After agent saves traveler big bucks on a business class ticket, “I’ll never search online again”

Here’s another good reason to use a competent travel agent: When Jay Wendt read one of my columns in the Portland Oregonian that recommended using an agent, he decided to give it a try on a business class ticket for a transpacific flight. He was floored by what he discovered.

After searching through a number of sites, the best I could find was a few thousand dollars for the ticket.

They would route me through two different countries with no less than a four hour stopover each before landing at my final destination. One segment had a 16-hour layover.

Thinking these were the “best” prices, I called a local travel agency to see what they could offer.

I was flabbergasted at what I discovered! She found nearly direct flights (one layover due to customs). The best part is that the tickets offered by the travel agent were about one-fifth cheaper than the “best” rate I found online! Plus, I’ve got someone to call in case of a problem with my travels.

I’ll never search online again!

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Anyone who reads my columns knows that I recommend the services of a travel agent whenever possible. Now, I don’t agree with everything travel agents do — for example, I think some of them could be more open about how they make their money (commissions, overrides, bonuses and booking fees). The more transparency, the better. But I digress.

Overall, I think agents — good agents — offer a valuable service, as Jay learned. Maybe there’s a lesson in there for all of us. Before you click the “book” button, why not pick up the phone and call your agent?

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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