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Travel Agent Issues

December 01, 1996

Re: "Not All Card-Carrying Travel Agents Get the Discounts" (Travel Insider, Nov. 10): Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your article on travel agent credentials was a very welcome sight. These companies are best described as travel clubs rather than agencies.

I am an advocate of some kind of registration or licensing of agents, which will eliminate these types of organizations while increasing our credibility within the community.

GARY S. KOCH

Managing Director

Travel Partners

Costa Mesa

I am an Independent Outside Travel Agent (IOTA) with World Class Network. I received an IATAN/ARC ID card when I joined for $495. It is true that an agent cannot always use this card to receive "perks," but I was able to do so on a trip last July.

I told a United Airlines supervisor that if there were any first-class seats left, I would appreciate it if she would let me have one. When we were boarding, she gave me a first-class seat because there were 11 unsold seats. When I got to the hotel, I presented my card to the supervisor, and he gave me a suite. When I traveled from Oxnard to LAX, I was given an upgrade on my rental car.

On the return trip, there were no first-class seats available; therefore I didn't get one. I asked the Avis [car-rental] agent for an upgrade, and she declined.

The point I am making is that these "perks" are not rights for travel agents; they are favors that carriers and hotels offer to travel agents to help advertise their services.

JOHN S. DANIELS

Port Hueneme

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