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Ellen495

Giving my cruise to an outside travel agent?

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My travel agent, who I use for complicated air, asked me to transfer the cruise to him. In return he won't charge me a fee for making airline tickets. If it were a direct shot, I'd make the reservation on my own (who can't book Phl to Chicago?) but we're not sure of the best airline in this situation and it seemed easier.

 

But the Personal Cruise Consultant who has helped me: A - Does she lose a commission? B - She told me that if prices change or drop I lose out. She wasn't pushy - very nice actually - but I'm not sure what to do. He would be more hands-on helping with excursions (she doesn't do that), though you guys do. 

 

I'm just not sure what is the right thing for everyone. A - because of fairness to her B - because of price drops and fairness to me C - because of convenience to me with him. 

 

This is a summer (July 2020) cruise to Alaska with a Neptune suite which I kind of doubt will drop in price (I did read some other threads on here) but who knows! 

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

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If your agent is charging a fee for making airline reservations, I would check into what other fees the TA may charge for handling your cruise reservation.  Will there be a fees for any changes made to the reservation,  a cancellation fee or a handling fee?

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The benefit of using a travel agent as opposed t HAL cruise line is that the travel agent can offer you incentives to book with them. More onboard credits primarily.

Having said that, if you agent said they "won't charge me a fee for making airline tickets.", then drop that agent. They get paid by the airline, not by you. You should be getting a better deal than that of the airline or, if it is that same price for airfare the agent still gets paid by the airline and should not be charging you a fee.

I have never been charged a fee by a travel agent.

Edited by pete_coach

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29 minutes ago, Ellen495 said:

My travel agent, who I use for complicated air, asked me to transfer the cruise to him. In return he won't charge me a fee for making airline tickets. If it were a direct shot, I'd make the reservation on my own (who can't book Phl to Chicago?) but we're not sure of the best airline in this situation and it seemed easier.

 

But the Personal Cruise Consultant who has helped me: A - Does she lose a commission? B - She told me that if prices change or drop I lose out. She wasn't pushy - very nice actually - but I'm not sure what to do. He would be more hands-on helping with excursions (she doesn't do that), though you guys do. 

 

I'm just not sure what is the right thing for everyone. A - because of fairness to her B - because of price drops and fairness to me C - because of convenience to me with him. 

 

This is a summer (July 2020) cruise to Alaska with a Neptune suite which I kind of doubt will drop in price (I did read some other threads on here) but who knows! 

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

I always use a TA and I have used the same one for over 10 years. My TA keeps track of price drops and notifies me immediately. Our Alaska cruise last July was booked in September 2018. We booked a Signature Suite and the price dropped 4 times before final payment date in May. We saved $1000pp on the 4 price reductions. I noticed that Neptune Suits also dropped and the final price was just about what our SS was when we originally booked. 

 

 

Edited by terrydtx

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Most TA don't charge to make airline tickets? REALLY?? This one always charged 50 per ticket per person. Hotels etc - never a fee though I'm sure they're getting a commission - but I usually make my own hotel reservations.

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1 minute ago, terrydtx said:

I always use a TA and I have used the same one for over 10 years. My TA keeps track of price drops and notifies me immediately. Our Alaska cruise last July was booked in September 2018. We booked a Signature Suite and the price dropped 4 times before final payment date in May. We saved $1000pp on the 4 price reductions. I noticed that Neptune Suits also dropped and the final price was just about what our SS was when we originally booked. 

Do you mean you always use a TA from HAL or another TA? Can the other TA change the reservation or is it fixed?

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1 minute ago, Ellen495 said:

Do you mean you always use a TA from HAL or another TA? Can the other TA change the reservation or is it fixed?

I use a private TA, not HAL. My TA can make any changes to the reservation.

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We also used HAL Flight Ease for our Alaska air, DFW to Vancouver and Fairbanks back to DFW. Our TA booked this for us through HAL and we saved over $400 pp on what I could find ourselves. The advantage of HAL FE is that you do not have to pay for the air tickets until the final payment. You can also change the tickets anytime up to final payment.

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4 minutes ago, Ellen495 said:

Do you mean you always use a TA from HAL or another TA? Can the other TA change the reservation or is it fixed?

Why would the TA change the reservation unless you've authorized the change?

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30 minutes ago, Ellen495 said:

My travel agent, who I use for complicated air, asked me to transfer the cruise to him. In return he won't charge me a fee for making airline tickets. If it were a direct shot, I'd make the reservation on my own (who can't book Phl to Chicago?) but we're not sure of the best airline in this situation and it seemed easier.

 

But the Personal Cruise Consultant who has helped me: A - Does she lose a commission? B - She told me that if prices change or drop I lose out. She wasn't pushy - very nice actually - but I'm not sure what to do. He would be more hands-on helping with excursions (she doesn't do that), though you guys do. 

 

I'm just not sure what is the right thing for everyone. A - because of fairness to her B - because of price drops and fairness to me C - because of convenience to me with him. 

