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Thread: Picking a travel agency

  1. #1
    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Picking a travel agency

    I'm gonna be going home again to Japan next month and I need to go buy my plane ticket. The last travel agency I went to, they stiffed me the last minute. They told me once price when I first went there and booked my flight and then later told me it was $60 more than what it was. I liked the ppl there though, very friendly and personal. So I wonder if I should go back to them though I may not get the best price. Hmm sometimes I get too bothered to socialize with strangers though, like I feel a weird obligation that I have to keep in touch with them somehow.
    I might go find some other travel agency but I also feel too lazy to walk around town checking places out. Oh I have excuses for everything. I also don't like conversing on the phone, I'd rather talk to someone in person. I'm not too comfortable buying airline tix online (I don't shop online often either) so I prolly won't do that.
    I think I feel really lazy to do this cuz I really don't wanna go home. Wanna stay here with my hubby and Elmo.

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Have you tried shopping around online?
    Airline websites, or online travel websites.
    I have never used a travel agent, but I
    Am kinda a homebody for right now.
    Iwould love to see Japan. I love sashimi!!!

  3. #3
    A*O
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    You can save a LOT of money by booking airline tix online. It's not too risky provided you use an established company with a proper website. There's plenty of them out there. Remember:
    1. Tix are usually Use It Or Lose It so you have to decide on your travel dates and stick to them. You can't chop and change later.
    2. Read the small print. They may advertise a '$499 special' but then add various airport, fuel taxes, etc.
    3. Complicated routes with several stopovers can be tricky if you are delayed or miss a connection with a Use It Or Lose It ticket.
    4. Travel agents charge commission and are very helpful if you have a whole itinerary to plan, but for a straightforward flight (no hotels, no tours, no cars, etc) it's much cheaper to book it yourself.
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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Thanks for the advice guys. I'm gonna do some research online then. It's just that I've never bought plane tix online b4 so I'm scared I'll be scammed or something...

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

  5. #5
    Elite Member loulou58's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    I always buy airline tickets on line Moomies as long as you use a reputable company or even the airline itself you'll be fine. Plus a lot of sites give an online discount plus you'll be able to view millions more flights than an agent will offer you, theyre working on commision and trying to sell specifics most of the time so you may not be getting the best deal for you, just the best deal for them. Its definately worth taking a look online!!

  6. #6
    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Be careful if you buy online cos as you are not protected, whereas if you buy with a travel agent, you are protected--the agency will help you out. Remember 2 years ago with Jetsgo? Those who purchased with travel agencies got their money back or were booked on other airlines to come back home if they were stranded. Those who purchased online, to my understanding, didn't get their money back. Online agencies do charge a fee too, and you'll see it right at the end when you're about to click on payment. Be careful. Nothing is for free.

    Also, now I'm a travel counsellor with RBC so I'm fine now, but when I was a travel agent in a regular travel agency, MAN, people didn't hesitate to call me and ask for prices, cos it was FREE. So, please, don't hesitate to shop around from the little privately-owned agencies to the large chains.

    Yes, seems like your regular travel agency milked another $60 dollars from you. Shop around, make sure when you ask for prices, ask that:

    -it's available (sometimes agencies are like, "Yes, this is the price of the ticket, OH, but you want an available seat?? Ok, that's $$$ more".
    -what class of seat it is, like J class or T class, etc... so when comparing prices, perhaps it's a different class of seat you're getting, hence the price difference.
    -make sure it's taxes included and this is the final price you'd have to pay (e.g. no extra 'surprise' charges)
    -most agencies are able to put 'options' on a ticket for you, meaning, they could hold one in your name and that price while you think about it, depending that the wholesaler can do so, but most do.
    -try to travel Monday, Tues, Wed or Thu as it's usually a little cheaper than flying Fri, Sat, Sun

    Good luck, if you need more info, pls let me know.
    Last edited by mtlebay; March 19th, 2006 at 10:02 AM.
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  7. #7
    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    I sort of had no luck so far. I looked at a couple of online ticket websites and they were all expensive like double the price I would pay and most of them had stop-overs which would make my flight to be some 16 hrs instead of 9!!
    I looked at
    travelocity, cheaptickets.com and expedia.ca
    Does anyone know better websites? preferrably Canadian.
    I think I might just call up some travel agencies in town and see what they got.

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

  8. #8
    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Moomies, just call various travel agencies from the comfort of your own home. They'll call you back after they do the research for the ticket.
    Go Habs Go!!

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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Just thought I'd update.
    I called a few travel agencies. Most of them offered much better deals than what I found on the internet.

    Online tickets that I found on the sites I mentioned earlier were around $1500.
    The local travel agencies I phoned offered prices ranging from $750-$1015 (round trip btw).

    The one that's offering $750 (I think this would be the cheapest I could ever find) I didn't like the agents I talked to, they were not so friendly (I called them 2ice, talked to 2 different ppl). My hubby says I should buy from them just cuz it's the cheapest, who cares if the agents are nice or not. A friend of mine had also told me that ppl there aren't all that nice and that was more or less comfirmed...

