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Jason's Storm
01-03-2006, 08:27 PM
Okay, I had been looking at airfares for a while for a trip to San Juan from MSP to meet up with my cruise ship in May. Well today I saw rates that had been at $270 for a while plummet to $242. I was on my lunch break when I saw this rate, so I called my TA to have her book it. She was busy, and I had to go back to work, and asked her to call me at work, when she wasn't busy. So I called when I was on another break and guess what, the rate skyrocketed to $308 for the flight I was looking at. Needless to say I am pissed now about it, because I will probably have to watch rates for another couple of weeks and hope it goes down again. So there is my rant. <_<

~JS

trojan
01-04-2006, 12:17 AM
Jason - while I agree completely with your point regarding the TA who didn't do the job, I have to wonder if a trip to PR is such a good idea if $30 either way is that critical.

nobody122
01-04-2006, 05:39 AM
But if you really wanted to get that airfare, just book it yourself and you would have known you would have gotten the price that was available. Ever consider that the fare you saw was one that was extremely discounted for online purchases only? TAs usually don't get paid on these fares.

jfrenaye
01-04-2006, 06:19 AM
If it is a traditional agent (with a GDS on her desk) she could have held the reservation (while you are on the phone) and ticketed it later and guaranteed the price IF she could have seen it.

Some prices are not available in all systems, etc.

To me that sounds like a great price any way you look at it, and it is possible that it could have been a mistake by the carrier. I once found a RT trip to LHR from BWI for $29 plus taxes and all so for $229 each my family and I spent Thanksgiving in London.

And to another poster's point, if you have an investment in SJU (the cruise) which is considerably more expensive than the $30 fare difference, I would be sure that I could get a seat on the plane. It woudl be a shame to sit there waiting to save $30 or $100 on airfare and watch your ship sail away.

deangreenhoe
01-04-2006, 07:14 AM
I agree...the poster should be jumping on the fare now. If indeed you can get $308.00, that's half what one would normally expect to pay from our region for SJU, and certainly far less than the cruise line would charge for air. Playing the waiting game for that small amout will probably result in having to adjust travel dates to secure discounted inventory and an expensive hotel stay in either direction.

As a caveat I would add that if you are doing air separate from the cruise program you should be flying down the day before anyway or otherwise purchasing travel insurance. In this case, the cruise line isn't going to care if the airline doesn't get you to the port in time for departure and you stand to lose your cruise fare investment or spend a considerable amount of money catching up to the ship and missing at least a day of your vacation.

weblet
01-04-2006, 07:44 AM
I'm not going to defend TAs that drop the ball, but I have to say a couple things here. First, I'm assuming Jason called 'his' TA because he has used her before. If that is true then he should have faith that she did the best she could for him. None of us on this board will ever claim to be perfect. Second, Jason does not say whether he only saw the fare advertised, or if he actually had it booked online then attempted to give the agent the business. The fact that he saw the fare advertised, means nothing in this industry. Fares are advertised all the time, it does not mean they are available. It is entirely possible, too, that even if he had it booked, once he released it the seat went back into inventory and if there was only one seat available, someone else snatched it up, even before he picked up the phone to call the agent. Then there is a lovely thing called 'yield management'....

But I agree with everyone else that $30 is not something to quibble over when you absolutely, positively have to be there.... I tell that to clients all the time.

More food for thought.

deangreenhoe
01-04-2006, 07:59 AM
The fact that he saw the fare advertised, means nothing in this industry. Fares are advertised all the time, it does not mean they are available.
Thanks for pointing that out, weblet.

Out of curiousity I did a fare scroll for the MSP/SJU market and the only rate I saw in the price range that is being discussed if for travel complete by Feb. 26.

This situation reminds me of the $198.00 fares to many European destinations that were recently promoted from my area via the web and media. However when one went through the booking process and fuel surcharges and taxes were calculated, the final cost zoomed to well over $400.00. It was an exercise in frustration trying to explain "why?" to the many clients who contacted me in response to the promotion.

john225
01-04-2006, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by deangreenhoe@Jan 4 2006, 08:59 AM
Thanks for pointing that out, weblet.

