Friday, November 09, 2012

Can’t Modify e-Ticket From Travel Agency

A friend sometime ago asked me about this and I wasn’t really sure of the answer so I said I will take note of that and ask my airline friends. But I haven’t yet got to asking when it also happened to me. Well, what a chance experience! I mean it was nice this happened to me so I now know the thing first-hand.

I’m talking about those e-tickets issued by travel agencies. Here’s the story:

On a recent off-site activity, client opted for the package where they take charge of my transport and accommodation. So I received an electronic ticket from them. It looked weird to me (since am not used to having this kind of e-ticket printout) but just the same, it was a ticket. It did contain the usual information we are used to seeing – plus a bit more, and in a different format!

Days prior to the flight, I toyed at the idea of extending my stay in Davao so I could use a day or two to roam more of IGaCoS beyond the beach resorts. So I opened the Cebu Pacific website to retrieve my booking. It was there okay, but I could not see the “manage your booking” portion. There was nothing I could click to do the changes I wanted. So I txtd a friend and she advised that if the website would allow me to do some changes then fine, but if it won’t, then I have to go back to the travel agency for them to tweak it. Argh!

Like the travel agency is located somewhere south of the city while I was/am from the north! I checked my schedules for the days prior to departure and there was just no way I could spirit myself to that place. That easily, I dropped the idea of changing my ticket’s itinerary and/or exploring more of Samal. Oh well, bummer, but that only meant I should follow my original plan of doing business in Davao instead of stealing a day or two from my “busy schedule” to roam more of Samal hehe. Next time, I told myself!

That very night, I chanced upon a friend who also works for an airline, and he was with another friend who is an ex-airline employee and now working for a travel agency! They were on the way to some “two-bottles” for the night and asked me if I wanted to come along. Whatta chance! So I said yes! And of course opened my little ticket issue for discussion… and these you have to know folks!

One of them said “it’s just like the way old non-electronic tickets were issued”, only the issuer (meaning the travel agency) is allowed to change it. Why? Because of the fare computation things. Meaning if that ticket is touched by any other entity, that last touch might prevail and eventually be the transaction to be honored by the airline which the original issuer (travel agency) might stand a chance to lose in the sale. Unfair, right? Complicated thing to explain, but I totally understood.

Then again, it is the electronic age where tickets are bought and passed around like and as fast as txt msgs, di ba?! Some of these airline-travel-agency business relations, standards or procedures may have to be changed with the times. Just wishful thinking really, though I strongly believe they should look at this thing. Take my case for an example. Let’s interpret the case:

My client already paid for my ticket, and clearly, it was already a sale for the agency howsoever its terms with the airline might be, right? If I wanted to change it electronically on the Cebu Pacific website, then I should be able to do so without prejudice to the sale/earnings of that travel agency, right? Or without additional expense to my client who originally bought my ticket, right? For in fact, have you ever experienced changing your booking online where it yielded a “credit back’ or “sukli” to you? Hehe, am not sure it happens with these online things! So, I pay extra to Cebu Pacific and no one should lose.

Having said that, I do not mean to declare that I am absolutely correct. I mean I may be right on the point of view of being a passenger, but the intricate logic and mathematics about airline and travel agency relations might make it impossible. As of now anyway. My two friends agree on that point, though we continued discussing the matter all night. And we were like foolish senators trying to think of possibilities to make this thing more convenient for the masses – over bottles of beer hahaha!

If you don’t understand this topic, don’t squeeze your brain more, it’s complicated. But if you think you can fathom some of the intricacies, go on and think with us. The bottomline should be passenger convenience. And this is not as if it can be done overnight. I think they’ll have to bother the whole industry with such an issue if they want to give in to what I, a mere crazy passenger, wants for my convenience!

Here is an example to get the thing clearer: You were in Manila and you wanted a ticket for your new househelp who will travel Iloilo-Manila on December 15. By December 10, Inday, the new househelp txts she cannot fly on the 15th because of some important domestic activities but would be very much fine to come on the 17th – which is not an issue to you. But by then you were in Saigon for business, so what do you do with her ticket? Call the travel agency? Then have them email the copy of the new ticket to you? Which you will have to re-email or fax to some friend or pawnshop in Iloilo for Inday to retrieve it from? And how are you going to pay the travel agency for those changes (since you are away and cannot personally present your credit card)? Ah, hassle!

Why couldn’t you just do the changes you like on the web and pay for the extra charges using your own credit card, wherever you are, without bothering the travel agency anymore? It should be that simple. But as of now, it is not!

So, the verdict… Do not buy tickets from travel agencies if you are not sure of your dates! Do it on your own and on the web. You could even chance upon those zero or piso fares!

Kawawang travel agencies, as it is, many of them have started losing business due to the online convenience of electronic bookings – which are always cheaper anyway! Let’s bet, 5 or 10 years from now, someone who buys tickets from a travel agent will be considered weird. Wanna bet? Ngayon pa nga lang eh, my friends went on a chorus saying “why did you get your ticket from an agency in the first place, don’t you have a credit card?” whahehehe! Amen!

Now, therefore, wherefore, heretofore, bapor… to my clients and would-be clients, please do not buy my tickets from those travel agencies. If you can’t do it yourselves online, tell me so, for I can do it in just a few clicks. It’s easier and cheaper that way! Plus, I really could use the convenience of being able to change my itinerary online!



ISSN 2515138.5-2035


Philipss said...

Nice blog!
Airlines Tickets Philippines

Johnes Joseph said...

Excellent post.I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work.
Discount to first class airfares

Jack Hammer said...

thanks for your good idea but hindi lahat ng tao may credit card, atm, or etc. mhindi rin lahat ng tao may internet, computer,gadget at marunong mag issue ng ticket for example you are in a middle in meeting pero wang wifi ung confence room anu gawin mo pero you ticket need to rebbok paanu mo gagawin yan alangan naman pupunta ka pa nga web para mag rebook sa ticket mo. see nakakatulong parin ang agency..