It's a short work week (for me anyway, though I'd prefer having Monday off instead of Friday), so this week's wrap up of user comments will be briefer than usual. Fortunately, we are in yet another week in which we don't have to talk YTB. Instead, a larger company has dominated the headlines and our discussion boards this week.
Agents Of The World Unite Against United
During last week's wrap up, news was beginning to break about United Airlines' controversial plan to selectively prohibit U.S. travel agencies from continuing to report and remit credit card sales via the Airlines Reporting Corporation. It's been a snowball of outrage ever since, as Vacation.com, Ensemble Travel Group, and the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance have all spoken out against this policy, citing that it will not only harm agents but consumers as well.
Our friend George Dooley added his opinion on the matter, urging agents and industry professionals to band together in opposition to this policy. Indeed, agents have united.
Comment on the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance's announcement, Rosie said:
Keep applying the pressure. Let's hope this gains momentum or this will be one more way the airlines harm agents. UA seems to encourage despise unilaterally among agents, wholesalers and passengers. They can do no right...so it would seem. Deny UA business whenever possible. Find another carrier and explain to clients that UA actions will harm everyone if they get their way now.
After reading what Vacation.com's Steve Tracas had to say, David S. is ready for battle, commenting:
This move by United Airlines is basically a declaration of war against Travel Agents and all those who depend on them. I urge every travel agent and travel supplier to start boycotting United Airlines and any other carrier that follows in their foot steps. This may be the last chance to save our industry!
As an alternative, Wendy Baker appears to be satisfied passing the business on to other carriers. After checking out ASTA's statement on the matter, she wrote:
Wow-- I will push my business to AS/AA and Delta. Alaska will match the status so why not put the screws to UA do they think that we are not competent to make a difference? Think again. What about all the UA certificates sent to Frequent flyer holders staing to use your UNITED VISA to receive this discount OR BENEFIT. What a joke. Could it get any worse for them? YES
Meanwhile, user M, (who I assume is of no relation to the M character from the James Bond films) may have a crafty alternative that would use UAL to help agents make more money. After reading Dooley's opinion piece, he suggested:
Make up some of your losses by booking back to back UA and full fare tickets on 2 different sites not your own GDS. Customer saves a fortune if willing to fly coach and service fees could be raised much higher. Try to use 2 different airlines.
What do you think, does M deserve a nice cup of java for his idea?
Attention Mr. Sheehan
Late last year, Dave Eisen wrote a brief about Norwegian Cruise Line's new CEO Kevin Sheehan taking the reigns. It seems that some people are having a hard time getting in touch with the man, as two readers have made a point to post a comment about their tribulations in connecting the bigwig. Pam Radford is the more recent commenter, saying:
I would like to communicate directly with Kevin Sheehan directly. I sent a certified, return receipt letter to his office and received a phone call from a nasty woman named Annette who was no help at all. My phone number is 973-402-7704. It is regarding my August 2, 2009, cruise pricing policy.
Good luck, Pam. Sounds like he's a hard guy to nail down. And Kevin, if you're reading this, I'd like to say "Hello! Thanks for coming to our site! Now that you're here, throw these readers a bone, will ya?"
What Makes A Good Host Agency/Consortium?
A column by George Dooley about how independent agents face tough host agency choices from March recently received a comment by a reader who is looking for some feedback from her peers. Can someone be a good Samaritan and help Ellie out? Here's her query:
I have a great host agency, small storefront, good volume. I have been home-based with them for almost 3 years. I still only make a 50 percent commission, is 70 percent the standard now? How do I approach this with them? I want to stay with this agency.
Meanwhile, we've received hundreds of comments from users about how they rate their consortium, but rarely any have been negative, until this week. It appears rries is not too happy with Vacation.com, saying:
I do not recommend Vacation.com. They promise technology with membership, but you end up paying extra in membership dues and the technology is obsolete by the time it is released. Most technology programs if you can afford the expensive extra charges never quite get all the bugs out and do not work correctly. Just my opinion. Buyer Beware!
Is rries right or does he need to check his computer skills?.
As always, share your comments here or at AgentNation,
the only online social community for all travel agents. Maybe I'll put
you in the spotlight next week. Until then, have a happy Independence Day!