sure if you are trying to promote discussion, or just making a declaration :)

Bit of both. I made a statement after thinking I've come a long way where I've gained knowledge to manage bookings of flights and accommodations, myself.

In making statement, I thought others may share their views of how they manage their travels...whether or not they're confident of managing travels for themselves.

All in all, nothing flammable, I hope.


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defurax

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Not sure if you are trying to promote discussion, or just making a declaration :)

But let me put the case for using a TA - a good one, not like Flight Centre of similar.

* Prices for airfares and hotels are mostly the same as on-line direct bookings; occasionally less, sometimes a bit more (I select and price hotels and then give them to the TA to book). Pricing not relevant in my decision to use a TA.

* TA spends their time monitoring seat availability on flights, and all the other micro managing that I might otherwise do.

* TA can keep flight booking(s) rolling forward as they see availability is still there, putting off the day that payment has to be made. I've put off commitment of many thousands for several months this way.

* TA have access to fare structures not available on line etc, and/or ones which would take a heck of a long time to understand and put together.

* If things go pear shaped, TA cleans it up. A good TA has 24 hr availability; I've had a call in Canada, middle of the night in Oz, telling me of a flight cancellation and asking which alternative would I like. Solved even before the airline let me know of the cancellation (and I get access to the alternatives before most of the other punters).

* TA has access to range of tour wholesalers and can present to me a range meeting the criteria I specified. I say which one, and then it gets booked. Vouchers and e-tix land in the inbox.

Sure, for domestic flights and overnight hotels in Oz I book myself. But anything overseas, the TA does it.

I regularly send her flowers, wine and chokkies as a thank you :)

I should send that to my corporate TA, maybe he would realise how much he s#$ks at his job...:mrgreen:
 

Wozz

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I use TA mainly for private transfer / tours / hotels booking - a good TA like the ones that are part of the Virtuoso network can be quite valuable, especially when they can sometimes offer rates that are same/better than online hotel rates, plus all the extras such as free room upgrade / breakfast etc. I find that they are useful for luxury hotels that are often not part of one of the big chains.
 

JohnM

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What's a travel agent :confused:.

The only time I use one is for specific and unique tours (eg. my aerial safaris in Africa, Antarctica and Galapagos voyages) - and that is only for the tour component.

Probably a bit different if you are still travelling on the work coin :-|.
 

wandering_fred

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If the fare is the same as on-line (or close), the TA gets the business. Especially if I want to use 2 credit cards to spread the cost.
If I want a mixed fare class ticket, ditto. Especially if I think I will need to make changes.
If I wanted the exCMB fares, not shown on-line.
If I wanted the LONE4 exAustralia, booked as an AA ticket, the TA got the business.

Plus a few more, that I will no doubt remember in a while...

Happy wandering.

Fred
 

rioter

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I should send that to my corporate TA, maybe he would realise how much he s#$ks at his job...:mrgreen:

I have argued with my corporate TA over the availability of flights. I regularly fly syd->akl->sfo on airnz have had one or two american express TA's tell me that its impossible.
 

codash1099

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Not sure if you are trying to promote discussion, or just making a declaration :)

But let me put the case for using a TA - a good one, not like Flight Centre of similar.

* Prices for airfares and hotels are mostly the same as on-line direct bookings; occasionally less, sometimes a bit more (I select and price hotels and then give them to the TA to book). Pricing not relevant in my decision to use a TA.

* TA spends their time monitoring seat availability on flights, and all the other micro managing that I might otherwise do.

* TA can keep flight booking(s) rolling forward as they see availability is still there, putting off the day that payment has to be made. I've put off commitment of many thousands for several months this way.

* TA have access to fare structures not available on line etc, and/or ones which would take a heck of a long time to understand and put together.

* If things go pear shaped, TA cleans it up. A good TA has 24 hr availability; I've had a call in Canada, middle of the night in Oz, telling me of a flight cancellation and asking which alternative would I like. Solved even before the airline let me know of the cancellation (and I get access to the alternatives before most of the other punters).

