for me it depends on what i am booking. if its for a flight, the chances are that i will find them online. however, I do use a consolidator for all my flights back to South Africa. These are unpublished fares only sold through the agency. i've never been able to find a comparable price online with fewer stops. i do, however, recommend a ground handler to friends of mine traveling to south africa who want to do it themselves, but don't have the ability to put it all together. someone who needs a little hand-holding, but not everything done for them. i think the best bet you can get through agents are more on the luxury end of things...and not the budget traveller.