Chapter 4: Planning United States flight itineraries.
Each client has different wants and needs. Additionally, the level of travel knowledge and experience varies from one client to another. The first step in any client transaction is learning this type of information. It is the most important job for the travel professional. Although some clients are flexible and will consider all options, others must depart and arrive at very specific times. A first-time traveler may need much more explanation than a person who has traveled many times in the past. The choices clients make affect the way in which the travel professional proceeds.
Being able to identify the types of air trips, such as one-way, round-trip, open-jaw, or circle trip, and using resources, such as the OAG Flight Guide or airline CRS, contributes to the counselor's accuracy and creativity in assisting clients. Accurately pricing itineraries depends on the counselor's ability to obtain information from the client and match airline flight schedules and fares to the client's objectives. The process of making flight reservations for clients must be accomplished efficiently and accurately, otherwise, the client will simply find another travel counselor and take his business elsewhere.
At the conclusion of this chapter, you should be able to:
* determine the air client's wants and needs.
* identify the various flight patterns.
* recognize the different types of trips.
* interpret a basic CRS flight availability display.
* calculate time comparison and elapsed flying time.
* make flight reservations.
* recognize unethical booking practices.
* use reference sources to assist in planning air travel itineraries.
ARUNK or ARNK
elapsed flying time
en route stop
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
International Date Line (IDL)
minimum connecting time
OAG Business Travel Planner
OAG Flight Guide
optional PNR fields
qualify the traveler
received from field
ticket date field
A traveler calls a Chicago travel agency and says, "I want a flight to New York in two weeks. I don't want to change planes and I want the cheapest fare." The travel counselor immediately accesses fares and flight schedules in the CRS and within a minute or two, the travel counselor is rattling off fares and flight times. Is it likely that this transaction will be concluded quickly? Is it likely that this prospective client will purchase travel at all from this travel counselor?
The travel counselor in the scenario did almost everything wrong. The travel counselor simply did not have enough information to begin researching flights and fares. The traveler said that he wanted a flight to New York, but the counselor does not know into which New York airport he wants to arrive. The travel counselor assumed he will depart from Chicago, but even if this is true, the agent does not know from which Chicago airport.
The traveler said that he wants a flight in two weeks. This is too vague and an actual travel date should have been established. Is he returning or is he traveling one-way? Again, the travel counselor does not know. This information is very important because round-trip fares are almost always less expensive than one-way fares.
The travel counselor has failed to understand that the traveler's primary priority "cheapest fare" and the fact that he does not want to change planes may be contradictory. An airline with schedules that require a change of planes may have lower fares than an airline that offers direct flights. If that is true in this scenario, what is more important to the prospective client?
During the initial contact with a prospective client, the travel counselor must qualify the traveler by asking the right questions. These questions should result in specific information about what the client wants and how willing he is to be flexible in order to satisfy his primary priority. For most air travelers, the primary priority is either getting the lowest fare or obtaining the most convenient schedule.
Important Industry Web Sites
Association of Business Travelers: http://www.abt-travel.com
International Association of Conference Centers: http://www.iacconline.com
International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus: http://www.iacvb.org
National Business Travel Association: http://www.nbta.org
Society of Incentive and Travel Executives: http://www.site-intl.org
Leisure travelers, those visiting family or taking a vacation, will usually put greater emphasis on obtaining the lowest fare. People traveling on business or for family emergencies generally select convenient schedule as the primary priority. It is the travel counselor's responsibility to establish what is more important to the traveler.
After the travel counselor knows clearly what the potential client wants, then, the travel counselor can select the correct flight pattern, type of trip, flight schedule, and airfare.
qualify the traveler The process of determining the traveler's wants, needs, level of travel experience, and knowledge.
All flight schedules fall into one of three categories: nonstop, direct or through, or connection. The action of the flight after it departs the origin city determines the category into which it falls.
