During the wait for my flight from Quito, Ecuador to The Galapagos Islands to board, I was speaking with a couple from Alabama. Unfortunately, the came all the way through to the gate and were turned back because they needed to pay more money. What had happened is that they bought their ticket to the Galapagos online for a great price. In the end, they got a ticket at the Ecuadorian price, not the foreigner price. Their only option was to pay an additional $350 to get the correct ticket. The man didn’t seem to mind the additional price, just the hassle. They had to leave the gated area and go back through security to buy their new tickets. Problem there was that there were a lot of tourists in the exact same situation. Many of them were angry and refusing to pay. I can understand this, as it is hard to really understand why locals should pay less than tourists. Can you imagine if Air Canada decided to charge International travelers more than Canadian citizens? There would be an uproar over that I’m sure!
In the end, the husband and wife had to go through security three times.
The first time, and then found out about the ticket problem.
The second time with the correct ticket just to find out that their baggage was all incorrectly ticketed. The third time, they made it through and I saw them on (and off) the plane, so I know they made it to the islands in the end!
This is one good reason why it is great to use a travel agent to book your flights. Did you know that most of the time (not always), if you find a deal online, your travel agent can often get that same rate for you? At least, that has been my experience!
I do quite a bit of flight research on the internet, but when it comes to booking, I almost always use an agent. It just helps make sure that you know everything. They are the experts … the companies on the internet don’t do things such as check to see if you are Ecuadorian before selling you an Ecuadorian priced ticket to the Galapagos!
I use two really fantastic travel agencies, depending on the type of travel I am planning. Rose at The Adventure Travel Company in Halifax has been fantastic to work with. Very knowledgeable, helpful, friendly. My entire South American adventure has been coordinated through The Adventure Travel Company, who then has made connections with the other tour companies that I’m using. As their name suggests, they mostly deal with Adventure travel as opposed to resort/all inclusive travel. They CAN help with that and they certainly can book you a flight anywhere you need to go for business or pleasure, but Adventure truly is their specialty.
For resort travel, and destination wedding clients who choose to go to an all inclusive resort, I love working with Jeannie from Limetime Travel / Club Cay. She’s booked my own resort trip to Mexico in 2011 and is working with one of my destination wedding couples coming up this April in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. She’s all around pretty super too. She’s more of a resort vacation travel company and she’s from the Bahamas, so she specializes in the Bahamas!
I am more than happy to recommend working with either of these companies, depending on your travel plans. I just suggest not trying to do it ALL on your own because sometimes the headaches in a far-away country are just not worth it.