My travel agent is a crook and other horror stories


There was a recent article on CNN where a woman listed all the different ailments she was going through during her vacation because of being a "bad travel agent." The plane ticket she purchased could not be upgraded or refunded. The hotel would not upgrade it to a better room. Her car had no unlimited mileage. She said the travel agent had done all these things to earn a bigger commission. And the list went on …

My first reaction as a traveler is that she has a good right to be angry and upset that her vacation is not fantastic. My first reaction as a travel agent was – hold on to the fort – did you ask any of these things when you met a travel agent?

We are not against readers. It's best to review our customers to understand likes, likes and preferences. However, the customer pays a large part of the process.

To find out how to best use a travel agent, you need to understand how a travel agency works.

In the good old days, travel agents get commissions from airlines, hotels, cars and resorts for travel purchased on behalf of a customer. With the advent of the Internet, these committee checks began to disappear. Regular airline tickets (excluding hotels or rental cars) are generally not a commission. This means that when the travel agent does the research for your best price, he (he) will not receive the time and effort spent on your behalf. Booking airline tickets only is a waste of money proposition for the travel agent. However, many good agents will continue to book these flights as a gesture of goodwill in the hope that you will bring them your second trip.

Your budget determines the type of airline tickets and accommodations you will receive. If you are on a small budget, you will most likely find yourself with non-refundable / unchangeable airline tickets and hotel rooms that will not allow you to upgrade. Be sure to discuss your budget options and the pros and cons associated with your plane ticket, car and hotel before making your purchase. Keep in mind that your travel agent is likely to receive a higher commission on renewable / upgradeable tickets, so buying non-refundable / non-renewable tickets is not really beneficial to the travel agent.

If you want to use points for an airline or hotel for upgrades, make sure you tell your agent up front. That way, he (he) can find you the best deal to upgrade.

Your travel agent can be an invaluable asset when planning your next trip or vacation. You, as a user, have certain responsibilities for voluntary information, unless directly requested.

Questions to ask your agent.

1. Do you charge for any research or other fees?

2. Will you work with me if there are any problems?

3. Do you work with any company that allows me to pay for my vacation?

4. Is there a 24-hour phone number in case of critical problems?

Questions your agent should ask you

1. What areas of travel are you interested in?

2. What budget do you have?

3. What types of travel do you like – air, cruise, all-inclusive, etc.?

4. Do you have seating preferences for the airline?

5. Hotel rooms for smokers or non-smokers (if applicable)?

6. What level of service do you expect – budget, 5 stars, etc.?

7. Ask for visas and passports for international travel.

Fantastic vacations begin with detailed planning. So, get together with your travel agent and start planning your next dream trip.