A nonstop flight, as the term implies, makes no stops between the origin and destination cities. For example, a nonstop flight is shown as:
LAX [right arrow] BOS
A direct flight, sometimes called a through flight, makes one or more en route stops between the origin and destination cities, but there is no change of planes. Many travelers will say they want a direct flight when in fact, what they want is a nonstop. A direct flight is shown as:
LAX [right arrow] STL [right arrow] BOS
A connection schedule requires at least one change of planes between the origin and destination cities. Schedules with one plane change are called single connections whereas schedules with two plane changes are called double connections. Every connection is either an online connection; that is, the same airline is used on all flights, or it is an offline connection and different airlines are used. The least convenient type of connection schedule involves the use of different airports at the connection point. A single connection is shown as:
LAX [right arrow] STL STL [right arrow] BOS
Every connection has a minimum connecting time; that is, the least amount of time that must be allowed for a change of planes. The minimum connecting time is based on the airline( s) used and the airport where the connection will be made.
All flight schedules shown as connections in the CRS as well as in the OAG (Official Airline Guide) Flight Guide have been checked to be sure the minimum time has been met. If the travel counselor obtains flight schedules on a flight-by-flight basis and constructs his own connection, minimum connecting time must be verified. The travel counselor can access minimum connecting time requirements in the CRS or in the OAG Flight Guide.
When making flight reservations, each flight, commonly referred to as a leg or segment, is booked separately. Each segment is identified by a city pair; that is, the origin city and the city where the passenger first deplanes. Nonstop and direct flights consist of one segment and one city pair. Connection service consists of two or more segments and city pairs.
From the perspective of passenger convenience:
* Select a nonstop flight first.
* Select a direct flight second.
* Select an online connection third.
* Select an offline connection fourth.
* Select a multiple airport connection fifth.
Perhaps the most important fact to remember when selecting flight schedules is that none of the lowest airfares allow different airlines to be combined.
nonstop flight A flight that does not stop in between the origin and the destination. direct flight A flight that makes one or more en route stops but does not require a change of planes. en route stop A stop between a flight's origin and destination for the purpose of boarding new passengers and taking on fuel, catering, baggage, and cargo. connection 1. When travel is entirely within the United States, a connection is a change of planes that takes place in less than four hours. 2. When travel is international, a connection is a change of planes that takes place in less than 24 hours. single connection A type of flight pattern that involves a single change of planes. double connection A type of flight pattern that requires two plane changes. online connection A type of flight pattern in which the traveler must change planes but the airline remains the same. offline connection A type of flight pattern in which the traveler must change from one airline's flight to a different airline's flight. minimum connecting time The least amount of time that must be allowed for a change of planes. OAG Flight Guide A reference source for flight schedules and other information used by travel professionals. leg The portion of a flight between stop points. segment The portion of an air itinerary between board and deplane points.
TYPES OF TRIPS
Understanding the types of trips and being able to recognize each type of trip directly affects the travel counselor's ability to price the trip correctly. In some cases, the definition of a type of trip depends on the type of fare that will be used. To better understand the trip definitions, you should understand one aspect of fares. That aspect is that all airfares are identified as either a normal fare or an excursion fare.
A normal fare is priced at a one-way amount and if it is to be used for a round-trip, the amount is doubled. Generally, normal fares carry very few, if any, restrictions or limitations and are the most expensive type of fare.
An excursion fare is priced at a round-trip amount and can never be sold on a one-way basis for half the amount. Excursion fares are usually the least expensive type of fare, but they can be very restrictive. All excursion fares, with very few exceptions, have the following requirements.
* The same airline must be used on all segments.
* Reservations must be made and travel purchased in advance.
* There is a minimum stay requirement.
* There is a maximum stay limitation.
* Travel is nonrefundable and there is a penalty for making changes.
* All flight segments must be confirmed (no wait-listing or open segments).
Now, we can discuss the four basic trip types: one-way, round-trip, open-jaw, and circle trip.
