Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is a travel agent for, anyway?

So, we're going to Indonesia in January.  We've been looking at airfares and options for several months, the time is approaching. We'll soon know when we want to go and who's going.  It's mindboggling doing searches on Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz - all the favorite travel websites.  So I thought - this would be where a travel agent would come in handy, someone who can pull up the best options the quickest.  We can check for flights to and from multiple possible locations.  We want to consider travel time, number of stops and layovers, cost - all that good stuff that I've already spent hours looking at and feel like I'm just going around in circles.

So I decided to enlist the help of a travel agent.  I thought I'd walk in and spend we'd some time together checking things out. What did I expect?  I expected some enthusiasm!  This is a Big Deal!  This will be an Exotic Trip!  I expected some ideas!  I expected Agent to say "sit down!  Let's see what we can do!"  What did I get?  Agent said she'd email me.

Which she did. Okay, it was a start.  She gave me costs to fly from 3 different local airports to Jakarta. Told me where they fly through (Shanghai, Abu Dhabi).  And that's it!  So I asked her to check flying to Kuala Lumpur (I thought I'd said that in the office).  This time she emailed me only the costs.  I asked her about shots and vaccinations we might need, she referred me to the CDC web page.  She clearly does not want to share in this trip planning experience with me!

I was getting a bit irritated (I think the feeling was mutual).  I emailed her asking if she's only quoting me the "cheapest" flight and if she's taking into consideration travel times... I don't want any 24 hour layovers just to save $100.  I also asked her for a quote for my son to leave from Madison and meet up with us at whatever airport we leave the country from.

Her reponse was to "Ms Ditz" (I'm no longer Kim), here it is:
"We compare all airlines that fly to that destination to offer you the least expensive option.  Since your dates are up in the air I did not mention flight times, as they can change along with the prices from day to day.  I'm assuming you would like to travel from Fargo, as that was the least expensive price that I found on your orignial quote back in August.
Since you have been looking online, can you give me some specific dates for travel and I will tell you the flight times that I'm looking at."

Well gee, I could make multiple comments on this... like, obviously flight times change, so do prices, but she quoted me prices.  Did she expect me to go in and book from her first initial quote, without looking into various options?  I don't know.  Planning a trip is half the fun and Agent is not making it fun.  She doesn't want my business, obviously.  She must make more money booking cruises.  I'll have a talk with her boss when I have time...and it's back to Expedia and Kayak and Orbitz for me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The First Post

I was spending way too much time coming up with a name for my blog, hence the name.  I thought the url for the blog would be simple: first initial last name, there are no other K Ditzes... and someone has it!!  So, since it is my name and since I'm becoming more so the older I get... kditzy will have to do.

Why a blog?  The main reason for starting this is so I can post pictures when we travel to Asia in January.  But in looking over other people's blogs, I see quilters and knitters and gardeners (all of which I am) and maybe I'll post things about quilting and knitting and gardening... and reading and painting and other things.  Another good reason not to name the thing.

So this is my first experience with blogging.  And if I don't tell anyone it exists, no one will know.  But now it's late so things like my profile and deciding about the background and stuff... that will have to wait.