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I've never actually used a travel agent to book a trip, at least with my own money. Have you?
In the age of apps, travel agents can seem a bit quaint. Yet the industry is showing signs of growth. We profiled six rising stars to learn why, and to find out what they can do for you.
Tobias Wessels's profile photoStephanie Lee's profile photoEllie Dummett's profile photoDaniel Carr's profile photo
Yes, all the time. Once it get's a little bit more complicated (open-yaw, stop-overs or booking in special classes to accrue miles) a travel agent is worth it. Also they have special access to travel booking systems (GDS) that has sometimes better fares.
Only a couple of times when booking package holidays. But we had to push hard to get them to come anywhere close to the web prices. And then they stiff you in other areas. For example to recoup their margin one moved us from the 7am flight we requested to the cheaper 5am one without telling us.
The article has a lot of good points but one thing I find a little misleading is that it makes it sound like all travel agents charge service fees in the hundreds of dollars. Not true. It's something agents are moving towards since commission cuts but the service fees mentioned in this article are in the top percentile of what agents charge.

+Daniel Carr I don't know the whole story behind your booking and why the other flight wasn't available but there are other plausible reasons besides recouping margins. Most holiday packages pay a 15-18% commission percentage to travel agents so there isn't a huge margin to be recouped, if any.
Travel agents are one to the hardest working group out there. The sad part is they are getting squeezed on both sides of the equation. If a person has the time and patience they can put together a trip themselves with the access of new technology and internet access. Time is money and when you find a good good agent they are priceless.
+Steph Lee You might find it easier to understand if I give some (simplified) numbers. We asked for the 7am flight and they said $2600. We said we could get the same flight direct from the airline for $2400. So they came down to $2400. We later found out they had then put us on the 5am flight ($2200) instead and still charging us the $2400. Hence recouping their margin.
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