Matt Castell floats the idea of Travel Agents charging suppliers for spending time on changing travel plans. Could it really become a ‘thing?’

 

Click bait, line and sinker.

Before you go and get your high horse out of its stable, I’m not talking about charging customers a booking fee (that’s a whole other can of sour squirms right there – I’ll come back to it another time).

You can read more about what all of you Travel Agents out there think about that idea here.

I’m talking about charging fees to our industry partners. You know, the ones that charge us fees for selling their products – fairly ridiculous, right?

Riddle me this – your customer wants to change their return date on a fare to London. They don’t want to pay any fare difference, so you work your cute-little-butt off until you find that Oscar class seat, hold it in, create an invoice, take payment, do some travel agent jargon stuff, use an internal or external ticket consolidator to reissue the ticket, generate a new ticket, email or post it to your customer, then sit back and revel in the glory of the $2-5 that just went into your pocket.

Meanwhile, said airline profits just went up $100-300 and they didn’t do anything.

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Look, I’m all for capitalism, I work in travel; where we make money from providing a non-essential (arguable) service. However, I’m also for fairness. So I reckon if we’re doing most of the work whilst our airline partners are taking the lion’s share of the profits then that’s simply not very fair.

How can we level the playing fields you ask?

We reciprocate. You know, the old “eye for an eye” “tit for tat” and so on.

Checking the queues:

Oh, would you look at this, an airline has done some schedule changes… We’re going to have to spend a couple days revalidating tickets, generating new e-tickets, speaking to clients about their concerns and potentially finding alternative options for our dozens of affected clients.

That’ll be $150 per person thanks!

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I’m sure this idea would be laughed all the way to the opposite of the bank (the pub?) by airline executives. I mean, what a ridiculous concept right? A person doing hours of work to fix something entirely outside of their control.

I’m sure they’d reply that simply revalidating a ticket doesn’t warrant such a ludicrous fee. Hmm, am I on to something here?

Airlines aren’t the only suppliers I have in my sights. Why stop there? I’m going to charge a cancellation fee the next time a tour company pulls a trip because they didn’t reach minimum numbers.

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Oh, you say you can’t afford to run the tour anymore? Not financially viable you say? Well, you should’ve taken out an insurance policy to cover that – this is like parallel dimensions now – imagine if the company took responsibility for their risks, rather than lump it on the poor customer (or Travel Agent) to foot the bill for.

Mister Tour Company, terribly sorry that you had to change your plans. That’s just a $500 cancellation penalty. We can’t be expected to come up with a similar priced, brand new trip with such short notice, so we feel this fee fairly compensates us for our extra work and to make alternative, economical arrangements.

If you’re laughing or crying – or both – at this point then something needs to change. Travel Agents and clients drive the travel industry with their blood, sweat and hard earned dollars.

How about relaxing on the fees? Or be prepared to cop a few invoices from your old friends, Travel Agents.

What do you think? Could Agents start charging for spending time on changing people’s plans?