While the worst of the Christmas blizzard here in New York is behind us, there are plenty of travelers all over the country who are going to have memories of that storm for a lifetime—either good or bad, depending on whether or not they chose to use a travel advisor.
For instance, I followed the travails of a coworker over the holiday break online as she trekked from Phoenix to Chicago to Boston—no, scratch that, make it Washington, D.C. — on her journey home to New York. In true “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” fashion, there were cancellations, rescheduled departures, surly customer service reps and even a night spent on a cot in a makeshift airport dormitory. Suffice it to say, she had not enlisted the services of a travel agent. (You can read all about Jena Fox’s recent travel adventures here.)
So while travel agents were getting great press everywhere from The New York Times to USA Today (not to mention Travel Agent), I also heard from a friend of mine who was taking a long-awaited trip to Costa Rica right smack dab in the middle of all this travel turmoil. This was a dream trip for her and her husband, and as the snows fell and the airports closed, it had all the earmarks of an impending nightmare. But as she wrote me on Facebook, “this week would have been a total disaster for us if we hadn’t worked with a travel planner.” Yes, there were rearranged flights and schedules but the final result was the realization of that dream trip—unlike poor Jena’s two-day trip to nowhere.
So for my first column of 2011, there is no lofty message, no lessons for agents to take away—just a well-deserved tip of the hat for a job well done and finally getting some recognition in the mainstream media. The year is off to a good start for travel agents! Let’s keep it going.