FIGURE 4-1 One-way trip example SFO [right arrow] PIT
The one-way trip is the most simple of the four trip types, and it is also the most expensive. A one-way trip is always defined as a trip from the origin city to the destination city. Figure 4-1 illustrates a one-way trip.
The round-trip is the most common type of trip. Perhaps 85 percent of all travel takes the form of a round-trip. A round-trip is defined as a trip from the origin city to the destination city and back to the origin. The portion of the trip from the origin to the destination is known as the outbound. The portion of the trip from the destination back to the origin is known as the inbound. Figure 4-2 illustrates a round-trip.
FIGURE 4-2 Round-trip example SFO [right arrow] PIT SFO [left arrow] PIT
In most cases, it does not matter if nonstop, direct, or connection service is used, especially if using normal fares. If excursion fares are used, the same airline must be used on the complete trip, the restrictions listed previously may apply, and there may be restrictions on the routing.
An open-jaw trip consists of the origin city and two destination cities and travel between one of the city pairs must be other than air. Figure 4-3 illustrates two examples of open-jaw trips.
[FIGURE 4-3 OMITTED]
The non-air segment of an open-jaw trip is called a surface segment. In reality, travel between the city pair on the surface segment can be by train, private jet, hot air balloon, or even roller blades. The point is that there is no commercial flight on this segment. When normal fares are used, the airline, flight pattern, and distance between the cities are of no consequence. But, when excursion fares are used, all of these factors are important.
A circle trip has two distinct definitions, both determined by the type of fare that is used. If normal fares are used, a circle trip is defined as a trip that has two or more destinations and all segments are by commercial air.
If excursion fares are used, a circle trip is defined as a trip that has two destinations (no more, no less) and all segments are by commercial air. As with round- and open-jaw trips, using excursion fares on a circle trip means that certain flight patterns or routing may be required. Figure 4-4 illustrates the circle trip for excursion fares.
[FIGURE 4-4 OMITTED]
city pair The city where a passenger first boards and first deplanes a flight. normal fare A one-way airfare; if it is to be used on round-trip travel, the amount must be doubled. excursion fare A round-trip airfare that can never be purchased on a one-way basis for half the amount. one-way trip A trip from origin to destination. round-trip A type of air trip from origin to the destination and back to the origin. outbound The portion of an air trip from the origin to a connection point or destination. This term is usually used to identify the first portion of an itinerary. inbound The portion of an air trip that returns to the origin city. This term is usually used to indicate the return portion of a trip. open-jaw trip A type of trip that involves the origin and two other cities, and travel between one city pair is by means other than commercial air. surface segment A portion of a flight itinerary where no commercial flight exists. circle trip 1. When normal fares are used, a circle trip has more than one destination. 2. When excursion fares are used, a circle trip has two destinations, no more, no less. 3. Internationally, when excursion fares are used, both destinations must: a. be within Europe, or b. be within the same country.
FLIGHT SCHEDULE SELECTION
After the travel counselor has determined the traveler's needs and priorities and visualized the type of trip the traveler is proposing, the next step is to offer flight options. Flight schedules are usually obtained in the CRS but nonautomated agencies may select schedules from the OAG Flight Guide, known simply as the OAG.
Using the OAG
The OAG is offered in two volumes: the North American Edition and the Worldwide Edition. The North American Edition contains flights between cities in North America, Central
America, and the Caribbean and is published bimonthly. The Worldwide Edition contains flights worldwide including those listed in the North American Edition and is published monthly.
The OAG is also on-line with free access to flight schedules at <http://www.oag.com>. This site can also be accessed via Travel Weekly, directories section, at <http://www.twcrossroads. com>.
Web Activity Your CRS is down and isn't expected to be functional for several hours, and your agency does not subscribe to the OAG. You have several bookings that must be made right away. Do any of the major U.S. airlines have an area on their Web site where travel agency bookings can be made?