 

This is a summer (July 2020) cruise to Alaska with a Neptune suite which I kind of doubt will drop in price (I did read some other threads on here) but who knows! 

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

Hi,

Maybe get a quote from HAL on the airflight.  I wouldn’t go with TA that charge extra they should either be the same as HAL or if with TA extra benefits, you shouldn’t be paying for extra anything.

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2 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

We also used HAL Flight Ease for our Alaska air, DFW to Vancouver and Fairbanks back to DFW. Our TA booked this for us through HAL and we saved over $400 pp on what I could find ourselves. The advantage of HAL FE is that you do not have to pay for the air tickets until the final payment. You can also change the tickets anytime up to final payment.

You could have found the same flights at the same price if you booked the flights through flight ease.  It's really simple to do so.  I booked my flights to vancouver using flight ease and saved $1000 over booking direct.  Same flights, same price as your TA.  I even changed the reservations twice to capture better flights or cheaper prices.

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5 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

You could have found the same flights at the same price if you booked the flights through flight ease.  It's really simple to do so.  I booked my flights to vancouver using flight ease and saved $1000 over booking direct.  Same flights, same price as your TA.  I even changed the reservations twice to capture better flights or cheaper prices.

We did use HAL Flight Ease, but our TA handled the booking for us with HAL. We could have done it ourselves but once we booked the flights, they never got any cheaper only more expensive. We did have to change our seats a couple of times when American changed the type of aircraft on our flight to Vancouver, we did that directly with American. That had to do with the grounding of the 737 Max aircraft. We also upgraded our flight from Seattle to DFW to economy plus directly with Alaska Airlines after the final payment was made by HAL to the airline. We paid for our cruise with our American Airlines Advantage CC so we got free checked bags and priority boarding and check in with American going to Vancouver.

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If your TA is charging for making airline reservations - change TA's.  We've literally walked into a travel agency and asked them to make a last minute reservation and weren't charged a dime.  They'd never seen us before, and didn't know if we'd ever be back.

 

If you want to stay with your PCC, great, but the advantage of transferring your reservation to a TA is that they will give you incentives such as onboard credit, or wine, or complimentary dinners in the specialty restaurants, etc.  They make commission on reservations and these gifts come out of those commissions.  In your situation, I'd stay with the PCC, or find a new TA.  Call around to some agencies in your area to see what they may have to offer if you brought your reservation to them.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

 

Smooth Sailing!  🙂🙂🙂

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How long has it been since you booked the cruise?  I have read here that you now have only a 60 day window to transfer to a  TA.

 

Do you have a nonrefundable deposit or fare?  Why did she say you would lose out if you transfer to a TA and fares change?

 

Saving $50 per airline ticket would not be enough of an incentive to transfer to a TA.  Most TA’s would offer a much better incentive.

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1 hour ago, Ellen495 said:

Most TA don't charge to make airline tickets? REALLY?? This one always charged 50 per ticket per person. Hotels etc - never a fee though I'm sure they're getting a commission - but I usually make my own hotel reservations.

Sorry to hear that. Your agent gets paid by the airline and you then too. Not an agent I would use.

Edited by pete_coach

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I just wanted to add something from the perspective of a TA. Airlines don't pay commissions on flights. They cut out commissions in the 70s, so many agents will add a service charge. My policy is if you book the cruise or trip with me I will help you with you air free of charge if you prefer that. If you come to me and ask me just to book air I will most likely add a fee. Booking air is one of the most difficult and time consuming things that we do. There are many TA's that wont even touch air.

 

The business has been diluted with people shopping for the lowest price many are also charging a planning fee prior to even quoting out a trip.

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52 minutes ago, ozzie0075 said:

I just wanted to add something from the perspective of a TA. Airlines don't pay commissions on flights. They cut out commissions in the 70s, so many agents will add a service charge. My policy is if you book the cruise or trip with me I will help you with you air free of charge if you prefer that. If you come to me and ask me just to book air I will most likely add a fee. Booking air is one of the most difficult and time consuming things that we do. There are many TA's that wont even touch air.

 

The business has been diluted with people shopping for the lowest price many are also charging a planning fee prior to even quoting out a trip.

Yes - I know this TA will book the air and all other things for the 50 per person. So I guess if all I need is air, the 50 pp seems fair for just this reason. I don't think TA's get commission from airlines - but surely they do from other things such as hotels.

 

My PCA (personal cruise assistant?? is that the correct acronym? I never cruised before) said it was fine to give the TA the booking, but that I would lose any drops in prices or added incentives she would find. So does this mean that the TA is NOT allowed to grab lower fares/extra incentives etc? Yes - the cruise is 100% refundable until April 6th and it came with 800 on board credit and free gratuities. I wouldn't want to lose those.

 

Thank you ALL for the feedback because it's very helpful!

