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Why travel agents suck

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Transcend, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Why do people use travel agents? They charge a $45+ service feed depending on area, and they always managed to screw up bookings.

    This one first had a traveler arriving and leaving same day (after a 12 hour flight). Then they booked 2 tickets together, only we are 10 rows apart. Great job. At least in theory, D and E are together? My frequent flyer number was also not attached to the ticket as it was supposed to be (with seat preference file; em-power, aisle, outside rows).

    The airline cannot change it because the plane is full. Yeah for a potential 11hour flight next to a fat guy. :(

    The airline did let me in on a secret though. The last 3 rows are kept reserved until after check in in order to move people around.
     

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  2. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    I think it's one of three reasons...

    - They are too lazy to book the trip themselves. (dumbasses)

    - They are new to travelling and have no idea how all this stuff works

    - They have too much money and can afford a good travel agent.
     
  3. ito

    ito Mr. Schwinn Effing Armstrong

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    I feel like travel agents are all but obsolete thanks to the internet. Back in the day you went to a TA because they could get you the best deal and they had contacts in the industry so that they didn't have to stay on hold with airlines while getting tickets. Rather than you sitting down and negotiating with multiple airlines about your travels you just had a travel agent get you the best deal.

    Now you go online, spend a few minutes typing in your destination and dates and you've got the best possible price pretty dang quick. I have a feeling that travel agents will be a dying breed pretty soon here.
     
  4. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    I actually have a good travel agent myself I use on occasion, but she is a family friend with a well established business. She also doesn't charge me a fee and enjoys trying to find flights to the odd places I have to go for work.

    These tickets were booked via the agent of a friend of a friend of a business colleague. At least they got the right airline (and no 8 hour mexican fiesta layover).

    Ito; I completely agree. They had their place for the fancy reservation system with the wholesale discounts. As it is now, I can normally find better deals for less money online, particularly through my frequent flyer program specials I get emailed to me 3 times weekly.
     
  5. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Turbo Monkey

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    I travel weekly for work, I do all my own reservations for domestic because it's simple and it never gets screwed up. I use the company agency for international because it is a lot more complicated.

    The funny thing is that I know 10X what any travel agent knows about dealing with airports and airlines because my job depends on it. Apparently theirs do not.
     
  6. loco-gringo

    loco-gringo Crusading Clamp Monkey

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    I thought you were talking about the cable pull doubler. I was going to complain specifically about the crappy job on the hole and the need for a braided cable.
     
  7. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    I Usually do just exactly that, But I go one extra step, and I call the companies directly after finding the price, ask them to pricematch, possible beat the Listed Internet price. I have yet to have a Hotel or airline refuse to do a pricematch, and have had about a 50/50 chance of getting the Price beat.... Either way, Travelling is easy nowadays.
     
  8. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Ya, I have to usually use travel agents when a company is paying for my trip, as they have their own agents normally. It is a huge pain in the ass. When i book with my frequent flyer number it knows my preferences for flights. Having to correct a travel agent's screwup sucks. They don't have any idea about plane types or layouts, online i can tell what model of plane and what layout it is, either directly on the airline site or through seat guru. Then i can book accordingly for overhead space for my gigantic bag and power for my laptop.
     
  9. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Turbo Monkey

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    Worst travel agent screw up: I needed to move my return flight home a day earlier to catch a meeting. They canged my flight back to the SAME FLIGHT I WAS ON. I screwed up by not checking on the reservation. I get to the airport and they say "boy you are here early, you're not leaving until tomorrow."

    Losers.
     
  10. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Nice. On this trip, the person I am traveling down with was originally returning the same day we fly down. Yup 18 hours or so of traveling for an short afternoon (about 5 hours) in South America. Sweet. You'd think someone would have caught that one.
     
  11. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Turbo Monkey

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    I do that all the time. There is a 6:40 from Austin to San Jose and a 5:20 back to Austin.

    I constantly travel back and forth on the same day, no luggage, no hotel, the best way to go.

    Now, south america is a whole other issue....
     
  12. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Ya, I do it from Montreal to Toronto (40 min flight). Montreal and Vancouver to Santiago however... 10.5 hours just for the second leg to Santiago.
     
  13. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Turbo Monkey

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    Gotta go to toronto at the end of the month. Haven't been there in years.

    Anything good to eat around the direct energy center?

    What's a cab ride from there to the airport? Thinking about not bothering with a car since I am in meetings all day.
     
  14. H8R

    H8R Cranky Pants

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    If you are alone, don't use a travel agent. The hassle of dealing with the agent will waste more time than just jumping on the web and doing you're own footwork.

    My band uses one because booking ten people at a time is a PITA.
     
  15. valve bouncer

    valve bouncer Master Dildoist

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    If you have a fairly complicated route then you need one. I only go on-line these days as I know who, where and when I want to fly.
    The problem with travel agents is that their margins are getting squeezed harder and harder all the time and the ones that are any good soon realise it's a mugs game and move onto something better, leaving us with the less evolved who are prone to causing the stuff-ups described above.
    People doing mileage runs (getting into the next level of their FF program or maintaining their present level) will often have schedules that are essentially travelling internationally from one city to the other and taking the same plane back so I don't know if a schedule having someone going to S.A and back in the same day would necessarily ring alarm bells for a travel agent.

    Looking forward to my first summer trip to Europe this year. In August, a week before the Olympics start, going to Heathrow, from the Orient. The chances of a trip from hell are high I'd reckon.:twitch:
     
  16. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Turbo Monkey

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    Not anywhere near as high as the austin-beijing route that I will have to fly during the summer. I am guessing I will end up their during the chaos.
     
  17. r464

    r464 Turbo Monkey

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    I hate them so much!

     
  18. TreeSaw

    TreeSaw Mama Monkey

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    Yup. I went to United directly and scored better flights (1 connection with minimal layover) for less than the discount sites!