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Airline won't help because "ticket was issued through a travel agent"

Airline won't help because "ticket was issued through a travel agent"

Old Jul 29, 17, 5:52 pm
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Airline won't help because "ticket was issued through a travel agent"

A lot of airlines I've noticed are doing this, saying that if you book through a travel agent, they won't help you. For tickets issued under their own stock.

It feels like 100% crap, considering all airlines suddenly are only interested if you OK paying any change fees.

Or in the case of airlines dealing with mistake fares, suddenly have no problem taking control of the ticket to cancel or downgrade passengers. (Alitalia *cough*)

Is this just a way of "punishing" passengers for not booking direct through them, by having them deal with Indian call centers from the shady/not-shady OTA they booked through, and double up on agency change fees?

Or are tickets issued from travel agents actually blocked from the airline for doing anything?

It seems to be no problem, when there's a schedule change and you deal directly with the airline. Nor is it a problem when you voluntary pay fees to change things. Or when you upgrade seats.

So, what is it?
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Old Jul 29, 17, 7:15 pm
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Well, it depends on the specific circumstances. But yeah, there are many circumstances in which you have to go through the travel agent to adjust the ticket. What's worse, often airlines would be easier to deal with if you could just deal with them directly, at least when it comes to online travel agencies. I don't like it either, but it's pretty standard. It's one of the reasons why it's generally better to buy directly from the airlines unless you've found a very good personal travel agent.
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Old Jul 29, 17, 7:55 pm
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Originally Posted by keitherson View Post
A lot of airlines I've noticed are doing this, saying that if you book through a travel agent, they won't help you. For tickets issued under their own stock.
The TA "owns" the ticket until check in /travel on the first flight. After first flight deal with the airline.
Been that way for as long as I have been flying (+30 years)
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Old Jul 29, 17, 8:21 pm
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This. Except that it is not 30 years. It has been this way for at least 50 years. Other than IRROPS on the day of travel, you chose to deal with a TA, you deal with the TA.

I'm not sure I understand the issue at all. If you need a change made to your ticket, why not have your TA do it? If your TA doesn't have a 24/7 backup, don't deal with that TA.

The reason is simple. You are paying the TA to handle the ticket and the TA has been paid. If there are changes, the TA is being paid and it is the TA's job.

Some carriers will take over a TA ticket for a fee. Maybe it's worth it.
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Old Jul 29, 17, 11:21 pm
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Don't accept this answer

Airlines pull this with lower status fliers more often than with status fliers

Tickets purchased on Kayak etc often show up as "travel agent" I have had luck explaining that they are contracted to honour my ticket and provide related service. Good luck
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Old Jul 29, 17, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by HelpAppreciated View Post
Airlines pull this with lower status fliers more often than with status fliers

Tickets purchased on Kayak etc often show up as "travel agent" I have had luck explaining that they are contracted to honour my ticket and provide related service. Good luck
Exactly. With US carriers, particularly when I have top-tier status, they have NO issue making any changes to the ticket instead of telling me to go through Orbitz/Expedia/whatever.

Whereas carriers, like Virgin Atlantic, who are nearly all leisure fliers, don't give a crap.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This. Except that it is not 30 years. It has been this way for at least 50 years. Other than IRROPS on the day of travel, you chose to deal with a TA, you deal with the TA.

I'm not sure I understand the issue at all. If you need a change made to your ticket, why not have your TA do it? If your TA doesn't have a 24/7 backup, don't deal with that TA.

The reason is simple. You are paying the TA to handle the ticket and the TA has been paid. If there are changes, the TA is being paid and it is the TA's job.

Some carriers will take over a TA ticket for a fee. Maybe it's worth it.
Because some TA's offer heavy discounts on tickets, far cheaper than buying direct from the airline. Otherwise, no reason to choose them at all.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 12:42 am
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I think that is the point. If a TA has found a way to sell you a ticket for less than the price that the airline is offering, then it should come as no surprise that the airline tells you to deal with your TA when you want to make a change.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 12:52 am
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Originally Posted by keitherson View Post
Because some TA's offer heavy discounts on tickets, far cheaper than buying direct from the airline. Otherwise, no reason to choose them at all.
So you want a discount and expect to get the same service as someone who pays full price?

You don't see a problem with that? Well, there is.

If you are happy to buy from a TA, you should be happy to deal with the TA for all changes until day of travel. That is a cost-benefit analysis anyone with a grade school education should be able to do.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 1:50 am
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The TA owns the ticket until T-24, when it goes to airport control. TA's want it like this for historical customer service reasons. Airlines had to agree not to touch the ticket. If it's a real TA and not a online shop with a call centre, this should work to your advantage since it is much easier to contact your TA and have them deal with the airline than you doing it yourself. The problem of course is when you buy from an OTA, which many of us avoid. There is no conspiracy here, and it has been like this for a long time.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 2:18 am
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Originally Posted by theddo View Post
So you want a discount and expect to get the same service as someone who pays full price?

You don't see a problem with that? Well, there is.

If you are happy to buy from a TA, you should be happy to deal with the TA for all changes until day of travel. That is a cost-benefit analysis anyone with a grade school education should be able to do.
Nope. Even day of travel, many airlines refuse to touch tickets.

Also don't talk to me about "full price". You're on Flyertalk.

Perhaps airlines should start treating full-fare paying passengers better than elites traveling on discount economy tickets.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 2:25 am
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Originally Posted by keitherson View Post
Nope. Even day of travel, many airlines refuse to touch tickets.

Also don't talk to me about "full price". You're on Flyertalk.

Perhaps airlines should start treating full-fare paying passengers better than elites traveling on discount economy tickets.
The price of the ticket has no bearing on the ownership of ticket-management.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 2:28 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
The price of the ticket has no bearing on the ownership of ticket-management.
But elite status does. I have no issue with many airlines taking control of OTA-issued tickets.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 2:39 am
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It shouldn't, except in exceptional circumstances. But what are we talking about, selecting a seat or reworking the routing?
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Old Jul 30, 17, 4:31 am
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One aspect that missing from this conversation is the commissions that are paid to travel agencies. Airlines are reluctant to touch tickets made by agencies because changes made by the traveler may affect that commission. If commissions weren't involved, I don't think the "ownership" issued would exist.

I also would guess that technology...or really the lack of technology is also a factor. We currently live in a world where people have computers in their pockets and those computers can be wirelessly synched. Back when airline global distribution systems (GDS) were created, those things existed only for Buck Rogers.

Today, airlines could push notifications of changes made by travelers over to travel agents. Back in the nascent days when GDS was being developed, doing that would have potentially caused a conflict between the record in the TA's system and the one with the airline. If the TA discovered it, she or he would have to try to figure out if the changes made were accurate or a mistake. Data storage costs were high, so no one had the luxury of leaving pages of detailed notes as to why anything was changed.

(I used to work in GDS in hotels and later at a travel agency back in the 90s to mid 2000s. The technical side is a bit fuzzy, but that's how I remember it.)
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Old Jul 30, 17, 7:21 am
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Usually the TA can "push" the ticket to the airline manually so that they no longer "own" it as well. But that would still require a call to the TA
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