Out of curiousity I did a fare scroll for the MSP/SJU market and the only rate I saw in the price range that is being discussed if for travel complete by Feb. 26.

This situation reminds me of the $198.00 fares to many European destinations that were recently promoted from my area via the web and media.* However when one went through the booking process and fuel surcharges and taxes were calculated, the final cost zoomed to well over $400.00.* It was an exercise in frustration trying to explain "why?" to the many clients who contacted me in response to the promotion.
16769



It's an exercise in frustration because most people don't or won't read the small print in the advertisements that state that the fares quoted don't include taxes or fees. Then, when the TA quotes the total price, we are the bad guys that don't know what we're doing, and have somehow "dropped the ball".

Let me throw this out there for consideration......the TA in question was busy when the poster called, probably with another client that, who knows, could have been in the process of booking and paying for a $5000 package that was commissionable at 12% or more. If you were that TA, would you have told the client in front of you to wait while you booked an airline ticket for $242 that you were not going to make a commission on? Also, if you were the client sitting there, wouldn't you find it rude and unprofessional for the TA to stop what they were doing with you to help someone on the telephone? Maybe my philosophy is different than most, but with me, its first come, first served.

summergirl825
01-04-2006, 08:21 AM
wouldn't you find it rude and unprofessional for the TA to stop what they were doing with you to help someone on the telephone?

Yes! And that applies to any profession.

mrjjirh
01-04-2006, 01:01 PM
I would ask if you booked the cruise with the TA.....if not, why not? If so then the agent will watch for good air for you or I should say the TA should if you told her to watch for it.....

weblet
01-04-2006, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by mrjjirh@Jan 4 2006, 02:01 PM
I would ask if you booked the cruise with the TA.....if not, why not?* If so then the agent will watch for good air for you or I should say the TA should if you told her to watch for it.....
16824


Very good point also...

Jason's Storm
01-04-2006, 01:12 PM
Okay, let me explain it further. I saw this fare on kayak and reconfirmed the rate on American's website. I called the agent because she said she would book it for me w/o fee, because she booked our cruise (where the flight was to). I don't know what kind of fare it was, I just know it was a fare. Yes I know she couldn't just drop what she was doing and book it for me, but I would think she could of at least pre-booked it for me as soon as she got done. Lastly, I'm not stupid when I look for fares. The fare I saw included taxes, fees, and the kitchen sink. Also times that $30 9either way) by 2. You can do a lot with $60. Who says I won't eventually give in. I might if I have to.

~JS

john225
01-04-2006, 01:41 PM
1) How do you know that the agent go to find the fare the minute she was able to?

2) No one said you were stupid, and that you don’t know to make sure that the fare
is inclusive of taxes/fees. I said most people don’t do that. Your response smacks of a guilty conscience.

3) A fare of $308 MSP/SJU is not bad, when you consider the distance, and that fare
averages at least $525. You have to remember that a fare is never guaranteed
until purchase. The minute you saw it, why didn’t you book it? Yes, you had to
get back to work, but you had time to check 2 sites (and AA is notoriously slow)
and make a phone call.


Again, maybe my philosophy is vastly different from other people and other agents, but in my very humble opinion, this is a case of you snooze, you lose.

joyceandrews
01-04-2006, 01:48 PM
Also I have seen these fares and have gone to book them and it says it is not available. Can we say bait and switch, it happens all the time.

mercwyn
01-04-2006, 01:52 PM
Something that seems to be overlooked and rarely mentioned is that the airline websites are not in real time, last seat availability mode, nor are sites such as Kayak, Sidestep, Orbitz, Expedia, etc. This means that they are not showing you what is actually available at that exact moment and they won't know what is until you actually attempt to book the flight and all too often when flights are really full they won't be able to get you the fare advertised. I find that frequently a fare will show available on the web and yet when I go into last seat availability that fare is not actually available.

