Delta Airlines has just issued a news release stating that they will pay no more TA comissions. Now here's a Real Gripe for those cruisers who live in locations where Delta has the best flights to the ports. Delta says that we can all do the same thing for free online. Well, that's just great. Do we book the cruise and take a chance that we can get air to the port, or do we book the air and take a chance that we can book the cruise? Another big problem for the traveling public, to add to many others. I hope the corporate management of Delta goes to --- well, you know where!
I don't see this as a problem for Deb and me. TA's are useful sometimes but generally over-rated. Besides, from what I have seen, you always come out ahead $$$ wise by booking your own air. Sorry, just does'nt bother me.
Sorry guys, but we have found GOOD TA 's to be very helpful in our travels. Yes, we have had some who were totally worthless. Like the ones connected with major credit cards, where you never talk to the same person twice, and heaven help you if you have a problem. Or like the guy in our homeown who can only think of "what's the cheapest way"' , untill I told him that it was for us to stay home! But there are good TA's from whom we get good travel advice and benefits. I'm afraid Kuki is right. All the airlines will follow --- those cheap b-----ds! Now we will all have to book our air through the cruise line, or take our chances. Sorry again. This is not good news. Who decided to deregulate the airlines, anyway? Best that he not meet me this evening.
I'd take deregulation any day over TA getting a comission. Before deregulation very few people in amerca could aford to travel. There is no way I could afford to travel if Airlines were charging the same rates before deregulation. The less things the goverment has their hands in the better.
Sorry if I am wrong, but my records do not indicate cheaper fares as a result of deregulation. I live in Oklahoma City. As a result of deregulation, I must now put up with much fewer direct flights, and must pay a high premium for those which remain. If I happened to live in a "hub" city, my viewpoint might be different. But I don't, so it isn't.
We have always done much better booking our own air vs including it with the cruise (at least $100 savings per person).
Of course, having said that let me relate my latest experience. We have never really worried about airline delays and have mostly flown to the cruise city on the day of departure. We are booked on the Paradise in May. Well, since 9/11, it certainly is a lot more iffy about making it to the cruise city relatively on time. Having just flown to California (LAX) for our March cruise on the Esctasy, and having seen/heard that LAX had problems 3 times in that week, I have changed our flight to Miami (from Washington, DC) to the day before. Just seems that it is too tough to rely on perfect weather, the airlines, the security screeners and the crazies out there all being in perfect harmony on my departure day
Of course I am no expert , but I would invision a few things happening. I would guess that one or two airlines might follow. I would also guess that several will sit back and take a wait and see attitude to judge the public's reaction to Delta's move. I would guess that Delta will lose some market share as their are still a large number of people who do not , can not or will not book on line and do their own flight research.
My guess is that Delta fares will go down and that the subsequent booking fees charged by TA's will put them right back where they essentially were before if you add the two together. My guess is that TA's by human nature will gravitate to the other airlines.
There were other factors that caused the demise of Renaceance (spelling?) Cruise Lines, but probably the most significant was their elimination of TA fees and loss of a powerful source of sales. Delta Beware.
Personally, I'll take the convenience and expertise of a good TA combined with a little preliminary homework on my part as being a successful combination. And ,might I add
that I am willing to pay a reasonable fee , through TA commissions or booking fees
to utilize that expertise. That is my choice and opinion.
One last thought. Given current trends, I would not personally be making a long term career choice to be a TA, but, I am so happy that Jodie G. (my TA) has.
Do we book the cruise and take a chance that we can get air to the port, or do we book the air and take a chance that we can book the cruise?
Everytime I book through a TA for a cruise they always offer to hold it for me. You could have your TA hold the cruise of your choice and then call the airline and get the ticket. You may have to go around a few times until you get a matching flight to your cruise, but at least there will be no canceling involved.
I never use travel agents to book anything except cruises. I plan all my own vacations researching the internet and travel magazines. Then I call hotels, airlines and tour operators direct and have had better vacations then I have had booking through a TA. I actually love to do this, but I can understand how other people would become impatient and appreciate the help of a TA.
book your own air for a cruise????? I dont think so. Some airlines have already dropped commisions months ago. This is not a problem for us. Our ta still does air for us and all the reserch because we are repeat customers but she did say that she was not doing air for first timers.
I'm sure the Delta execs have seriously considered all the options and chose to pursue this avenue for additional revenue and corporate health. My thought is that when I travel on company business we are required to book through our contracted Travel Agency who probably will not be booking Delta flights now. It is well known that business travelers are the bread and butter of the airlines customers and losing this market is going to be expensive for them.
This has been coming for some time, my mother owned a travel agency and the airlines have been steadly cutting commisions. My parents finally just closed up shop, said it wasn't worth anymore. At the end they were only getting $10.00 on a one way ticket and $20.00 on a round trip ticket ( on customers that would call all hours of the night. change flight times 6 or 7 times in a week )
Now think of it this way, If you want to do the booking and research yourself, fine but consider how much your going to pay yourself an hour while you do the work. Because it's taking you away from doing something else. That is what TA's are there for, they perform a service for you and you pay them for it. I think the airlines are doing this to offset rising operating costs. A real shame IMHO.