CRS FLIGHT AVAILABILITY DISPLAYS
As you learned in Chapter 3, there are four CRSs used by U.S. travel agencies: Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre, and Worldspan. Each CRS has its own format that must be typed before flight availability will be displayed, but fortunately, all CRS availability displays look basically the same. So, if you can interpret a flight availability display from one CRS, you can interpret them all.
The CRS, like the OAG, arranges schedules by showing nonstop and direct flights first. Because the CRS format usually includes a desired departure time, the CRS arranges these flights so that those departing nearest the requested time are shown first. As the travel counselor scrolls, or moves down, flights further away from the requested departure time are shown.
After nonstop and direct flights are shown, connection service begins. Again, the requested departure time is a factor in determining the order in which the connections are shown. As the travel counselor scrolls the connections, offline connections and connections using multiple airports may be shown. Generally, the most convenient schedules are shown on the first or second screen.
It is important to note that each travel agency can change its CRS display and sort criteria. For example, an agency that has an override commission agreement with a particular airline may set the CRS to display that airline before showing flights on other airlines.
Figure 4-5 is a CRS flight availability display from Washington Reagan National to Los Angeles. Because the first few screens include nonstop and direct flights only, Figure 4-5 is actually a compilation of the data from multiple screens.
At some point in our lives, we have all had to know what time it is in another part of the country. Calculating the time difference between two locations is called time comparison. As a travel counselor, airline reservationist, or other travel professional, you will be working with passengers traveling to all points in the United States, as well as internationally. It is, therefore, extremely important to understand time zones and their effect on travel.
In the United States, the 48 contiguous states are divided into four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. Alaska and Hawaii have their own time zones (see Figure 4-6).
[FIGURE 4-5 OMITTED]
[FIGURE 4-6 OMITTED]
Each time zone around the world is referenced to the Greenwich Meridian, an imaginary vertical line near London, England. The Greenwich time zone is called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and is shown as a zero. Each time zone west of GMT is expressed as a negative number because the time is earlier than it is at GMT. Each time zone east of GMT is expressed as a positive number because the time is later than it is at GMT. The stopping point for determining east and west is another imaginary line called the International Date Line (IDL) (see Figure 4-6).
By looking at Figure 4-6, you can see that all U.S. time zones are expressed as negative numbers, each number representing the number of hours the zone is behind, or earlier than, the time at GMT. To determine the number of hours difference between two cities in the United States, you simply subtract the smaller number from the larger. For example, Boston is expressed as -5 and San Francisco is expressed as -8; therefore, there is a three-hour time difference between the two cities.
If the current time in Boston is 9:30 A.M., what time would it be in San Francisco? First, you must understand that because San Francisco is west of Boston, it is earlier in San Francisco. Armed with that information, you now know that you must subtract the three-hour time difference from 9:30 A.M. So, it is 6:30 A.M. in San Francisco.
The expressions shown on Figure 4-6 represent standard time, which is used throughout this text. Most of the world observes daylight savings time, generally between March and October, and during that period the expressions are different. For example, during daylight savings time, GMT is shown as -1, U.S. Eastern time is -4, Central is -5, Mountain is -6, and Pacific is -7.
U.S. Time Comparison Step 1: Determine how each city is expressed in relation to GMT. Step 2: Subtract the smaller number from the larger number to determine the number of hours difference between the two cities. Step 3: Is the city where you do not know the time west or east of the known city? If the unknown city is west, you subtract the number of hours difference from the known time. If the unknown city is east, you add the number of hours difference to the known time. time comparison The process of determining the time in a different location, based on the local time. time zones Divisions around the earth, all referenced to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), that assist with calculating time comparison and elapsed flying time. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) The time at the Greenwich Meridian (0 degrees, just outside of London). All locations around the world are expressed as being so many hours behind (-) or ahead (+) of GMT. International Date Line (IDL) An imaginary line at 180[beta] longitude, located on the opposite side of the earth from the Greenwich Meridian.
