Thursday, December 5, 2019

Recent Flight Mishap… A Go for Travel Agents!

So, everyone reading this is probably thinking – I don’t need to use a travel agent for my flight bookings – Why use one? I can very well do them myself and avoid paying any extra fees.
Well I got one for ya folks! So hold the phone on purchasing online on your own.
Travel agents tout the line …. Without a travel agent you’re on your own. So you’re wondering why is this? Let’s read on…

Recently I booked a round trip flight for someone going from Maine to Oklahoma and back. She had to get there for a funeral of her late husband. Well, the Northeast got blown over by a huge snowstorm and as every travel agent knows…you are GOING to have a ton of delays and flight cancellations up the ying yang at any said airport facing such a storm!
The night before my customer flew home, I contacted her and asked her if she was aware of the recent storm brewing. She stated yes she was but was planning to fly home tomorrow ANYWAY. So OK. A travel agents first thought is…. But why? If you don’t have to fly during bad weather – DON’T. Then you as a travel agent don’t really think about that, you just have to do the best you can for your customer and GET THEM HOME. I told her that she was almost 100% guaranteed to have some sort of long delay or cancellation in Philadelphia and she was ok with waiting.

So fast forward…. Her flight takes off from Oklahoma ok and lands in Philadelphia. STOP! The storm caused multiple delays and cancellations to everywhere and I mean everywhere (not everywhere but most everywhere in the Northeastern states). AS a travel agent we can WATCH stuff like this. We can nearly PREDICT it to a T. As a travel agent I watch airports, I watch flights, I watch whatever I can when I have a customer flying out or flying back home. It’s just my nature to take care of people. That’s what I DO as a travel agent and why I do what I do for a career. Not all travel agents may be like this…but I AM. So she’s faced with a cancellation 30 minutes before her flight is due to take off. There are lines everywhere, all over the airport, of people TRYING to get home. Waiting for the gate agents, the customer service reps and sometimes for absolutely nothing at all except for someone to answer on the other end of the phone call. Those same folks who CHOSE not to book through a travel agent and instead, handle it themselves.

So my customer calls me up and tells me she’s stuck what can I do? I tell her I realize she is stuck and I am currently working on the situation already. Fast forward. I have the ability to make a direct call to an airline agent without much of a wait, without a lot of backlash (as you might dealing with a gate agent who is helping a hundred of other people PLUS dealing with their own work and whom is absolutely miserable – them and you!).

The only thing I cannot do, is make sure the systems update fast enough for the gate agent to CHECK and issue you a new ticket. If that gate agent is miserable, trust me you are not getting on the flight!
I would need at least 2 hours lead time. And that’s better than if you were 9th on the standby list and getting absolutely nothing done. So fast forward and I pay the $8 on a seat I find for my customer and get her ON. Boom! She went from being 9th on a standby list to ON THE PLANE AND FLYING HOME. End of story: HAPPY CUSTOMER.

THIS FOLKS… is why you should book your air with a travel agent. If you prefer waiting in long lines and facing misery and even longer waits, and then possibly even more lines or even an overnight stay in an airport - then go to it alone. In hindsight we always say “That will never happen to me”. Well it does happen to the best of everyone!

Basically I saved my customer from having to spend the night in the airport that evening. I got her on the very last flight of the night into Portland. Think of those 9 other standby persons – THEY spent the night for a possible flight the next day!