Is this a good use for a travel agent, and if so, can you recommend one?
April 16, 2015 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning to fly to Peru this summer with my late 60's mother. She isn't comfortable flying alone, so I need to meet up with her in Dallas or Houston to fly the rest of the way. She lives in Texas. I live in NYC. I am considering whether it would be worth it to use a travel agent.

We did this last summer to another South American country. Figuring out the tickets myself online was a big hassle and stressful because I would have to do a separate searches for her travel path (DFW to destination) and for me (NYC to destination) and try to coordinate the layovers so we'd be on the same plane from layover to destination and then buy the tickets separately. And I need an aisle seat because I am tall and claustrophobic.

I have never used a travel agent or known anyone who used a travel agent. Would this be a good use of one? How much do they cost? And if I should use one, anyone got any recommendations or tips for picking one?

(If anyone has any suggestions for not using a travel agent and making it easier to buy the tickets myself that would also be welcome.)
posted by Mavri to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is there some reason you aren't buying a cheap ticket (Spirit?) from NYC to DFW and then both of you boarding the same flight to Peru? It's probably a bit more money but it's simpler. If one of you pays for both Peru RT tickets, it will be even easier to manage the booking.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:03 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seriously, this is the kind of thing travel agents are best for. Mine charges $30 per itinerary booked, and I think it is worth it just to have the backup assistance if something goes wonky during the travel (they have an after hours staff on hand, so if your flight is cancelled at 5:01pm you can still get someone to rebook you a lot quicker than waiting in line at the airport or on hold with an airline). Plus, they do the work for you comparing the options, etc, etc.

From what you've described, I don't think you need a specialist recommendation, just ask for someone who deals with international itineraries. Mine is in the Travel Leaders network, PM me if you want a specific name, but I don't think your request is so specific that you really need a personal referral.

Have a great trip!
posted by msbubbaclees at 5:07 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was going to say, my wife and I just called the airline directly when we had to do something similar over Christmas (she flew here, we flew there, I flew home), and it was worth the $50 to have them sort it and get us on the same flights, sitting next to each other, etc. If there's travel agents that charge less than that, then that sounds like a deal (especially in the greater scheme of the cost of tickets to Peru).
posted by joycehealy at 5:40 PM on April 16, 2015

Is there some reason you aren't buying a cheap ticket (Spirit?) from NYC to DFW and then both of you boarding the same flight to Peru?

That's what I ended up doing last summer and it was miserable. Including travel to airport, waiting at the airport, waiting at DFW, it added maybe 6 hours to my trip on each end. My trip home was 24 hrs door to door.
posted by Mavri at 6:04 PM on April 16, 2015

Do you belong to AAA? Travel agent services are part of their membership.
posted by brujita at 8:04 PM on April 16, 2015

My agent charges $35 per ticket and has no problem dealing with multiple iterations, changes, and requests. Me mail me if you want her name.
posted by bq at 10:15 PM on April 16, 2015

I will note here that despite all your best efforts, your first flight may be delayed, canceled, whatever -- and you'd miss the connection. Is it at all feasible to fly to Texas a day early, spend the night at your mom's (or even in a hotel), and then fly out together the next day?
posted by Ragini at 10:32 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

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