Finding a Travel Agent

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Feb 28, 2018
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#1
Finding a local 'bricks and mortar' travel agency is extremely difficult in my area. The local AAA office is a travel agency but their agents are comlpetant only with cruise bookings and hotels.
They use the cruise lines' air -sea departments for all of the cruise passenger's air travel. I went there to book a European cruise, but had my own air/rail/air plans prior to and after the cruise. The cruise line people would only book flights from/to the USA and AAA wouldn't even do that. I cancelled my reservation, arrangedall of my own air with an OTA and it worked out well. I also booked on line with the various hotels, and after downloading rail schedules in Italy, bought rail tickets at the train stations without difficulty.
Is there an online source to locate local real 'bricks and mortar' travel agencies capable of doing what you suggest: booking non-conflictingairline tickets?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Finding a local 'bricks and mortar' travel agency is extremely difficult in my area. The local AAA office is a travel agency but their agents are comlpetant only with cruise bookings and hotels.
They use the cruise lines' air -sea departments for all of the cruise passenger's air travel. I went there to book a European cruise, but had my own air/rail/air plans prior to and after the cruise. The cruise line people would only book flights from/to the USA and AAA wouldn't even do that. I cancelled my reservation, arrangedall of my own air with an OTA and it worked out well. I also booked on line with the various hotels, and after downloading rail schedules in Italy, bought rail tickets at the train stations without difficulty.
Is there an online source to locate local real 'bricks and mortar' travel agencies capable of doing what you suggest: booking non-conflictingairline tickets?
ASTA - The American Society of Travel Advisors - has a website called Travelsense dot org to search for a Travel Advisor. You can search by state, specialty and certifications. You have ASTA behind the agency and they can and will get involved if there is a problem with one of their agencies. It doesn't necessarily have to be a brick and mortar agency - many virtual advisors are excellent at their specialty.
 
Likes: Dave112
Feb 28, 2018
15
7
3
84
#3
ASTA - The American Society of Travel Advisors - has a website called Travelsense dot org to search for a Travel Advisor. You can search by state, specialty and certifications. You have ASTA behind the agency and they can and will get involved if there is a problem with one of their agencies. It doesn't necessarily have to be a brick and mortar agency - many virtual advisors are excellent at their specialty.
Thanks for trying. I checked with the three nearby agencies listed: Two are primarily cruise agencies and are NOT interested in booking air only, since some of the hotels I use are inexpensive and don't pay travel agent commissions. The third agency told me that since they are not commissioned by the airlines, that I would be charged a substantial fee for each ticket in each direction, amounting to about 15% of the published airline ticket prices, and about overall 40% more than the OTA ( Expedia, etc,.) prices. The cost of using a local ASTA agency is prohibitive. Thee were some listed in other areas of the USA, but booking a complicated trip by telephone ( not being able to see the various schedule/airline alternatives) with an unknown agent is little different than booking with an OTA, and much more costly.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#4
Why does the agent have to be local, so long as they are listed with the ASTA? I use a TA who lives over a thousand miles away when needed. But I trust her. As another alternative, have you tried to use Google Flights to search for the lowest fare and best connections? This way you would still book directly with the airline, versus going through a 3rd party.

I think what most of us are saying is that by involving an OTA, you have taken much of the control over bad situations out of your hands, everything has to go through the OTA. Maybe you have had great experiences up until now, but it seems that the OTA's are not helpful in situations where airplanes are late, needing to change flights due to airline cancellation/schedule change, etc.

You will have to pay an airline booking fee, I always pay a fixed price, but maybe some agents charge based on the fare. I would probably not use that agent, but think paying the TA for their time is just fine. I mean, I like to be paid for my time at work as well!