Here’s another good reason to use a competent travel agent: When Jay Wendt read one of my columns in the Portland Oregonian that recommended using an agent, he decided to give it a try on a business class ticket for a transpacific flight. He was floored by what he discovered.
After searching through a number of sites, the best I could find was a few thousand dollars for the ticket.
They would route me through two different countries with no less than a four hour stopover each before landing at my final destination. One segment had a 16-hour layover.
Thinking these were the “best” prices, I called a local travel agency to see what they could offer.
I was flabbergasted at what I discovered! She found nearly direct flights (one layover due to customs). The best part is that the tickets offered by the travel agent were about one-fifth cheaper than the “best” rate I found online! Plus, I’ve got someone to call in case of a problem with my travels.
I’ll never search online again!
Now that’s what I’m talking about.
Anyone who reads my columns knows that I recommend the services of a travel agent whenever possible. Now, I don’t agree with everything travel agents do — for example, I think some of them could be more open about how they make their money (commissions, overrides, bonuses and booking fees). The more transparency, the better. But I digress.
Overall, I think agents — good agents — offer a valuable service, as Jay learned. Maybe there’s a lesson in there for all of us. Before you click the “book” button, why not pick up the phone and call your agent?