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59 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 503579 8-Aug-2011 21:49
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floydbloke: Somehwat off-topic but related. Despite the numerous on-line options available for booking travel and the financial situation of the last few years there must still be money to be made in running a travel-agent shop. I can think of at least 9 within a 1 km radius of the middle of Lambton Quay.


it comes down to knowing what product is right for the customer really. My girlfriend is a travel agent. She puts in a lot of work to make sure the customer is happy.

For people that don't have time to scour the internet to plan a lengthy trip. I'm sure they are a big help. And booking through them generally gives you a point of contact if something isn't right. The agents can work out transit times through multiple destinations. And very easily query suppliers for more info. 

Example: People have only booked the flights of their trip through her. but sorted accommodation themselves. They got to their destination only to find what they booked didn't look anywhere near like what it was made out to be, but they were stuck to find an alternative on their own. Which can be pretty daunting in a non-english speaking country. It could have been avoided.

The unfortunate side of things is when the agent spends hours of time working on a quote, gives it to the customer, who then books it all themselves online. It's not a free service the agent is providing. 
 

71 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 503581 8-Aug-2011 21:54
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2% is alright, they charge 3.5% for amex

if you find out how much banks charger merchant to use credit facility, you will be happy to pay 2%

plus you get travel insurance and reward point

i think its fair deal

 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 503673 9-Aug-2011 08:55
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What really bugs me at the moment is the difference between booking a flight in NZ and booking the same flights on the same day (albeit in reverse) in the UK.  It would cost me around 70% of the NZ price - with the exchange rate that would be even more at the moment.

Having worked for BA back in the day, I know that there are as many TAs who don't do the leg work and pick the easy to find rack rate prices that most of us can beat by buying direct.  T'internet makes it even easier.  When you find a really good TA, they will know the tricks - what dates are more expensive than others, which airline flies a leg at a fraction of the price and which hubs are cheaper and offer more choice.

Yes their services are not without cost, but unfortunately, you will need to contact 2 or 3 of them to get a handle on who is lazy and who is not.  I guess it's like any quotes for any service - shop around and get them to price beat where possible.

It annoys me when places like the flight centre come out with phrases like "London on sale" and when you contact them the price is exactly the same as it was last week and more expensive than online.

</2c>

Sorry rant Off Topic




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 503677 9-Aug-2011 08:59
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StarBlazer: What really bugs me at the moment is the difference between booking a flight in NZ and booking the same flights on the same day (albeit in reverse) in the UK.  It would cost me around 70% of the NZ price - with the exchange rate that would be even more at the moment.

But those aren't the same flights - they are entirely different. It's entirely logical that there will be different demand and different pricing for LHR-AKL vs. AKL-LHR. Add in different market demographics and "home country/airline" advantage and you can usually find that behavior on any route.

I agree with finding a good travel agent though, especially for a frequent traveller or anyone with complex itineraries.

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  Reply # 503685 9-Aug-2011 09:10
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PenultimateHop:
StarBlazer: What really bugs me at the moment is the difference between booking a flight in NZ and booking the same flights on the same day (albeit in reverse) in the UK.  It would cost me around 70% of the NZ price - with the exchange rate that would be even more at the moment.

But those aren't the same flights - they are entirely different. It's entirely logical that there will be different demand and different pricing for LHR-AKL vs. AKL-LHR. Add in different market demographics and "home country/airline" advantage and you can usually find that behavior on any route.


Yes you are right, but the point I was making was that we are being charged more for what is still effectively the same flight - same plane, same crew, same airports, same fuel costs - same operating cost.  They just decide to charge us more (or to argue a point, them less).  It's not a seasonal thing either - it's been that way for the last 3 years that we have been thinking about a trip back to England. 

There is a significant difference between 12K booking in NZ and 7.5K booking in the UK - that's $4.5K for market influence - ouch!  Oh and then add 2% for using your credit card!




