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The Weekly Wrap: User Comments & Discussion, June 1-5

June 5, 2009 By: Kirk Cassels

Believe it or not, the first week of June was also the first week in which the primary topic of discussion on was not YTB. But that doesn't mean nothing interesting was going on.

Great White North's Great Agent Offer 

For starters, it looks like Air Canada is making U.S. airlines look bad. The carrier announced Thursday that it will offer Canadian travel agents 4 percent commission on all flights within Canada. Considering that most, if not all, U.S. airlines don't offer commission (or do but only for preferred partners), several agents hope Air Canada's move will set a standard.

AJ, for starters, commented:
About time that airlines realized that the agent network is the surest, safest and most cost effective distribution channel. Check what the agents have done to SIA in India.

Meanwhile, it appears Nina is ready to become an expatriate, saying:
I will gladly move my Canadian and European air flights if you extend the commission to U.S. agents.

Is Air Canada keeping ahead of the curve with its latest initiative or is it an interesting attempt to increase travel and business during these tough times?

TRUE or False?

Peter Stilphen (who has aggressively spoken out about such host agencies as JoyStar as well as warned agents about card mills and multilevel marketing firms) has recently targeted the Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN), focusing specifically on the Networks' TRUE identification card.

George Dooley spoke with OSSN President Gary Fee, who dismissed Stilphen's claims, and now our readers are chiming in.

Carlanne McCrystal, CTA, said:
I am proud to say I am a member of OSSN and a TRUE number holder. I have a Seller of Travel license in Washington state and am legitimate in all areas of my business, from licenses, taxes, professional designations, etc. As well as owning a host agency, Stilphen has started yet one more membership-oriented "organization" & is trying to seduce travel agents over to his group & away from established organizations such as OSSN, NACTA, etc. He needs to get on with managing his own business, staying out of others' business and shutting his flapping mouth. He flaps too much to be taken seriously. He is boring.

Stilphen's latest claims, however, seemed to have raised some eyebrows among readers with regard to OSSN. For instance, DB said.
Well, from what I can see Stilphen is a bit of a loose cannon, but OSSN does have a Traverus Member in Puerto Rico---Traverus was advertising that they were members and had pictures of the Traverus President along with the OSSN Chapter President signing some agreement in Puerto Rico.
And I am confused, at one point I was told that TRUE was a number (and not a card), but now there are TRUE people saying they have cards, Stiphen says they are cards and Fee is no longer saying they are not cards.

Even a former JoyStar agent shared thoughts on the matter, citing previous experience with Stilphen's claims. Jane Fencer said: 
Wondering what is this guy's problem? I was a Joystar agent and he inundated us with email after email to leave and join his group. Rather, I struck out on my own, joined OSSN and the NEST and got my TRUE Card - ALL LEGIT. I abide by federal regulations, have a business license, business account and an EIN number.
Do I have a CLIA or IATA? No, I could not afford to get them at the time when I went on my own. Will I get them? Probably not. IATA is doing away with their ID cards and all of the vendors I deal with accept TRUE.
He really needs to shrivel up and go away. Doesn't he realize he's doing nothing more than making an ass out of himself and his company?
He's just being pissy because he got kicked out of being the chair of PATH because of his behavior. I mean really, is this guy a professional? NO! Why would anyone want to join his company with the way he behaves, I would be ashamed to be affiliated with him in any way.

But while some users are attacking Stilphen back and others are questioning OSSN, some are just sitting back and enjoying the show, like Dave Jackson who wrote:
Oh Boy, another witch hunt. I can't wait. Look at past presidents of OSSN and where they are now. It won't go any further.
I personally like OSSN and their card because it gives agents a valuable alternative to the stupidity of IATAN and IATA cards. It is all a big sham by everyone and very little is done for the agent. They are all in it for the money.
Would love to see more scrapping.

I like a good "scrapping," too. And by scrapping, I mean a healthy dialogue among many participants who can inform and learn from each other during what appears to be yet another sensitive topic here on

Sorenson on CNBC

Earlier in the week, Travel Agent aggregated a video clip of Marriott International COO Arne Sorenson being interviewed on CNBC. While the topic of the conversation seemed to focus on Sorenson's view of the economy and its effects on the travel/hotel industry, reader Alex Boston doesn't seem to be moved, writing:
Arne Sorenson couldn't tell the truth if it slapped him in the face. Internal numbers at Marriott are worse than he admits, but the Marriott family is trying to sell so he talks up the stock.

Alex said it, I didn't. Is what he claims true?

Best... Article... Ever!

When we released a report on Apple Vacation's latest "Ask An Agent" program, which encourages consumers to seek guidance from travel professionals, we apparently made Sandy's day, who commented:
This is the best article I have read in a while regarding us Travel Agents!! Thank YOU!!

No, no... thank YOU, Sandy, for coming to our website. A question though: is it REALLY the best article you've read in awhile regarding travel agents? I mean, Ruthanne Terrero penned a column on the Top 10 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent, which seems like it could be of major use in selling yourself to clients, and we recently welcomed Darren Friedman's advice on how to avoid liability issues regarding your clients' travel experience, which could help agents steer clear of unnecessary legal mumbo jumbo. Just saying.

The discussions don't end here on Many are talking about a variety of topics at AgentNation, the only social network for all travel agents. Subjects include the best tour operators in Europe and if clients are getting better deals on cruises without help from agents. Join in on the discussions now. If you haven't signed up yet, join AgentNation today. 

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