‘Frenemies’ is the best term to describe the relationship between Travel Agents and airlines. They love us, we love them, they hate us and we hate them even more. I guess Travel Agents wouldn’t really have a job without airlines, but airlines would be a lot worse off without us.

They’d have to employee more people in overseas call centres to handle stupid questions like “how come my flight lands in San Francisco only a couple hours after I leave from Sydney?”

They’d spend millions of hours trying to explain to their customers why it costs nearly a thousand dollars to change a ticket to Athens during high season with two days notice.

I could go on for hours about all the crappy jobs we do for a measly 5% commission, but I’m not here to complain. I’m here to innovate.

So, hey you, airline – yeah, you. Listen up; here are some things that really piss us off that you need to change.

 

1. Name changes

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I’ve taken out mortgages in less time than it takes to correct a bloody title on an airfare. True story.

Honestly though, why should it take three days, two coronaries and a yelling match with Susie from Reservations to make a simple correction.

We make mistakes; customers can’t remember what their parents called them and some women get a bit fragile about whether they should be Ms. Miss or Mrs.

The other side to this is actual name swaps, like you know, when someone can’t travel anymore (shock!). Why should they lose their money when somebody they know volunteers to go instead? Don’t give me a cock-and-bull story about Travel Agents buying up cheap seats only to flog them later for a profit. This would be child’s play to monitor and we all know you love an ADM.

By all means, charge a fee. But lets try and simplify the whole process a little bit, we’re the ones that get stuck doing all of the work and it’s not our fault (most of the time).

 

2. Blaming Us When Transits Go Wrong

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Trouble at the check-in desk

I know it’s easier to throw some random Travel Agent under the bus rather than have to explain why your airline offers married sector transits with less time than it takes to wash your hair.

Try to remember that we have relationships with our customers, unlike Rayleen who works the check-in counter at Washington Dulles International.

You’ll most likely never see our customer again in your life, meanwhile they’ll be furiously texting us from the gate, adamant the we “mucked up their reservation” and now they’ll have to overnight in Boise, Idaho on the way to Las Vegas.

I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the Potato State, but unless you reckon your customers are all Olympic sprinters, maybe space out the offered connections a bit – not everyone travels to the USA for delicious, creamy mashed potatoes.

Let’s work together to create a better travel experience for our customers – one without red tape or confusing pricing strategies.

We’re on the same team.

Love Matt’s story?

Read: 7 things a Travel Agent can do that a website can’t

What do you think about the Airline – Agent relationship? Share your thoughts below.