Peter Greenberg takes a cheap shot at travel agents, accusing them of selling away from Eastern Airlines to earn higher commissions because of higher fares on other airlines. Given the operational and financial problems Eastern has experienced since filing for bankruptcy, isn't it more likely that the concern of the agents is for their clients' peace of mind and the financial soundness of their travel dollar?
Peter S. Greenberg responds: I called 30 travel agents at random across the United States and asked for low fares on Atlanta-Miami, Atlanta-New York City, New York City-Miami routes. I gave specific travel dates that would have qualified me for the lowest prices. Not one agent offered to sell me the Eastern fare. Only one agent mentioned Eastern, but refused to sell me that fare because of what she said were "liability" concerns, even when I offered to pay by credit card--which would have protected the agent.
I do not as a practice indulge in travel agent bashing. I believe it is in the best interests of reader travelers to use responsible travel agents, as well as to protect themselves from price gouging by airlines, travel scams and financial liability when acting in good faith.