Kirk Cassels' Weekly Wrap of User Comments: March 29-April 2

As the sun remains unobstructed and the temperatures inch toward 70 degrees in New York, it is indeed a Good Friday. Though it would be an Even Better Friday if we had a federal holiday like they do in Canada (anyone heading to Whistler Blackcomb for some new snow?), Great Britain and other countries. I envy all of you that have today off from work. But I'll stop complaining because I'm heading to the Riviera Maya in Mexico next week (take that Pike) for an exciting event that I can't tell you much about just yet. But I will say it involves a movie star and an excellent hotel brand. I'll fill you in when I get back after putting the Weekly Wrap on hiatus for a week. But for now, let's get scrolling.

Yes, More YTB

So our good man George Dooley wrote a brief about more financial troubles for YTB just yesterday and, to no surprise, the comments have been pouring in ever since. What's also not surprising is that the comments, once again, involve evoking what (one person believes) God wants (and right before Easter!) as well as feedback from John Frenaye, JJ and (guess who's back, back again) Peter Stilphen. The last time I added my commentary on the exchange between certain individuals about YTB here at the Weekly Wrap, it came back to me and I responded. Instead of wasting your time making this all about me and others, I'll just simply republish what has been stated thus far on the latest YTB item and you can judge or comment for yourself:

Rosie started it off, writing
This is a shock? The only shock to me is that this MLM rip-off is still around at all.  They should be dead an buried by now. MLM is a rip-off, plain and simple. And people who know nothing about travel passing themselves off to others as "travel agents" is a sad reality in our industry...too bad for the public and for those of us who take this seriously as a profession. There seems to be no shortage of dimwits with the need to fund get-rich-quick-schemes which rips them off.

John Frenaye then added:
Yes I agree---"shock" is not the right word. When I had this info on my blog yesterday I titled it "As Expected".
It will be interesting to see the ultimate condition in 15 days.

Jesse responded to Frenaye, posting:
I'll tell you what's NOT a shock.... John Frenaye using news about YTB as an opportunity to get traffic to his blog for attention to his ideas. Well-played, but predictable.

Then Peter Stilphen chimed in, saying:
John and I have been predicting YTB's demise for a long time. Same M.O. and news as Joystar before they went down. Let the travel agents and the suppliers who still support them beware. Your losses are just around the corner.

YouShoptoSave then added to Jesse's take, stating:
I agree with Jesse. Talk about taking advantage of an opportunity. The stabs and jabs from John will never hurt the founders of YTB because of their faith in God.

Then JJ joined the online dialogue, commenting:
YTB is hemorraghing money because of their busines practices and it's everyone else's fault? What is wrong with you people? IF you are serious about selling travel there are a myriad of hosts out there that are finacially stable, offer a better commission split and training.

Finally (at least as of now) Jesse came back to talk to Peter, writing:
Wow Peter Stilphen's back! Where have you been! Is that really you or just allegedly you? Talk about YTB and JoyStar all you want Peter, just don't talk about Traverus right?

I am exhausted just reading the exchange. Let's move on.

Remember to Read the Publish Date

Two weeks ago, I shared a comment by a reader who was apparently trying to update them on the iTrek situation when we here at Travel Agent were already on top of it. I mention that because another reader posted a similar statement this week, claiming our information was months old. Commenting on Jena Tesse Fox's piece about preparing for the British Airways strike, Keith Patrick wrote:

The information on the BA strike is a month out of date! Really not very useful if you are travelling and wondering if you are going to be able to get home in the coming week.

If you click through to the story, you'll notice the report was published March 1 and Keith's comment was posted April 2. Not sure how Keith surfed to that specific page but he obviously missed Jena's updates on the strike situation. Publish dates are there for a reason and readers can always browse our site to get the latest information on ongoing stories here at Travel Agent.

Good Luck Chuck

Senator Chuck Schumer's office is in the same building as Travel Agent's here in New York. I've never run into him, but there was this one time I couldn't enter the office because people protesting Schumer's policies handcuffed themselves to the front door of the entire building. Chuck recently made his presence back into the Travel Agent office when Dooley wrote a brief ditty about the Senator's desire to have NASA space craft put on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum to boost tourism. Sounds like a good idea to me, especially since I live on the other side of town from the museum and won't be affected by the crowds. But Rob doesn't seem too enthused about the idea, writing:

What a bunch of B.S. The retiring Shuttles should be displayed at Kennedy Space Center, the Air and Space Museum in DC, and Huntsville Alabama. What the hell did New York have to do with the Shuttle program. Schumer is a blowhard.

I assume Rob is from Washington, D.C. or Huntsville, AL. He has a point that New York doesn't have much to do with the space program. However, the name of the museum is the Intrepid Sea, Air & SPACE Museum, so I think that has just a little bit to do with it. If I see Schumer, I'll share Rob's gripe in person.

Machu Picchu Reopens

Real quickly, I'd like to hear back from a reader who posted a comment about the recent news that the Machu Picchu has reopened after a series of landslides in Peru closed it down. Carl wrote:


Just in time for what, Carl? Are you going there? Do you have clients going there? Is there a sequel to Mel Gibson's Apocalypto that somehow connects its way from the Mayans down to the Incas? Give us the dish!

Cruise Price Increases: Good or Bad?

The most substantial topic which received comments this week was Susan J. Young's report on how travel agents feel about the imminent increase in cruise prices. There's no name calling, no bickering and no elusive statements, just some nice feedback from two agents— each taking a different side.

naoj was the first to respond, writing:
As an Agent I am pleased. When the cruise prices are as low as they are we do a great deal of work for very little money. The only thing that bothers me is the same is happening as the Airlines have done..........put the fare down really low then increase it quite high.......the public then thinks prices are going to come back down and waits.... We will see.

Steve then shared is counter-argument, stating:
I really think this is a much too dramatic price increase. The economy is still very bad and I think this will scare away a lot of potential cruisers.

Which begs the question: is Steve or naoj right? Based on our recent poll on the matter, it seems most agents would agree with Steve. But that doesn't mean the discussion has ended. I encourage you to keep it going, whether it's by posting a comment below here or on the original reports, shared on our Facebook page, sent to us at our Twitter page, or discussed in real time at the thread on AgentNation.

Hope to hear more from all of you, and look forward to reading them all when I get back from Mexico. Until then...

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