Remember the old days of airline travel? You drove to the brick-and-mortar travel agency, sat down with a travel agent, and discussed your vacation or business-travel plans. As we all know, those days are long gone. The rise of the Internet and online travel agents has made vacation planning and airline reservations a breeze. Nowadays, you can plan your vacation and book airline tickets at your computer, from the comfort of your home.
Using online travel agents makes vacation planning easier and more efficient than going through a traditional travel agent. You simply input the dates of your departure and arrival, your destination, and which airport you’d like to use. The online travel agent then searches hundreds of fares to find the best one for you, letting you compare offers from dozens of airlines. You can also check fares from airports in the surrounding areas from your chosen airport. Online travel agents also offer you the option of setting up e-mail alerts to find a fare in your preferred cost range.
The Advantage of Online Travel Agents
The benefits of online travel arrangement don’t end there, however. Hotel and car reservations are also available when using an online travel agent. Airline reservations can be bundled with deals from car-rental agencies and hotel chains, allowing vacationers, business travelers, and frequent flyers to do some one-stop shopping.
E-tickets are also available when you use online travel agents. Although some passengers feel more secure with a paper ticket in hand, these days, many airlines are charging extra for paper tickets. E-tickets, on the other hand, are cheaper and can be printed from your computer. They also allow passengers to check in online, over the telephone, or via self-service terminals at the airport. With e-tickets, boarding passes may also be printed at virtually any location with an Internet connection and a printer.
But What about the Human Touch?
Some may decry the loss of human contact when making important travel plans with an online travel agent. After all, if reservations are lost or erroneous, it’s hard for your computer to lend a sympathetic ear. However, in this 24-hour, workaday world, the convenience of an online travel agent allows travelers to make reservations at any time, not just during business hours. Online travel agents put you in control, allowing you to customize your reservations down to the smallest detail.
Speed, efficiency, and choice are the online travel agent’s stock in trade. Take advantage of this technology, and you’ll never have to page through a travel brochure again or sit in a travel agent’s office again!