ELAPSED FLYING TIME
When looking at flight schedules in the OAG or in a CRS display, the departure and arrival times are local. That is, the departure time is local for the departure city and the arrival time is local for the arrival city. For this reason, eastbound flights appear to take much longer than they actually do and westbound flights appear to take practically no time at all. That is why it is important for travel counselors to know how to calculate the actual flight time, known as elapsed flying time.
To calculate elapsed flying time within the United States, you begin with the same steps you used to calculate time comparison. First, you determine how each city is expressed in relationship to GMT. Then, subtract the smaller number from the larger to calculate the number of hours difference between the two cities. The next step involves calculating the apparent flying time; that is, how long does the flight appear to take? This step is accomplished by subtracting the departure time from the arrival time. For example:
Arrival time 10:55 A.M. Departure time - 8:22 A.M. Apparent flying time 2 hours, 33 minutes
When calculating apparent flying time, there are some important points to remember. Because time is based on the number 60, you cannot use a calculator for math calculations. Always add or subtract minutes from minutes, and hours from hours. To demonstrate another potential problem, take a look at the example on the following page.
Arrival time 8:15 P.M. (borrow 1 hour and convert it to minutes) 7:75 P.M. Departure time 6:55 P.M. -6:55 P.M. Apparent flying time 1 hour, 20 minutes
The last step in calculating elapsed flying time is to add or subtract the number of hours difference between the two cities from the apparent flying time. If the flight is westbound, add the hours and if the flight is eastbound, subtract the hours.
Elapsed Flying Time Step 1: Determine how each city is expressed in relationship to GMT. Step 2: Subtract the smaller number from the larger number to determine the number of hours difference between the two cities. Step 3: Subtract the departure time from the arrival time to determine the apparent flying time. Step 4: If the flight is westbound, add the hours difference to the apparent flying time. If the flight is eastbound, subtract the hours difference from the apparent flying time.
MAKING FLIGHT RESERVATIONS
After the client and travel counselor have selected appropriate flight schedules, a reservation can be made. Although most flight reservations are made in the CRS, there are circumstances when they must be made by phone. Some airlines cannot be booked in the CRS. Sometimes the CRS shows a flight as sold out, but by calling the airline, a seat can be obtained. And finally, the CRS, like all computers, can "go down," making it inoperable.
Regardless of how the reservation is made, either in the CRS or by phone, the finished product is a passenger name record, or PNR.
Each area of PNR data is known as a PNR field and each field contains the same type of data. The primary PNR fields are itinerary, name, phone, ticket date, and received from.
When making a CRS reservation, the flights are booked in the computer, creating the PNR's itinerary field. This field can also contain rental cars, hotels, tours, and cruises that have been booked, or sold, in the CRS. A surface segment, as in an open-jaw trip, is part of the itinerary field and is shown as ARUNK or ARNK.
The travel counselor enters the passenger's name, exactly as it appears on his photo I.D. or passport, creating the PNR's name field. This field can also contain titles or passenger type codes, known as PTCs.
The phone field should contain at least two items, the agency's phone and a home number for the traveler. It is also a good idea to include the traveler's business phone number and a contact for the passenger at his destination. Cell and fax numbers may also be included in this field
The ticket date field indicates the date when a ticket or electronic ticket will be processed and paid for. Depending on the CRS, this field may also show the validating airline or other ticketing-related information.
Depending on the CRS, the received from field may be mandatory for the completion of a PNR. This field identifies the name of the person from whom the travel counselor received the booking instruction. This could be the passenger himself, or other person such as a family member, business associate, secretary, or personal assistant.
Other fields are considered optional PNR fields because they are not required before a PNR can be saved. Optional fields include form of payment, passenger address, seat assignments, special requests, and remarks. It is important to note that although these fields may be considered optional to the CRS, the travel agency may consider them mandatory for all PNRs.