    The other one I called, they offer $765. I've used this agency b4 when I booked my flight to Japan one year and also my vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Ppl that work there are all very polite, kind and friendly so I feel like going with this one though it's $15 more. I just feel more comfortable with them.


    I also called the last travel agency that I used who ripped me off the last minute, ppl there are all very friendly, maybe just a bit too friendly for my taste, they gave me a quote of $760 and told me something about the tax changing at the end of this month (something to do with US tax that will be added??? Mtlbay do you know anything about this?) and that I need to book it soon b4 that change.

    One another one that I called offered me $1015 (with Air Canada, all the other ones above are Japan Airlines who I always fly with). My friend had told me about this place saying how cheap she bought her ticket, she obviously didn't do enough research!

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

  10. #10
    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Quote Originally Posted by moomies

    I also called the last travel agency ... they gave me a quote of $760 and something about the tax changing at the end of this month (something to do with US tax that will be added??? Mtlbay do you know anything about this?) and that I need to book it soon b4 that change.
    Airlines have been adding fuel surchages, but I never heard of a new US tax! Considering you're flying from YVR to Japan, you would NOT have to pay a US tax unless you're connecting somewhere in the US! You can always call the airline directly, advise them of the flight itinerary and ask if there will be indeed a new 'US tax'. That's bull if you ask me, but that aside, seems like you've been getting great prices! I trust that you're getting prices of taxes included and available seats?!?!
    Go Habs Go!!

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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    I'm going direct using Japan Airlines. The dude I talked to said it was an American tax that will be added, which didn't make sense to me cuz I'm flying from YVR to NRT without any stop-over. I don't think the airplane will be passing thru the US. I think it goes over Pacific Ocean...lol, I just don't understand why an American tax will be added. Maybe he just meant to say there will be a fuel surcharge on top of regular tax.
    I don't think I'll be buying my ticket from them but when I book my flight either with the cheapest place offering $750 or the mid-range place offering $765, I'll make sure to ask about the additional taxes and the fuel surcharges and get a definate total.

    ps. the prices the travel agents gave me were b4 tax, they were all too lazy to actually calculate the exact amount so they told me the tax would be like an additional $150 or so...

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

  12. #12
    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Probably not too lazy, but unwilling to risk scaring you off. Canadian air travel taxes are the highest in the world.

  13. #13
    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Passenger Type Adult
    Base Fare 1722.00
    Canada Airport Improvement Fee 15.00
    Japan Passenger Facilities Charge 20.09
    Canada Security Charge 17.00
    Canada Goods and Services Tax (GST/HST #10009-2287) 1.05
    Fuel Surcharge 102.00
    Number Of Passengers 1
    Total 1877.14
    Grand Total - Canadian Dollars $ 1877.14
    Convert currency
    for informational purpose

    The above is direct flts from YVR to NRT on select dates I chose for AC next month. Notice how there aren't any US taxes whatsoever in there? I'm sorry, a TA knows the diff betw fuel surcharge and US tax. To be a TA, you must be sooo meticulous about every little detail, e.g. exact spelling of name as written in passport, the exact dates you want to fly outbound and inbound, the flight numbers, etc... One letter/number off and these tickets are worthless as they're nonref and nonchgble. Airlines are very strict--too strict actually. He just wants to squeeze more $$$ from you.

    And I HIGHLY suggest you ask for the FINAL price (taxes included). When we were giving prices to clients with just the price before taxes and the clients would somehow buy with us, we would just go crazy and add more money on top of the taxes cos we knew the client wasn't paying attention. So I STRONGLY suggest you ask for the final price before saying, "Yes", as you will magically see the taxes 'differ' greatly from agency to agency. AND it's just as easy for them to get the total price vs. the price b4 txs--they're automatically calculated. However, from a selling point, it just sounds 'cheaper' to say $750 pls txs instead of $900 for a ticket. Don't be shy to ask them--it's their job.
    Last edited by mtlebay; March 24th, 2006 at 12:33 AM.
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    A*O
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    That's good advice. It does not really matter exactly what each component of the total is - you just want the lowest FINAL price. I travel quite a lot and still have no idea how airlines calculate their fares.
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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking a travel agency

    Another update.
    I actually went to 2 travel agencies in person today. It turned out the $740 flight is Air Canada and JAL is $760.
    Two of the travel agencies offered me the same price.
    I booked my flight with the friendlier place and I'm flying JAL just cuz Air Canada arrives at a different terminal in Narita that I'm not used to and I only save $20 so it's not worth the trouble of getting lost at the airport...I asked about additional taxes and charges. So what the other TA said about the American tax turns out to be an extra fuel surcharge after next Tuesday.
    At this point I'm just a little worried if I'm allowed back in. I asked the travel agent if I'll be issued tourist visa by the customs upon my return but she didn't want to tell me anything definitive... I'll have to go to the immigration office to ask about that (unless someone on this board has some advice ).

    After tax, it came to something like $950 (I have the invoice but too lazy to go look ).

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

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