* TA has access to range of tour wholesalers and can present to me a range meeting the criteria I specified. I say which one, and then it gets booked. Vouchers and e-tix land in the inbox.

Sure, for domestic flights and overnight hotels in Oz I book myself. But anything overseas, the TA does it.

I regularly send her flowers, wine and chokkies as a thank you :)

Likewise. I do my own research and then send it to my TA. Over the years, it has become a bit personal - I've followed her through a number of agencies. With some of them she's able to do better than others but it gives me the option to get a professional view. Most of the time she can do better on flights and she's running about 50% on hotels. And then there's all the other things mentioned by RooFlyer.

The trick is to find a good agent and stick with them. Loyalty is a two way street.
 

aaflyer

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Corporate Travel Agents are the pits in general. They charge a large 'booking fee' (typically north of $200) and do nothing more than book what you can find readily on an airlines booking page.

Good Travel Agents are worth their weight in gold. I have an amazing TA I use. I generally advise what I want and it gets booked, and on some occasions, better fares become available i'm told about.

It's the same price, or less, than what I can find online, and if things go pear shaped, one phone call from anywhere in the world, and they fix it for me. I'd rather rely on a good travel agent than a bad airline reservation agent (and during problems due to weather and what not, which would you rather?).
 

Steelo

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I reserve my travel agent for when it involves bookings with different family members - that way I don't get blamed. As a general rule I have often found the fares they quote to be higher than what I can get by going on line with the airline. In addition they do not seem have access to airline discounted fares out of Asia. And of course you have to train them that you regard status as critically important and that you do not mind flying via whoop whoop on the right airline if it gives you extra status credits. I am still getting over being told that we are weird because of the way we route our trips. I do think there is business out there for agents who understand the peculiar set of people who are status junkies.
 

harvyk

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Personally I think more bookings should be made through TA's. The reason been is there are many horror stories of people been stuck on the wrong side of the world (or at least at a port far from home) after misunderstanding a booking, or failing to allow MCT and running on two separate PNR's.

A good TA will make sure this sort of thing does not happen, and furthermore there is an appropriate TI policy to cover if the worst comes to the worst.

Of course these days, most people (myself included) no longer go to TA's, and will happily go to various airline websites and enter in CC details. I'll at least ensure that MCT (and then some) is covered in the rare event I can't do a single ticket. Of course, I have many family members / friends out there whom I have had to strongly recommend that they don't proceed with a chosen booking because of the risk if something goes wrong. What is really annoying is when a friend does make a risky booking and then get's lucky I then end up with two weeks of "but everything was fine and I saved a ton of money". They don't understand that they where only a missed approach / a bit of bad weather away from been stuck somewhere they don't want to be, with a very expensive bill to leave.

Of course, now that that rant is over, there are certainly many TA's who should (must) be shown the door to the industry.
 

drron

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Likewise. I do my own research and then send it to my TA. Over the years, it has become a bit personal - I've followed her through a number of agencies. With some of them she's able to do better than others but it gives me the option to get a professional view. Most of the time she can do better on flights and she's running about 50% on hotels. And then there's all the other things mentioned by RooFlyer.

The trick is to find a good agent and stick with them. Loyalty is a two way street.

And another who is very happy to use a TA.Worth her weight in gold.
I know it when she is away.I research our trips and send the TA the list of flights.If she is away I often get a ring asking If I am aware there are direct flights for some of my routings.Well yes but........
 

Foreigner

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Fortunately for overseas travel I most often use miles/points so I book myself for self and family. (I haven't heard of local TA who will book award tickets.)

Domestic ticket, point to point, has never been challenging.
 

RooFlyer

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Fortunately for overseas travel I most often use miles/points so I book myself for self and family. (I haven't heard of local TA who will book award tickets.)

<snip>.

Mine will :) . Has offered on a number of occasions, but I haven't taken her up on it.

I should flag one issue I came across recently. My TA had made bookings with Accor hotels throughout Europe. Some pre paid, some not. On two occasions with the pre paid ones, the hotel mentioned on check-in 'no points as paid by someone else' (put more elegantly than that). I had to explain that it was my credit card, just used by my TA, then it was OK.
 
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