Finalizing or saving the PNR after it is completed is called end transaction. Without this step, nothing has actually been booked. When the travel counselor ends the transaction, the PNR is saved and booking messages are electronically sent to the appropriate airline.
At this point, the CRS selects a combination of six letters or numbers, called a record locator. The record locator is the CRS's unique identification for the particular PNR. Figure 4-7 on page 58 shows a completed PNR that was booked in Sabre.
The most common reason a travel counselor makes a reservation by phone is that the selected airline cannot be booked in the CRS. Southwest Airlines, for example, cannot be booked in Amadeus, Galileo, and Worldspan. In many cases, flight reservations by phone involve two phone calls. The first phone call is made to check flight availability and to establish the fare. The travel counselor then discusses this information with the client. The second phone call is when the actual booking is made.
To make a flight reservation by phone, the travel counselor has to be prepared to give airline data in a specific order. The correct order is airline, flight number, class, date, city pair, and number of passengers. After the flights have been booked, information about the passenger is given, including his name, form of payment, and phone number.
Travel agencies that make frequent phone bookings usually use a booking form on which the travel counselor lists all of the passenger information, flight data, airline reservationist's name, and record locator. Each travel agency usually designs and produces the booking form and then distributes it to all travel counselors. This booking form, also known as a "res sheet" or reservation worksheet, indicates what was booked, when the booking was made, and who is responsible for the booking. Because there is no PNR in the agency's CRS, this written record of the transaction is very important for maintaining an accurate account of all bookings.
Unethical Booking and Ticketing Practices
Every booking made in the CRS creates revenue for the CRS because each vendor (airline, hotel, car rental, cruise, and tour company) pays the CRS a booking fee. Unethical booking practices cause the vendors to pay booking fees without generating revenue for the vendor.
Some travelers and travel counselors may make two or more reservations for the same trip, called duplicate bookings. When the traveler decides which booking he wants, the other bookings may or may not be cancelled. This practice not only creates additional booking fees, but can also create a no-show problem if the unwanted reservations are not canceled.
Another unacceptable booking practice is the creation of fictitious bookings, also called speculative bookings. In this instance, one or more reservations are made in the hope that the traveler will purchase one of the trips. Again, this practice results in unnecessary booking fees and if the fictitious bookings are not cancelled, the no-show factor is increased. Many travel agents use the 50/50 guideline; if the agent is more than 50 percent sure that the client will purchase travel, a booking can ethically be made.
Most of the lower airfares require the purchase be made within 24 hours of when the reservation is made. If the traveler has not made a final decision within that time, the travel counselor may cancel and immediately rebook the flights. This practice is called churning. Churning causes airline fees for the initial booking as well as for every cancellation and rebooking. Some airlines have begun billing travel agencies for the fees incurred as a result of churning.
FIGURE 4-7 Sample Sabre PNR 1.1MEIJER/JULIUS 2.1SCHAFFER/OLIVER 1 UA 576Q 05JAN W DFWORD HK2 805A 1013A HRQ //DCUA /E 3 AA2339H 07JAN F ORDDFW HK2 330P 600P HRS //DCAA /E TKT/TIME LIMIT 1. TAW08AUG/ PHONES 1. DFW214-555-1834-ABC TRAVEL/TAMMY 2. DFW214-555-1134-H JULIUS MEIJER 3. DFW214-555-8162-B JULIUS MEIJER AA FACTS 1. SSR VGML AA2339Y07JAN/ORD NN1 1.1 MEIJER/JULIUS 2. SSR VGML AA2339Y07JAN/ORD NN1 2.1 SCHAFFER/OLIVER GENERAL FACTS 1. SSR VGML UA NN1 DFWORD0576Y05JAN 1.1 MEIJER/JULIUS 2. SSR VGML UA NN1 DFWORD0576Y05JAN 2.1 OLIVER SCHAFFER REMARKS - 1./JULIUS MEIJER AND OLIVER SCHAFFER 2/KEYSTONE CORPORATION 3./3319 EASTGATE DRIVE 4./DALLAS TX 75220 5.-*AX111112223334444[double dagger]12/05 RECEIVED FROM - SECY. LISA GT63.GT63*A12 0915/01OCT01
One-way airfares are generally more expensive than round-trip fares. Because of this, a traveler may ask that a fictitious return be booked for his one-way trip so that he can pay the lower, round-trip fare. He uses the first portion of the trip, but not the return. Not only does this practice create unnecessary airline booking fees and a no-show situation on the return, it also can create problems for the travel agency. Some airlines are now charging the travel agency for the one-way fare that should have been used on the trip in addition to penalty amounts. Do not confuse this unethical practice with the legitimate pricing technique of breaking the fare that is discussed in Chapter 5.
