At first, I was cynical. I came across a thread at WAHM about someone who bought a ticket to the UK from an RTA and she was unable to get to the airport. I thought it might be a Traverus fishing expedition at first, but ultimately it was a legitimate client and ultimately, she had her problem somewhat resolved.
The back story. Bought a ticket from YTB on an RTA site. Scheduled to fly to the UK on December 15, 2008. Does online check-in on the 14th, per the instructions of the RTA. Get's socked into a blizzard and cannot get to the airport. RTA is unable to help her. YTB headquarters advises her to call the vendor. Client calls the "vendor" and realizes it is none other than Travelocity in India. Client is given some false promises from Travelocity as well as British Airways and decides to post the saga on WAHM asking for help.
As any travel agent with any experience knows, this is a very routine issue. It could have and should have been handled in a matter of minutes. However, it took three RTAs and a headquarters of 325 employees to get it resolved and the one that resolved it, was not even the one that sold it.
The end result was that the client has a new reservation on a different flight and is submitting the difference in fare to the insurance. Again, had she dealt with a trained professional, there would have been a lot less stress and no increase in fare.
Yes, YTB ultimately got the issue resolved. But this only reemphasises my point that they have no business putting out ill-advised non-trained people to call themselves travel agents--referring or not. The original RTA had no interest in helping his client (but he readily accepted the commission on the fee). He had no training to even begin to help the client. When the client called YTB, they could not help her--well, it seems they could, they just did not want to--and pushed her off to Travelocity. Does anyone see the problem here?
And I also need to question why the client was told to call Travelocity when YTB has supposedly moved all their booking to a Canadian company. Why weren't the active PNRs bridged to the new fulfillment source? We know what type of control YTB has on the Reps and RTAs and it seems they have a similar level of control on thier PNRs. Frightening for the client.
This was one isolated instance reported on WAHM (of al places), but I have to wonder how many similar issues are poppin up under the radar each day that no one hears about? YTB says they sold $414 million last year. Many are saying they have already sold $1 billion so far this year. You KNOW this instance was a small drop in the bucket.
Kudos to the RTA that ultimately resoved this for the client. She did not have to do anything, but she did the right thing. I am glad she was able to convince whoever she needed to convince to take charge and recticfy the situation. But again, this one RTA likely represents less than 1% of the RTAs in YTB. The one who sold the trip didn't care.
So, I wonder what this client thinks of YTB right now? Who knows, but if it were me, I woudl be thankful for the one RTA and vow to never use them again for the treatment received up to the point when that RTA stepped in.
But YTB does not seem to care that there is yet another RTA or Rep dragging their reputation through the mud. Well, maybe they like it.
If you want to read the three threads (if they are still online) you can read them:
I have a printed copy if they pull them to back up the facts!