I was suprised to see so many comments on this thread to the effect that TA's aren't needed. Well, I'll agree that the big TA houses that only take orders and don't give much good advice aren't much help. But for example a year ago I had a favorite cruise line, and sometimes just booked direct through them. But that line changed a great deal in the past year, and now appeals to a different demographic than ours. Another change was that it is now very hard to get them on the phone and to get acccurate info when you do.So a GOOD TA was indispensible in choosing a new favorite line. Now on the line we chose, the TA is so good at getting upgrades, group discounts and credits, and other perks that we whouldn't consider not using this type of TA for cruise trips. For non-cruise trips, since we don't live in a "hub" city, it takes someone with a masters degree in industrial engineering from MIT to sort out all the connection, options, and other factors for a particular destination. Lacking that degree, I really need a good TA.
I'm not so sure that travel agents are all that useful for booking airfare in connection with cruises. For our current cruise, which requires open jaw ticketing, I followed conventional wisdom and signed up for Celebrity's airfare. I started checking around, though, and found that I could save over $100 pp by booking the airfare separately. So as a courtesy, when asking the TA to cancel Celebrity's airfare, I asked her to book the new air so that she would get a commission. Two things led me to the conclusion that this was a mistake. First, she was unable to find the same good price that I could and I had to tell her how to do it. Second, by the time she returned my calls the price had gone up on the tickets (this was when the feds added the surcharge for security). She had done nothing to earn a commission so I can't mourn the fact that she might not get one in the future.
I have almost always recommended booking your air as opposed to cruise line air. Except in the case of open jaw tickets it's normally pretty easy to save a considerable amount of money.
Fact is many cruise only agents don't even book air, so having them try and book it for you can be a mistake.
So.. I think this development with Delta (with the rest likely to follow) isn't directly related to cruising.
However... if everyone is now sort of pushed to booking their own air, there could be some "interesting" developments.
Do you think when you call to book your air, simply by asking for the best price, you're going to get it?
With the cruise lines buying bulk (contract air) eventually their prices COULD turn out to be less than booking on your own, which won't really be a good thing, because it will mean the airline prices will have risen.
Granted.. those with some Internet savy should have a bit of an edge at least to begin with, but there will be a lot of travellers out there paying considerably less than best available price.
Bill: I am interested in your comment that Ren. had eliminated TA fees before its demise. I did not know that. When did Ren do this? I remember that we booked a Med. cruise on Ren. through a TA about 8/22/01, which we cancelled on 9/13/01, again throught the TA. We cancelled because we wanted the military situation to clarify before going that direction. Twelve days later, Ren. was defunct. There was no mention from the TA that they were without fees on this deal, but it may explain the shabby way the refund was handled, though we eventually won.
They did it a while back, it did not work and not long before the end they reinstated their relationship with TA's. The dates you indicated are within a few weeks of the END and during those last few weeks they were doing everything to get bookings. I had saved an e mail for a while that advertised free airfare from LA and a cruise to Tahiti I believe for $999. for 10 days. Got it, the day before they went out.
Jenn: Some of the cruise lines I like to use offer incentives for paying deposit the day of booking. These include discounts and room credits. Don't know if I could still enjoy these if I had the cruise "held" for me while I looked for air, but I'll check it out.
We live in the Oklahoma City metro area, where there are no direct flights to any port city except for Houston (a minor port, at best). So the issue of air to the ship is a big one for us. Last year, we were flown to Houston through Newark, NJ to get to San Juan!
Open Jaw is the term used to describe flights when the return portion departs from a city other than the destination of the original flight.
In terms of cruises... for example.. if you cruise from London to NY. You fly from X to London to meet the ship. Then fly home from NY to X.
Kuki, your prediction is comming true. Today Continental, American, and TWA (owned by American) joined Delta in eliminating TA comissions. Who is left among the "bigs"? Northwest and United? I wonder how many days? Of course, these airlines didn't get together and agree to this ahead of time. And for all who believe the last statement, I've got a true story for you about the tooth fairy.
Hello, Babe Ruth, it's Colleen from the other board.
Did you really fly from Oklahoma City to Newark to get to Houston? What genious worked out that plan? Did you at least get the frequent flyer miles?
Now, for the airfare. I just spent a week doing research and I have found the cruise line got me the best airfare. First, they offered free air from Dallas so I needed to get to Dallas. The best I could find on the net or my TA could find was $119 each. Due to a suggestion from Babe Ruth my TA called the cruise line and got the same fare for $50 each. So it all depends, you just have to do your research.
BabeRuth , Are you trying to say there is no tooth fairy? I have not read that on this board so it can't possibly be true. Slandering the good name of the tooth fairy, who, is way too busy to consider taking a cruise, is not a nice thing to do. You probably don't believe in the easter bunny or the great pumpkin either.
Note, more of the big airlines followed suit yesterday and today.I wonder if my TA gets commission on the flights we already have booked that have not been ticketed yet?