16November2018

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

Travel agents taken for granted

For the first time I am writing this article in favour of Travel Agents-those who are Not-IATA agents.
 
Many travel agents who make our traveling very easy, takes all the burdens of Canceling, Rescheduling tickets and provide other support , are most of the time taken for granted by their Customers and so called Air-Travelers.
 
It is a common practice for air borne travelers of Andaman that they will check many travel websites for flight fares and then approach a travel agent. One difference what a common person surfing the travel websites over internet, do not understand is that there are two types of travel sites, so called the B2C (Business to customer) and the other B2B (Business to Business). 
 
Travel Agents come under B2B types. All Travel portals in India like Yatra, Makemytrip, Cleatrip etc are basically B2C Portals but they also have B2B portals which is only for their agents. When a person surfing the internet, types www.yatra.com , he is actually looking at the B2C portal of Yatra. Now the Main difference between a B2B & B2C is, that , in B2C - a person can book tickets by using Credit/Debit Cards and Internet Banking. These customers may or may not be charged extra fees for using Debit/Credit Cards or Net banking. 
 
The disadvantage in B2C portal is that 1) They fares are not guaranteed until your payment is successful. 2) Payments may get debited but Ticket wont generate. 3) Fares are not updated or refreshed frequently. 4) If tickets are cancelled, the Refunds take longer time. 5) Some fares on B2C portals are sold as NON-REFUNDABLE even if they are actually Refundable. 6) one cannot reschedule a ticket purchased using Debit Card or Net baking, Online. then that person has to go to Airline office for such purpose. 7) B2C portals will charge Rs.300-500 per passenger extra for Cancellation and Rescheduling above the Normal Cancellation Charges. 8) you do no get coupons and agent special fares on B2C portals. 9) Cancellation / Rescheduling time limit is 12 or 24hrs prior departure for tickets done from B2C portals.
 
in B2C portal, one may get a Fare which may be 20 to 100 rupees less or discounted than what he/she is getting from a B2B Travel Agent. But when it comes to providing Services, B2B Agents are far better than B2C portal. One must understand that Travel is a Service Industry. and every service comes at a cost as Service Fee. Moreover a B2B agent has to pay TDS too. so if on b2c a fare is 5146, the same would be 5177 or 5200 with B2B agents or at times same as 5146. Also, one must understand that B2B agents , specially in Port Blair do not charge extra service fees for bookings, whereas if you go to Chennai or any other city, agents will charge you minimum Rs.400 per passenger for flight tickets. This , I am talking from personal experiences. Most B2B Agents are very fair in Selling tickets and also people must understand that they do not get high commissions from the Travel Agencies of which they are agent.
 
So, understand this - a b2b agent selling a Kingfisher ticket of 5180 will get hardly a commission of Rs.190 out of which Rs.20 will be deducted as TDS. then Customers will ask him for discount. Say the b2b agent gives Rs.50 as discount, then what he is left with Rs.120 only. Then also, he will provide almost 24x7 service for his customer free of charge by making calls to his main agency, to passenger etc. And finally he is left with almost nothing. So, how does he make his livelihood?
So Travelers, just Try to do the same practice in Chennai or other cities- they won’t give you discounts, services etc instead they will charge extra fees.
 
So, a traveler must never compare B2C and B2B in terms of service and also in terms of Fares displayed at times. One is free to buy tickets from B2B or B2C. So, its upto them whether to buy from B2C by paying less and bear all the headaches thereafter or to buy from B2B Agents and feel comfortable and free from all worries.

Active Indian