Use a travel agent or not???
The question about whether to use a travel agent seems to come up somewhat often on here. We have used a travel agent for 15 years for our trips and we just had an experience this week that reminded me why that's such a great idea.
We have always flown out of Omaha, NE as it's the closest airport and flights at the next closest airports aren't enough cheaper to justify the drive. We have always flown Northwest which has now been fully taken over by Delta so this year was going to have some changes anyway. As it happened, when we booked our trip for October about three months ago we were able to save a significant amount of money by flying out of Kansas City on AirTran rather than Delta out of Omaha. It's a three hour drive to KC versus less than an hour to Omaha. I had never even heard of AirTran but the savings was BIG and we are always up for an adventure. We normally stay overnight in Omaha the night before anyway so it didn't really impact our routine too much. We booked it and started counting, mind you that was nearly three months ago.
Friday afternoon while at work my travel agent notified me that AirTran changed their flight schedules and we had 3 minutes to make our connection in Atlanta...yes, I said three! Now, had I booked this trip myself I might have begun to sweat and my heart rate would have taken a jump and I may have even gotten a bit dizzy. BUT, I had a great travel agent on the other end of the phone already offering me several options for fixing the situation and in less than 30 minutes she had cancelled the AirTran tickets and purchased me new ones on Delta out of Omaha for just a few dollars more...which with the savings on a few other things is quite likely turning out to be an overall decrease in the cost of the trip. All I did was make one phone call to my husband to confirm which of the options he would prefer then one phone call back to the travel agent to give her our preference and I went back to work knowing that she was handling the situation.
Our trip countdown is still moving in the right direction...I don't think it even paused. I didn't have any panic, I did get a good laugh at that crazy situation in Atlanta though, because I knew someone with a lot of knowledge and experience was working on fixing the situation for me.
So if you ever want to know whether it's worth using a travel agent just ask yourself what you will do if there is a glitch and you have to handle a surprise situation. I will always use a travel agent and will always be glad of it even when everything goes smooth because I know that if something had come up she would have handled it with ease.