My suggestion is that you call or drop in to see your agent and explain what you saw online and why you are disappointed in what transpired. Please do this in a calm, polite manner and be prepared to explain what you feel should be done to make matters right. I won't suggest that you demand anything given the nature of the business but it sounds to me that you have a relationship with this agent and as an agent I would want the chance to fix the problem.

weblet
01-04-2006, 03:39 PM
it sounds to me that you have a relationship with this agent and as an agent I would want the chance to fix the problem

Yes, indeed. I know it sounds like we're all over your case, Jason, but there are so many variables in this business... Anything could have happened, and I'm sure since your agent has booked this trip she was well aware that you would be looking for the best deal on the air. She's probably as aggravated as you. We are only pointing out some of the possibilities, since we really don't know the entire story. I can tell you that if I had received a message from a client regarding such an airfare, I would have looked first to book it thru the GDS, if unavailable I would go onto the websites you found it on and try to book it there. If I was still unable to confirm the space, then what mercwyn has pointed out is taking place (or joyceandrews, depending on how cynical you want to be). Then try to explain to the client... I know it sounds like one might be dodging the issue, but it really happens.

[sigh] People think we have such a glamorous life... This business is not as much fun as it used to be... ;)

Jason's Storm
01-04-2006, 07:11 PM
Originally posted by mrjjirh+Jan 4 2006, 02:01 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(mrjjirh @ Jan 4 2006, 02:01 PM)</div>I would ask if you booked the cruise with the TA.....if not, why not?* If so then the agent will watch for good air for you or I should say the TA should if you told her to watch for it.....
16824
[/b]
I believe I have her watching now, but so am I. o_O ;)

Originally posted by john225@Jan 4 2006, 02:41 PM
1) How do you know that the agent go to find the fare the minute she was able to?* 16844
Could of been, but if she would of called at work, I probably wouldn't of been as mad.
2) No one said you were stupid, and that you don’t know to make sure that the fare**
is inclusive of taxes/fees.* I said most people don’t do that.* Your response smacks of a guilty conscience.
16844
Yea, guilty I didn't book it myself, otherwise NO.
* * ** 3) ... You have to remember that a fare is never guaranteed**
* * * until purchase.* The minute you saw it, why didn’t you book it?* Yes, you had to
* * * get back to work, but you had time to check 2 sites (and AA is notoriously slow)
* * * and make a phone call.

16844
Time was tight and I have a fast connection and again, yes I should of.

Originally posted by joyceandrews@Jan 4 2006, 02:48 PM
Also I have seen these fares and have gone to book them and it says it is not available. Can we say bait and switch, it happens all the time.
16835

joyce, yes I see that all the time on expedia.
<!--QuoteBegin-mercwyn@Jan 4 2006, 02:52 PM
Something that seems to be overlooked and rarely mentioned is that the airline websites are not in real time, last seat availability mode, nor are sites such as Kayak, Sidestep, Orbitz, Expedia, etc.* This means that they are not showing you what is actually available at that exact moment and they won't know what is until you actually attempt to book the flight and all too often when flights are really full they won't be able to get you the fare advertised.* I find that frequently a fare will show available on the web and yet when I go into last seat availability that fare is not actually available.

16844
Although I doubt a whole plane can sell out. And again, I've seen that before when I was playing around on Expedia.

~JS

jfrenaye
01-04-2006, 08:04 PM
Although I doubt a whole plane can sell out. And again, I've seen that before when I was playing around on Expedia.

Just to be clear, when an airline issues fares, they are NOT for the entire plane. They may have 30 different price points and different allotments for each.

Ex:
Frequent Flier or other non revenue seats 4 per flight--so if three of them are gone, you can only get one

Steeply discounted fares---maybe 15 or 20 per flight. They can advertise that last single seat, but if you request two, it bounces you.

It is not fair at all but it is what it is. As I mentioned before sometimes there are mistakes and fares too good to be true and when you see them, you need to strike while the iron is hot--why do you think Southwest's DING program is a success?

HE who hesitates is lost.

nobody122
01-04-2006, 08:47 PM
Originally posted by jfrenaye@Jan 4 2006, 10:04 PM

It is not fair at all but it is what it is.* As I mentioned before sometimes there are mistakes and fares too good to be true and when you see them, you need to strike while the iron is hot--why do you think Southwest's DING program is a success?

