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Travel Agents, Consolidators, etc. for Travel fromUSA to Australia and/or New Zealand
Old 05-13-2013, 12:42 PM   #1
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Travel Agents, Consolidators, etc. for Travel fromUSA to Australia and/or New Zealand

I have done almost all of my own travel planning, both internationally and domestically, for several years. But, I continue to hear vague reports that travel agents, ticket wholesalers/consolidators, etc. can obtain better prices (or better cabins or terms for little extra money) for expensive international travel such as USA to Oceania, SE Asia, Brazil/Argentina, etc.

My question for this group: Has anyone had recent positive experience with a specific service provider and be willing to share that provider information with me?

I have randomly contacted a few agents over the past few years but have not found any who could live up to their promises regarding significant savings over my own booking directly with airline web sites. I am perfectly comfortable with and capable of researching and booking my own flights with non-USA based airlines such as Air New Zealand (very good value in my opinion) and Aer Lingus (cheap in all senses of the word but very good for the budget) myself. So, maybe I am not the target audience for these folks.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:51 PM   #2
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Consolidators can save you money on first class or business class travel, otherwise go with airline website. Most travel agents don't want to bother with airline tickets unless it is part of a travel package. Airlines don't pay commissions for the most part, so most travel agents will include a service fee, whether you realize it or not.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:07 PM   #3
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Consolidators can save you money on first class or business class travel, otherwise go with airline website....
I have heard others say this as well; but, this has not played out in my attempts. I have either been able to match the prices within about 5%; or, the business class tickets offered were on an airline with no real international business or first class; more along the lines of premium economy at best.

I am willing to pay a certain premium for business class travel when the flight legs are going to be over six hours; but, I am generally not willing to pay the business class prices on the airline web sites unless they are running special/sales. (Yes, this really does happen, usually on new routes or off-season. I have occasionally purchased business class for around 130% of economy.)

I was hoping to hear of specific positive experiences with specific consolidators so I could add another tool/technique to my travel planning routine.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:36 PM   #4
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Some consolidators are excellent for a specific market. Have you tried Regal Wings or Skylink?
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:45 PM   #5
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Some consolidators are excellent for a specific market. Have you tried Regal Wings or Skylink?
I had not tried either of these but contacted them immediately after reading this post to get prices for an upcoming trip.
  • Skylink never responded; but, in complete fairness to them, their web site indicates in several places For Travel Agents Only. (I am not a travel agent.)
  • Regal Wings responded with a business class fare that was $2k higher than one I had already found on the same airline for the same travel dates.
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:04 PM   #6
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I had not tried either of these but contacted them immediately after reading this post to get prices for an upcoming trip.
  • Skylink never responded; but, in complete fairness to them, their web site indicates in several places For Travel Agents Only. (I am not a travel agent.)
  • Regal Wings responded with a business class fare that was $2k higher than one I had already found on the same airline for the same travel dates.
Sorry they didn't work out for you. DW is a travel agent and that is where the names came from.
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:08 AM   #7
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Sorry they didn't work out for you. DW is a travel agent and that is where the names came from.
No worries. I really do appreciate the feedback.

It seems to me that pricing is much more transparent in the airline industry than it was 20-30 years ago. Now, it seems like I have the tools at my fingertips to find the lowest price by spending a bit of time (20 minutes to 2 hours) online (search engines and various airline web sites) myself in most cases.

I was hopeful but not terribly optimistic about someone here having a better approach that could either lower my costs or raise my comfort level for international travel.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by CoolChange View Post
I have done almost all of my own travel planning, both internationally and domestically, for several years. But, I continue to hear vague reports that travel agents, ticket wholesalers/consolidators, etc. can obtain better prices (or better cabins or terms for little extra money) for expensive international travel such as USA to Oceania, SE Asia, Brazil/Argentina, etc.
Just a guess....but if you have experience in shopping around, and know approximately when some major airlines have big sales (e.g. New Zealand's sales in the Southern Hemisphere's springtime, etc.) and have flexibility in timing your travel to get the absolute best fare, you can probably do better than the average Jane/Joe who don't bother shopping around and like letting others do the investigative work for them, and who don't always have the luxury of leaving on a Tuesday for a cheaper fare instead of having to leave on Sunday because they only have 10 days to travel, and leaving a few days later cuts out 1/3 of their vacation.

Also, while it might be different on international routes, I've heard that domestic carriers have not rushed out to maintain excess capacity, and over the past few years have been cutting routes to run as full of a plane as possible. That might result in less packages of flights they sell to a consolidator to sell 30%-50% of a plane to guarantee that many flights, and are able to fill up most of the plane on their own.
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:30 PM   #9
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One other approach is to try tour operators like apple vacations. They sell excess seating on their charters.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:33 AM   #10
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One other approach is to try tour operators like apple vacations. They sell excess seating on their charters.
I have actually done this several times in the past for some really great deals on transportation; but, I haven't seen any of these deals in the last few years.
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:36 PM   #11
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No worries. I really do appreciate the feedback.

It seems to me that pricing is much more transparent in the airline industry than it was 20-30 years ago. Now, it seems like I have the tools at my fingertips to find the lowest price by spending a bit of time (20 minutes to 2 hours) online (search engines and various airline web sites) myself in most cases.

I was hopeful but not terribly optimistic about someone here having a better approach that could either lower my costs or raise my comfort level for international travel.

You are correct, everything one needs is online, and some of the best airfares are on the airlines own websites.

I have always done all of my own travel planning, international and domestic. I am not a travel agent and I don't travel business or first class. As I see it, the options to purchase tickets are: 1) the airline, either using their website or telephone, 2) storefront travel agents, 3) ticket consolidators (most located in NYC, some have websites, but most do not), 4) airfare websites such as kayak, priceline, travelocity, etc.

In the past twenty five years, I have purchased my tickets either through a ticket consolidator, an airfare website, or directly from the airline; I have never used storefront travel agents here in the US, only overseas. I found no difference in the airline fares by buying through any of these three different distribution channels. I have had one bad experience with consolidators where I was charged for a ticket I never purchased. As for the good, I can recommend www.kayak.com, particularly for domestic, while www.cheapair.com seems to have some of the best international fares of any airfare website. The best consolidator that I have found by far is TFI Tours in NYC or at www.tfitours.com. One time I bought a ticket from the owner over the phone at 11:30pm on a Saturday night. Now, that is service!!

I assume you know that if you have any glitches in travel plans, you need to straighten them out with the consolidator or airfare website, not the airline. Many times these consolidators and websites are good at setting up your itinerary, but not at straightening out glitches.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:35 AM   #12
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I missed this OP and responses. I was in Australia and New Zealand for 3 weeks.

We flew Qantas from LA to Sydney, and on the return trip from Sydney to Ft. Worth. I've been taking a peek at subsequent emails sent from Qantas about upcoming deals.

If you have time before the trip, it might help to go to airline sites and sign up for deals. I know this runs counter to the OP topic, but if you don't need a complete itinerary decided for you from day one, then you may be able to pull together a reasonable plan on your own.
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