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Lesson learnt when using travel agent


ringadingding
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Till now I used to book my flights directly with airline using their website, but this time I used STA Travel to book my tickets. Today I found out that I can take longer holiday. So, checked Thai Airways website and found that there were seats available for my new dates and fare was not different too. Checked with STA who told me that they will charge $300 to change the tickets.

 

Earlier I would simply call the airline, pay the difference and any penalty charges to change dates. Not this time.

 

So in future if you want to use the travel agent, keep in mind that they will charge extra on top of airline's fee and charges.

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That should hardly be surprising to you or any other person.

 

Travel Agents are a business and they are going to charge you for any extra services. Having been a Travel Agent for Flight Centre, there is very little commission in flights to Asia anyway, especially if you paid what you saw with the airline direct.. They need to make money somehow, and when you walk in and just book flight only, you are NOT seen as a valuable customer. Granted $300 is absurdly expensive and is not to be indicative of all Travel Agents. From memory Flight Centre used to quote a standard $100 change fee + Airline charges

 

It is also most likely that the Airline will also be charging for flight date changes. Only flexible more expensive fares come with free date changes, and as most people opt for the cheapest available fare, so you can be guaranteed that at least $50 of that would be charged by The Airline

 

Like anything in life, you need to read the fineprint before signing into any agreement to ensure you are aware of such fees. Often the cheapest deals have higher change / cancellation fees should things go belly up.

 

If I'm booking flight only, I'll always book direct with the airline's website. Only very rarely will a travel agent offer a more significantly discounted price. I've also missed out on upgrade deals because they were sent to the agent. Those that book directly can be guaranteed to be first in line for cheap upgrade deals and what not.

 

But regardless of whom you book through, you should always know the "What if" terms and conditions before you seal the deal

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Yes. You are correct BEPN. Gotta read the fine print. I missed it this time. I am mostly familiar with fine prints in airlines' fare, but as I said, this was my 1st time to deal with the agent and found that they were reluctant to change the tickets and advised me that they will deal with this some time later. Earlier I used to book flexible fares and may not pay anything for change plus could change dates online myself rather than someone servicing me.

 

Lesson learnt and back to dealing with airlines directly from next time onwards.

Edited by ringadingding
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I have never used a Travel Agent. In these days of internet there is only a need if you are doing some complicated world discovery tour - even then I doubt it. And never any less than checking 3 sites, including the airlines.

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Thanks momomo...I will give it a shot, otherwise, it may not be worth spending $300 right now after all.

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Actually Iast time I used STA online travel,they charged me 200 dollars to change dates.

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Ok. Called Thai airways and YES. You can change the flights by calling Thai Airways directly after departure.

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I dont think you can change the dates with the airline BEFORE travel commences, only after if you have booked through an agent. I had a similar experience for a Cathay flight, rang them direct to change dates before commencement of travel and they told me had to go back to travel agent, but changes after commencement they could/would do.

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Ok. Called Thai airways and YES. You can change the flights by calling Thai Airways directly after departure.

glad it worked.

 

I dont think you can change the dates with the airline BEFORE travel commences, only after if you have booked through an agent. I had a similar experience for a Cathay flight, rang them direct to change dates before commencement of travel and they told me had to go back to travel agent, but changes after commencement they could/would do.

ah, interesting, that's why. Always wondered whether it's been just a lucky instance. Good to know.

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