HE who hesitates is lost.
16863


Exactly. I was one of the ones that snapped up those first class fares that USAir offered for that 2 hour stretch a while back (by mistake of course). But there have been times I have used United's own website and after I select my seats, and hit purchase the fare has disappeared. Same thing happens all the time with Kayak, by the time I hit purchase, its unavailable--although I have found tremendous bargains on Kayak (RT from PRG to BKK in business class for $1030!)

And with regards to $60 being a lot of $$$--have you ever been on a cruise before--especially if gratuities/drinks/ect aren't included.

Jason's Storm
01-04-2006, 09:32 PM
When do airlines introduce special rates? I'm tending to think on Tuesdays.

~JS

AaronK
01-05-2006, 06:15 AM
Maybe I'm missing something here.
If you're going on a cruise out of San Juan that you've already booked, why did you not book the cruiseline airfare? I know it tends to be a bit more than rack rate to book it yourself, but you are guaranteed to make the ship. Booking your own flights leaves the cruiseline off the hook to get you to the boat. It sounds like this will be a nice vacation, why risk not getting there?

deangreenhoe
01-05-2006, 07:53 AM
When do airlines introduce special rates? I'm tending to think on Tuesdays.
Jason...as far as I know the only scheduled special fare introductions are web fares published for immediate travel, generally the upcoming weekend. Tuesday or Wednesday is a common day for them to come out but some airlines give their high mileage frequent flyers a 24 hour jump on the offers which are limited to a specific number of seats in limited markets.

The last I knew, fares published for travel further out are updated by major carriers as often as 7 times daily, every day. Granted every market or airline isn't effected, but you can imagine the chaos that creates in nailing down a fare. Nothing is guaranteed until the purchase is completed.

AFA the last post about using the cruise line's air program, yes there are certain support issues associated with going that route but you can't really say they will GUARANTEE you'll make the ship, at least for initial embarkation. They will generally arrange for you to catch up to the ship at the next port but that doesn't replace the day or two you lose of your cruise vacation.

Doing the air separately is a viable and often less expensive option sometimes. However I always urge my clients to invest some of that savings in a pre-night hotel stay and/or travel insurance. After a couple of mad scrambles between the airport and the pier, I personally refuse to fly in on the date of departure any longer. It's far more relaxing (and less stressful) to give yourself ample time to reach the embarkation port and you get the benefit of an extra day of vacation plus you can board the ship as soon as possible the next day and start the fun while many others are sweating out air delays.

Jason's Storm
01-05-2006, 08:20 AM
I am going the day before and overnighting it in San Juan. Also cruise airfare is almost double of what I can pay.

~JS

deangreenhoe
01-05-2006, 08:27 AM
I am going the day before and overnighting it in San Juan.
Good choice, especially for SJU. It's a shame that too many people just scramble in and out of that port city seeing nothing but a blur between the airport and the pier. Good luck with the airfare and enjoy your trip!

Eileen Sellers
01-05-2006, 01:59 PM
When do airlines introduce special rates? I'm tending to think on Tuesdays.

I thought it was Wednesday night, when they update their web sites for weekend travel. Just after midnight for Thursday AM.

deangreenhoe
01-05-2006, 02:54 PM
I thought it was Wednesday night, when they update their web sites for weekend travel. Just after midnight for Thursday AM.
Depends on the carrier. NW emails weekend specials on Wednesday, CO on Tuesday, etc; High mileage OnePass members get their specials on Monday. You would have to check carrier by carrier. I believe you have to be a member of their FQTV programs to receive email notification.

candyharrington
01-31-2006, 10:11 PM
My advice to everyone is if you are cruising the net and find a killer deal, take it. If you think about it, come back later or call somebody else to book it, it will be gone. Even though your agent said she would book the air for you (she did that as a courtesy) , you can still book it yourself. Believe me, she won't be upset. It's just a few clicks. So next time you find a deal, just click on "purchase". It will take less time than calling your agent, and you will get the bargain fare you found.

Candy