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185 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 503693 9-Aug-2011 09:23
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I didn't realise it is much cheaper the reverse route, doesn't seem fair on us kiwis who earn less on average than those in the uk.

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  Reply # 503697 9-Aug-2011 09:35
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StarBlazer: Yes you are right, but the point I was making was that we are being charged more for what is still effectively the same flight - same plane, same crew, same airports, same fuel costs - same operating cost.  They just decide to charge us more (or to argue a point, them less).  It's not a seasonal thing either - it's been that way for the last 3 years that we have been thinking about a trip back to England. 

No. It's not the same flight. The same people who fly AKL-LHR can't possibly be on the same plane LHR-AKL same day.

The demand dynamics and cost structure are entirely different in each direction.

StarBlazer: There is a significant difference between 12K booking in NZ and 7.5K booking in the UK - that's $4.5K for market influence - ouch!  Oh and then add 2% for using your credit card!

I've never seen that much of a difference, but I used to occasionally book one-way flights into UK then buy returns ex-UK which would usually save a maximum of $400.  Occasionally it would be more pronounced in Business or First, but that's competition driven.

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  Reply # 503698 9-Aug-2011 09:38
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Just get yourself a credit card with travel insurance and buy the tickets with that. The 2% will make for very cheap travel insurance.

A good travel agent is worth their weight in gold on the more complicated bookings. If you're overseas and something goes wrong all it takes is a phone call and you know your flights are getting sorted out and you can focus on visiting your kid in hospital or rushing to the airport for an emergency flight back to NZ.

My wife one called ours at 7pm on a Friday, he dropped off tickets at midnight and she flew out the next morning. Once I had sorted some stuff out I rang him at 9am and had tickets later that day.

Try doing that direct with an airline, it'll drive you mad.

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  Reply # 503709 9-Aug-2011 09:57
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beforenightfalls: I didn't realise it is much cheaper the reverse route, doesn't seem fair on us kiwis who earn less on average than those in the uk.


It's just the way it is.  Airlines have always charged different fares based on which way you are travelling AND where you buy the ticket.

Another plus for a good travel agent is they know what the range of fares is so they know what is cheap and what is not.  If you just go to the airline sites direct some are good at showing you the range of fares over a month but most are not.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 503711 9-Aug-2011 10:01
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PenultimateHop: No. It's not the same flight. The same people who fly AKL-LHR can't possibly be on the same plane LHR-AKL same day.


Now you're just trolling :)  But I'll go along anyway. 

Whether it's the same people or not it's still a crew that will be paid roughly the same.  The point is a flight LHR-AKL should cost similar irrespective of where you purchase your ticket and board the first flight. A 30% difference on both legs of the flight is gouging.  They are a business and have every right to do what they like, I'm just saying it's annoying and I will be voting with my wallet.

PenultimateHop:
StarBlazer: There is a significant difference between 12K booking in NZ and 7.5K booking in the UK - that's $4.5K for market influence - ouch!  Oh and then add 2% for using your credit card!

I've never seen that much of a difference, but I used to occasionally book one-way flights into UK then buy returns ex-UK which would usually save a maximum of $400.  Occasionally it would be more pronounced in Business or First, but that's competition driven.
 

Nope that was economy.  If I look at flights WLG-LHR-WLG on .co.nz it costs $3356 - if I look at flights LHR-WLG-LHR on .co.uk it costs 1226GBP or $2411 in NZD.  This is picking Out 7 APR 2012 and back 28 APR2012.  If I change the outbound and return dates so that the LHR-WLG and the WLG-LHR legs are on the same day using the same flights - the prices is still the same.

I don't care how you dress it up - that is taking advantage of your home market!




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 503714 9-Aug-2011 10:06
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StarBlazer: Now you're just trolling :)  But I'll go along anyway. 

