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Kirk Cassels' Weekly Wrap of User Comments: August 31 - September 4

September 4, 2009 By: Kirk Cassels

Some people refer to Labor Day weekend as the end of summertime, and I disagree. Technically speaking, summer isn't over until the autumn equinox on September 22. On top of that, with the kids back in school and many travelers having wrapped up their summer vacations already, it's the two-to-three weeks after Labor Day that are the best time to take a trip. The weather's still warm, the ocean has been heated up for months, and there's a lot more space.

Speaking of space, there won't be much of it in this week's wrap up of user comments. Which is fine by me since I doubt many feel like debating or discussing too much as a three-day weekend approaches. But anyway, let's take a look.

No Extra Credit for United Airlines

United Airlines' plan to shift credit card costs to travel agents has, undoubtedly, remained the most controversial topic of the summer (sorry YTB and JoyStar, but it's true). Recently, ASTA and its allies have continued to apply pressure to the carrier, particulary in public. As expected, the efforts appear to be inspiring rallying and rants from agents.

Sam Webb wrote:
I would not take a credit card as the merchang for United or any other carrier. That would make the agency financially liable if UA failed to transport my clients. I say a don't willing book a carrier with this policy or intent. If you must book don't accept the credit card and sell sell sell travel insurance. Most clients will understand. Other decent airlines would be happy to switch on a status par any corporate mileage account.

sgraber added:
You have noticed that there has been no comment from DL or AA. I would assume UA will getaway with their plan and the others DL & AA will jump on the band wagon in less than a week. I'm still booking away from UA. Hope others are also.

I understand sgraber's concern about other airlines. Hopefully, it will ease some minds to know that Continental Airlines and Southwest Airlines have announced no intention to adopt such a policy. Perhaps these carriers are well aware of the true value of agents, and perhaps recent ouctry by the community caught their attention.

Pre-Clearance Not So Preventive of Delays

In an effort to get travelers moving more across the pond, a new policy at Shannon Airport in Ireland offered passengers riding Continental, Delta and US Airways a pre-clearance service facility aimed at eliminating the need to go through immigration upon arrival in the U.S. Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, apparently it's not working.

As kevin states:
I used pre clearance at shannon it took alot of time and hassle. aer lingus are right not to use it.

Anyone out there ready to dispute Kevin's claim? I traveled from Dublin to JFK via a stop at Shannon Airport in 2001 (during the hoof-and-mouth scare) and things went pretty smoothly, from what I recall. So, perhaps this pre-clearance service is unnecessary?

Looking for an Even-Friendly Place to Stay in Vegas?

When we recently covered the news and awards at Virtuoso's Travel Mart in Las Vegas, one reader apparently enjoyed time there and particularly enjoyed a certain property. Is Tara Smith shamelessly plugging something or simply making a friendly suggestion to other agents who are traveling to Vegas, among other destinations, soon? You be the judge, as she wrote:

Many such events also occur at MGM and when I am there I prefer to stay at The Signature condo offered through Their other properties at Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando and Honolulu are equally exciting and affordable.

Plug or not, we'll take Tara's advice, especially in recommending that travel professionals stay at The Signature when attending this year's Luxury Travel Expo. It just so happens that The Signature is the host of this year's event. It takes place in December, but availablity is already filling up so don't forget to register today.

Speaking of don't forgets, AgentNation is available 24/7 for agents to discuss topics and share tips in real time (and it comes without some smartass commenting on your comments). If you haven't joined the Nation yet, sign up today and see what agents are up to right now.

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