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Travel Agent's Perspective

June 15, 1986

Some of your recent articles have inspired me to convey a few thoughts from the retail travel agent's perspective.

In Peter Greenberg's April 27 piece on hidden city ticketing, he admits that the practice, which saves "substantial" sums for clients of "savvy" travel agents, was introduced to him by just such an agent. He then comments that some don't embrace the idea because it reduces their commissions. This may be true in some cases, but did Greenberg consider the possibility that some agents prefer not to blatantly violate the rules created by the airlines to whom they must answer? I won't defend those ridiculous airline tariff regulations, but I will defend an agent's right to practice high ethics.

In Jay Berman's April 13 article on the Tijuana airport, he delivers another slap in the face to my profession by claiming some agents to be reluctant to book flights originating in Tijuana "because it cuts their commissions." He follows with the idea of buying directly from the airlines, going so far as to include phone numbers for Mexicana and Aeromexico.

Although both articles were informative and reasonably well written, I resent the implication that travel agents will recommend only that which is most profitable. The planting of this idea in the traveling public's mind is nothing short of irresponsible journalism.

On a brighter note, three cheers for Toni Taylor's March 9 column on travel agencies and booking fees. She helps dispel some of the myths about the ineptitude and dispensability of the travel agent, emphasizing his important role in the distribution of travel products. Although we have every right to charge for our services, we do not. I don't see widespread fee-basing in our future.

I would like to see an article explaining just how much knowledge, skill and effort are necessary for a good agent to serve his clients. The role models are certainly available.

SEAN McCOY

travel consultant

Woodland Hills

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