Travel Agents

It’s been quite awhile since we talked about travel agents, and more particularly, agents that are good at arranging travel for mariners.

Currently, it can often be very difficult (hours of delays) to book a ticket online, or to get an airline customer disservice agent on the phone. I wouldn’t mind paying a few extra dollars to a travel agent to help me avoid these hassles.

And yes, I’m buying my own ticket for a non-employment related trip.

Maybe 5 years ago, I tried one of the “Mariner travel agencies.” It might have been something like “Griffin,” but I could do better online than a do called “discount Mariner fare”.

The only reason that I want to avoid online now, is that I cannot get through to book it.

On the boat, I always pick my own flights and ask the office to book it. On the boat I often don’t have enough internet. In those cases a call to a travel agent would be worth it. I’m happy to pay an extra $25 to $50 for travel agent assistance with a ticket. Ololokokoikkko

Who are your favorite travel agents?

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Sorry to disappoint you, but no one has likely booked “personal” travel with a travel agent in 15-20 years. That is a sham industry which has fortunately died with the advent of the “World Wide Web”.

We invite you to join the rest of the modern age.

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I’d agree for the most part. However I see that there are still plenty of boutique travel agents around who are willing to take a hefty fee for booking flights, hotels, cars and excursions if you are just too lazy, rich or busy to do it yourself. If you have cash to blow, would be great to not have to trifle oneself with phone calls, apps, payments and checkout lines.

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I’m using:

meghan.hayes@mei-travel.com
(404) 697-1524

for an upcoming vacation. She’s a cruise/Disney specialist, but should do any trip, for free. She gets paid commission from the airline or hotel. Real friendly on the phone too.

My wife wants a cruise, and she got us a better deal than I could get online. Fortunately I’m working ashore now, and would like to get back to sea, where I’m not having to work.

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When Covid cancelled flights the people booked with travel agents got their money back. Travel insurance didn’t help because buried in the small print is war, pestilence and earthquake etc.

I use this.
https://matrix.itasoftware.com
It is a search engine only which is used by most travel agents. You cannot book thru ita but they tell you who to call. For personal trips I use ITA but it’s all on me to make the reservations. For full service travel planning by a travel agent? It will cost about 10% more if flights, hotels etc., are included. In my experience? Travel agents are worth the price.

They also frequently can get you better prices on excursions than you could get privately.

Google flights is your friend

Google flights is great. I use it to find flights, but not to buy tickets.

I usually buy flights directly from airlines. That is often cheapest or just a few dollars more.

I used to use “discount” ticket agents like CheapOAir, but a couple of times there were problems and I ended in the airport talking to call centers in India for a hour trying to resolve the problem. It’s not worth it just to save a $30 dollars.

It’s amazing how different the prices can be on code share flights. I wanted to fly nonstop to London on a particular British Air flight, but it was $1500. I bought a code share ticket directly from Iberia for $600 and flew on the same BA flight.

Corporate travel agents that handle my employer paid flights are able to make free changes, get refunds, etc. I’d be willing to pay a little more for that level of service on my personal flights.

One of my employers uses Priceline because it’s easy to cancel flights and get a refund if circumstances change. Personally, I don’t like Priceline.

We use travel agents to all our (work) travel. Period. When it comes unglued - like my last flight to USA - they are there to fix it and keep our guys moving to / fm the ship

Costs are fine, and since arriving on time to do our work is paramount to our customers, we use the same good travel agents for over 20 years.

Before I retired all travel was done through a European travel agent that specialised in crew travel.