People often ask “Why Use A Travel Agent”… well here is something that just happened to me, A Travel Agent, that shows the value of using an agent’s services….
My Mother/Father In-law who are in their late 70’s are going to be flying to Hawaii to meet up with my wife and myself in July for family vacation. My wife and I will be in Hawaii for 2 weeks and the In-laws are coming for the last week. We are flying into Maui but out of Kona and have late afternoon flights to Dallas while the In-laws will be flying to San Francisco.
I arranged for them to have NON STOP flights on Hawaiian Airlines that depart Kona in the late afternoon so they match our departure time back to Dallas…. WELL…. two weeks after booking their flights Hawaiian announced that they are NOT going to be offering NON STOP flights to/from Kona this summer from San Francisco, which by the way I paid MORE for the privilege of non-stop.
Now they were still going to arrive about the same time as the non stop it just added 3 more hours to their travel time each way BUT the big issue was that instead of departing late afternoon and us all departing together they would now have to be at the airport at 7am which means we would have to check out early and all go to the airport making the wife and I have to sit at the airport for 8 hours prior to our 8+ hour flight home.
Now if this was you and you had booked on your own through an Online booking engine you would have no recourse but to endure ON YOUR OWN what came next where if you had a travel agent they would be the one to handle this for you. (see the timeline below)
10pm… Email arrives from Hawaiian Airlines of a schedule change for my in-laws flights… they are no longer going from SFO to Kona non-stop they are going from SFO to Maui, having a 2 hour layover then flying to Kona and on the return instead of a 4pm non-stop from Kona to SFO they have a 9am flight from Kona to Honolulu, a 3 hour layover, then from HNL to SFO.
10:15pm… After realizing that this affects not only the in-laws flights but also our travel plans I call Hawaiian Airlines only to be on hold for 3 hours because not only did I get that email EVERYONE else scheduled on non-stop Hawaiian Airlines flights did as well.
1:30am… After narrowly averting my phone battery dying while on hold I finally got a Hawaiian representative on the phone and the gist of the conversation was that they were still providing the flights so all was good… after explaining the fact that 1. these are seniors and I booked them non-stop 2. they paid at that time what was a premium price to have non-stop service and 3. it totally blew up not only their return plans but the plans for 2 other couples as well it took me a half hour of conversations with representative #1 and a request for a supervisor to finally get said supervisor and work our for them to cancel these flights with NO CANCELATION PENALTIES which normally would have been several hundred dollars.
In the end all worked out well as I did get the Hawaiian Air flights cancelled at no fees but was able to rebook them on Alaska Air NON-STOP out of Oakland for the same times the original Hawaiian Air flights were and the price was the same.
Had this been you with no travel agent in your corner to do all of this legwork for you it would have taken up 4 hours of your time and no guarantee that you would have been able to cancel without penalties and re-book with another airline. So this answers the question, Why use a travel agent.
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