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T.A's (confused!)

Travel Forums General Talk T.A's (confused!)

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1. Posted by lil j (Travel Guru 1303 posts) 11y

Just a quick question, do you end up paying extra by going with a travel agent??

I am thinking there must be something in it-is there not!

Otherwise why doesn't everyone book via a travel agent-seeing as they do all the work for you!

The second travel agents i went to seem very, very helpful-and i'm actually getting somewhere, i wasn't planning on booking via a travel agents but if there's nothing in it then why not!?

2. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

I don't know about other countries, but in the US, the answer is USUALLY - not always - no. The travel agents earn their money through the airlines and other carriers. Travel agents can help you greatly when planning a trip, but with the exclusive online deals that airlines, trains and buses now offer, you'll pay less in general using your computer. Most of the online "agents" (Travelocity, Expedia, etc.) have also been helpful with trip planning for us. We can work out the itinerary without having to make a trip to the agents office and hang out for hours working through it. As I said, I don't know how agents work in other countries.

3. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

When I book travel, I often call a travel agent from in front of my computer. This allows me to compare the airlines website rates against the travel agents rates. I have not found that the on-line sites are always cheaper than the travel agents in all cases. Sometimes the travel agent can get me a better deal, sometimes the airline websites can.

It's my understanding that the travel agents sometimes have access to consolidators that have bought blocks of tickets at a reduced rate, and can then turn around and sell them for less (and still make a profit) than the airlines will sell you an individual ticket.

All that being said, when I am on the road in a strange country, I almost always use a travel agent. It's just easier to walk into someone's office and say, "I want to fly to Buenos Aires tomorrow" than it is to try and find a flight on the web.

Greg

4. Posted by lil j (Travel Guru 1303 posts) 11y

so if i buy from the travel agent i will only pay the fee on the sheet-are there any ties that i will have???

I'm assuming that if i have any queries on the flight-or whatever i buy from the travel agent, i will just get in contact with them and they will sort it out-not that i'm planning on having any problems-but you know what i mean!

5. Posted by ukmassage (Inactive 1052 posts) 11y

flight I would rather buy directly from the airline - easier to change the return date if necessary.

6. Posted by MattXIII (Full Member 272 posts) 11y

Depends how adventurous your feeling.
You could wing the whole trip, which'd be very cheap, especially
in OZ where they cater for every travellers needs.
But as a first time traveller you might be best trying a cheap adventure tour. The cheaper they are the more adventurous the journey.

7. Posted by mtlchica (Respected Member 922 posts) 11y

I had an online-telephone-travel agent purchasing experience today. I went to several online "discount" websites and then called a few travel agents, and it turned out that some of the travel agents had, in fact, a cheaper rate for the flight. But then they had service fees, making the price more expensive than the online places. Then I went to the Air Canada website, and it had the cheapest rates....even less expensive than the online discount places. When I called Air Canada, it was more expensive (go figure). All this babble aside, I booked with AC online, had no problems and will be recieving my tickets in the mail shortly. So perhaps yuo should go through all the motions, online (both discounts and airlines), makes some calls to some travel agents and then call airlines. It can't hurt!

Cheers,
Katie ;)

8. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

I also think this really depends on what kind of trip you are looking at. If you are looking at a ticket from a to b on a relatively short flight, just using the airlines website is usually the best bet and quickest to check two or three sites.

If you are looking at a complicated trip that is going to be expensive, it will pay off to look around. The more additions like hotels and tours you are going to include, the better the deal will be at a travel agent in my experience. There is not much margin in flights these days, but the hotel and especially tour business still pays off for travel agents.

9. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

People are usually in business to make a profit, but with travel agents ... their profit doesn't always come directly from you as the client

10. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 11y

Quoting MASSAGEUK

flight I would rather buy directly from the airline - easier to change the return date if necessary.

Hmm, I've never found it hard to change dates on flights I booked through an agent.

To me it seems that going direct to the airline is usually the most expensive option (budget airlines excepted).

Travel agents usually get their cut from the airline and not by adding a markup. One nice thing about travel agents is that you can build a relationship with them. I quite like dealing with our travel agent. She knows who we are now and when we ring up she is very helpful.

Anyway, if you're after the cheapest option, the best thing is to call around lots. Travel agents like Flight Centre have a 'lowest airfare guaranteed' motto here (I'd presume they run that same campaign in the UK) and if you're willing to ring back and forth to multiple agents, you can drive the prices down somewhat!!