Not really trolling. There's entirely different demand curves for the two flights, with different published fares and fare classes, and different competition dynamics. There's also the different branding and advertising factors: most people in New Zealand know Air New Zealand, most people in the UK do not. Therefore Air NZ is less likely to get business in the UK - and one way to increase business is by being cheaper than the competition.

StarBlazer: Nope that was economy.  If I look at flights WLG-LHR-WLG on .co.nz it costs $3356 - if I look at flights LHR-WLG-LHR on .co.uk it costs 1226GBP or $2411 in NZD.  This is picking Out 7 APR 2012 and back 28 APR2012.  If I change the outbound and return dates so that the LHR-WLG and the WLG-LHR legs are on the same day using the same flights - the prices is still the same.

I don't care how you dress it up - that is taking advantage of your home market!

Yes, it is. And it's normal, and not at all unique to New Zealand. BA charge significantly more ex-UK than they do than ex-EU, where people are transiting onto the same flights from EU connectors.

Singapore Airlines was consistently $1000 more on Singapore - London or Singapore - Sydney than Qantas whenever I looked. I'm sure they would be cheaper on Sydney - Singapore though!

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  Reply # 503718 9-Aug-2011 10:10
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PenultimateHop: Yes, it is. And it's normal, and not at all unique to New Zealand. BA charge significantly more ex-UK than they do than ex-EU, where people are transiting onto the same flights from EU connectors.

Singapore Airlines was consistently $1000 more on Singapore - London or Singapore - Sydney than Qantas whenever I looked. I'm sure they would be cheaper on Sydney - Singapore though!


Then I guess we are aggressively agreeing .




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 503746 9-Aug-2011 10:59
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graemeh: Just get yourself a credit card with travel insurance and buy the tickets with that. The 2% will make for very cheap travel insurance.

A good travel agent is worth their weight in gold on the more complicated bookings. If you're overseas and something goes wrong all it takes is a phone call and you know your flights are getting sorted out... 

...Try doing that direct with an airline, it'll drive you mad.



Agree 100%. I have never had an emergency need but it all becomes easy if a client wants to extend ones stay, or any other need for an itinary change. One phone call and it is all sorted. They may be able to meander themselves more knowledgeably through the penalties for ticketing changes if those apply to the fare class too.

Same applies for hotel bookings, especially one night stop overs between sectors en-route. It is a very nice feeling turning up in a strange place off a plane at 1am in the morning knowing you have a phone number to call if the hotel has stuffed up the reservation (the hotel may have a local number for them to call too if the booking was clearedthrough a local service by the travel agent).     

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 503755 9-Aug-2011 11:15
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@StarBlazer - unless one is of the political persuasion that believes that governments should regulate all prices so that they are not set by the market then you are stuck with different prices in different markets. And that includes for airfares for the same route and Adidas All Black jerseys.

But it is not always a lose situation from the NZ side as I recall a number of times working with people commuting from Europe on assignments where it has been the other way around. It may have been in those cases that it is different according to fare class as, for example, business class travellers are a different market to touristy ones.

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  Reply # 503759 9-Aug-2011 11:29
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John2010: @StarBlazer - unless one is of the political persuasion that believes that governments should regulate all prices so that they are not set by the market then you are stuck with different prices in different markets. And that includes for airfares for the same route and Adidas All Black jerseys.

But it is not always a lose situation from the NZ side as I recall a number of times working with people commuting from Europe on assignments where it has been the other way around. It may have been in those cases that it is different according to fare class as, for example, business class travellers are a different market to touristy ones.


political persuasion - Don't trust any of them - so technically none!  I know there's little that can be done, Adidas is a great current example.  When it comes to the crunch, I will probably screen shot the two fares and send the email to Air NZ customer services and see what they say - no, I won't hold my breath, but if you don't ask, the answer is no.

I know this is not unusual, we had the same issue in the UK with cars and electronic devices being a lot cheaper in Europe and DVDs being a fraction of the cost in the USA - you vote with your wallet.  It looks like Malaysia Air will be getting my money this time around.




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