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'Airlines, Time to Clean Up Your Mess'May 13, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) shared withTravelAgent
the viewpoint of a veteran travel agent who recently emailed him in response to an article that ran onTravelAgentCentral.com
regarding Mitchell’s viewpoint on hidden airline fees.
The agent, who asked to remain unnamed, suggested that a debit memo be sent to airlines for the time involved in cleaning up their messes.
Below is an excerpt of the email that the agent sent to Mitchell:
I couldn’t agree more with your article. As a seasoned travel agent of 37 years, this industry grows more complicated and bizarre as the years pass. Commission elimination nearly 10 years ago coupled with the rapid rise of consumer self directed .com bookings does have one bright side for travel agents—less airline-caused headaches for us. We do far less airline ticketing than 10 years ago, and the airline business that we still have is fraught with enough headaches as it is—I can’t image triple the complications!
With recent worldwide weather glitches—snowstorms, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis, there are times when we’re thankful we haven’t inherited an abundance of non-profitable “clean up.” We’re able to focus on helping our clients—it takes double the time to resolve and rebook delayed passengers, and for those that booked online … well – “good luck with that!””
Selling a basic airline ticket takes at least three times longer than it used to … by the time we search for a good fare, explain the multitude of penalties associated with the purchase, explain all the extra fees associated with the fare, execute the ticketing including adding all of the TSA requirements to the record, and clean up schedule changes for months after the sale, we often ask ourselves “WHY are we doing this?” The airlines are now beginning to feel what we’ve experienced for years—when our commissions were eliminated, we were forced to add a ticketing fee and the end result was that our customers didn’t like it and jumped ship to a dot-com website.”
“When I look at the long term financial damage the airlines have inflicted on our small business I want to throw up. My wildest fantasy is to someday be able to send the carriers a debit memo for the time involved to clean up their messes! “
to read an excerpt of Mitchell’s original argument regarding hidden airline fees.