A certain degree of frustration motivated me to write this open letter to our industry. Often, we are bombarded with messages of what we as travel agents can do to “show our worth”. We need to prove this, and make other superhuman manoeuvres, to justify our salaries.
Yes, travel is what we do. But not alone. I am disappointed that an industry with a large number of dynamic people is so placid when it comes to the relationship between travel agents and airlines.
I am going to take you back. Back to when we were paid commission by the airlines. No, don't jump up yet – I am not necessarily calling for the reintroduction of a commission system – but, hey, how about a debate?
Let’s bring it back to the current COVID-19 crisis. I am sure there are stories of great teamwork between travel agents and airlines but for the most part, this is what I have observed…
Airlines are quite unwilling to fulfil the basic role of answering a call, an e-mail or assisting whatsoever. I am selling their product on their behalf – I am marketing it, selling it and should there be a major crisis, I am sorting this out on their behalf. What support do I get?
Airlines keep changing the playing field to try and “catch you out”. They blur or confuse agents with rules – an excellent way of making an extra buck. This is not teamwork in my view.
Why is this still happening? Where are the leaders in our industry? I would like to start an open discussion about this relationship including airlines, travel agents and Asata.