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Should You Use a Travel Agent?

Jan 08 2014

Here at the airport we spend significant time listening to airline customers complain about airline customer service — especially when it comes to making changes to itineraries. The customer has tried calling the airline; they end up on what seems indefinite hold. They try websites. They try apps. Invariably, my response to the airline customer is: "why don't you use a travel agent?"

That question doesn't immediately compute — "a what...!! Oh ..."

In one sense we've all been trained to forget about travel agents — they are soooo 20th Century, so pre-1995. Today all we have to do is use the Internet and all its progeny to deal with an airline. Well, you now know how frustrating that can be ...

It's not just the magic spell of the Internet that made us forget about travel agents; the airlines did their part too. They prefer that all transactions go directly through them. That way they don't have to give the travel agent a cut.

But here's the thing ...

Travel agents are all about customer service. That's how they make their living. They are travel experts. It's their job to make your travel experience easier. Don't believe it? Check out this story in USA Today. As one road warrior told the paper, "...the value of a deeply experienced and widely connected travel agent who can … smooth a detail or fix a miscue makes for nice peace of mind."

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