Ellen

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11 minutes ago, Ellen495 said:

My PCA (personal cruise assistant?? is that the correct acronym? I never cruised before) said it was fine to give the TA the booking, but that I would lose any drops in prices or added incentives she would find. So does this mean that the TA is NOT allowed to grab lower fares/extra incentives etc? Yes - the cruise is 100% refundable until April 6th and it came with 800 on board credit and free gratuities. I wouldn't want to lose those.

I don't know what your PCC (personal cruise consultant) is thinking. So long as you have a refundable fare, an outside TA can do everything for you that the PCC can. Frequently more. 
My TA takes care of my flights, arranges a car to the airport when I am not using my local airport, makes the arrangements for a mobility device on the ship and completes the HAL form for it. She requests my preferred dining table. I would expect a PCC to have me doing those chores myself. 

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19 minutes ago, RuthC said:

I don't know what your PCC (personal cruise consultant) is thinking. So long as you have a refundable fare, an outside TA can do everything for you that the PCC can. Frequently more. 
My TA takes care of my flights, arranges a car to the airport when I am not using my local airport, makes the arrangements for a mobility device on the ship and completes the HAL form for it. She requests my preferred dining table. I would expect a PCC to have me doing those chores myself. 

AHHHHHHHH so the outside TA has access to lower fares? I know the PCC (thanks) told me that if something goes down, she can rebook it BUT I would lose present specials. So for example - she told me that if  the fare goes down, she could rebook but if the new fare didn't include the 800 on board credit, I would lose that. That does make sense.... But that would be the same for a TA I assume so he would decide what makes sense? I mean - if it goes down by 2000 dollars (unlikely) who cares about losing 800.

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1 hour ago, Ellen495 said:

 

My PCA (personal cruise assistant?? is that the correct acronym? I never cruised before) said it was fine to give the TA the booking, but that I would lose any drops in prices or added incentives she would find. So does this mean that the TA is NOT allowed to grab lower fares/extra incentives etc? Yes - the cruise is 100% refundable until April 6th and it came with 800 on board credit and free gratuities. I wouldn't want to lose those.

 

I added bolding and underline to emphasize the key phrase "she would find".  Yes, the TA is allowed to "grab lower fares/extra incentives etc."  

 

That said, most TA's aren't going to search for price drops for you.  If they rebook a lower price their commission is also reduced since it is a percentage of the fare.  That said, if I spot a price drop, I send my TA an email, and she responds within the hour normally.  She may rebook and send me a new invoice or she may point out that I will lose some perks.  But, there is no issue with rebooking for price drops with her.  However, some TA will charge a rebooking fee to make up for the lower commissions.  My TA does not do that.  She only charges the same fees as the cruise line, ie, she only passes, does not add to, cruise line fees.

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4 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

I added bolding and underline to emphasize the key phrase "she would find".  Yes, the TA is allowed to "grab lower fares/extra incentives etc."  

 

That said, most TA's aren't going to search for price drops for you.  If they rebook a lower price their commission is also reduced since it is a percentage of the fare.  That said, if I spot a price drop, I send my TA an email, and she responds within the hour normally.  She may rebook and send me a new invoice or she may point out that I will lose some perks.  But, there is no issue with rebooking for price drops with her.  However, some TA will charge a rebooking fee to make up for the lower commissions.  My TA does not do that.  She only charges the same fees as the cruise line, ie, she only passes, does not add to, cruise line fees.

Very helpful thank you. I will check and make sure he (my TA is a he and my PCC is a she) will or won't charge. I get that I would have to check myself for drops in prices. You are all so wonderful!

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Just now, Ellen495 said:

Very helpful thank you. I will check and make sure he (my TA is a he and my PCC is a she) will or won't charge. I get that I would have to check myself for drops in prices. You are all so wonderful!

FWIW, I used a PCC twice and always had to tell them about the price drops.  Really, no different than my TA except my  TA will discount the cruises by 8-10%.  BTW, one advantage of a TA is this:  a TA can book with any cruise line.  You're always dealing with the same person regardless of which line you're booking.  (I use a TA that's a small business owner, not a big box or internet giant.)

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Oh I wonder if the TA can discount the cruise??? Should I ask him or since it's booked, leave it be?

Yes, he is a smaller company - there are about 20 TA's that work there. I used a woman from there for about 20 years until she recently retired. But I never cruised before so this is all new for me.

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3 minutes ago, Ellen495 said:

Oh I wonder if the TA can discount the cruise??? Should I ask him or since it's booked, leave it be?

Yes, he is a smaller company - there are about 20 TA's that work there. I used a woman from there for about 20 years until she recently retired. But I never cruised before so this is all new for me.

 

Not all TA’s discount.  Especially brick and mortar TA’s in my experience.  

If this is your first cruise you’re probably going to need a bit of hand holding and/or guidance, I’m guessing?  Assuming I am correct, I think the real question is which person is going to be able to help you the most/best?

 

 

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