Some travel counselors use a practice called back-to-back ticketing for clients who are traveling round-trip but do not qualify for the lower fares. This practice involves booking and ticketing two round-trips, each with a fictitious return. The client uses the first portion of each ticket but not the second. This practice creates the same problems as the fictitious return, multiplied by two. Do not confuse this unethical practice with the legitimate pricing technique, back-to-back excursions, which is described in Chapter 5.
elapsed flying time The actual number of minutes and hours a flight takes. itinerary field The portion of a PNR that includes flights, surface segments, cars, hotels, cruises, tours, and other travel products. ARUNK or ARNK A CRS term used to indicate a surface segment. name field The portion of a PNR that includes the passenger's name and possibly titles and passenger type codes. phone field The portion of a PNR that includes the travel agency's, passenger's home, passenger's business, and destination contact phone numbers. ticket date field The portion of a PNR that includes the date tickets are issued and paid for and possibly other ticketing-related information. received from field A PNR field that contains the name of the person who made the reservation. optional PNR fields Portions of a PNR that are not required to finalize and save the PNR. Optional fields include the traveler's address, seat assignments, remarks, and so on. end transaction The process of saving and filing a completed PNR. record locator The Computer Reservation System's unique identification for the particular Passenger Name Record. duplicate bookings An unethical practice of making more than one reservation for a traveler's trip. fictitious booking The unethical practice of making a reservation in case the passenger might travel. speculative booking An unethical booking practice, sometimes called fictitious booking, whereby a reservation is made in case the client might travel. churning An unethical practice of repeatedly canceling and rebooking an airline reservation in the CRS. fictitious return The unethical practice of making up a return date so that a round-trip fare can be used instead of a more expensive one-way fare. back-to-back ticketing An unethical practice in which two round-trips are scheduled, each with a fictitious return.
FINDING THE ANSWERS
In any travel counselor-traveler transaction, a variety of questions may arise. The true travel professional does not know all of the answers, but does know where he can find them. The CRS can be used to obtain a variety of information but in many cases, the travel counselor relies on other sources.
In addition to flight schedules, the OAG contains a wealth of information. Many questions the travel counselor and traveler may have can be answered by turning to the appropriate section of the OAG. Here are some examples.
Other OAG Flight Guide North American Edition Information: * aircraft seat maps * aircraft performance statistics including passenger capacity, number and type of engines, body style, and pressurization * airline club information * airline codes and abbreviations * airline corporate offices * airport diagrams * city and airport code list * credit card acceptance by airline * flight itineraries showing where each flight originates, stops en route, and terminates * frequent flyer program guide * frequent lodger program guide * frequent car renter program guide * minimum connecting times * toll-free phone numbers for airlines, hotels, and rental car companies
Many travel counselors subscribe to the Travel Planner series. These books are published in three volumes, the OAG Business Travel Planner--North American Edition (which includes North, Central, and South America), the Europe, Africa, and Middle East Edition, and the Asia Pacific Edition. Travel professionals refer to these publications simply as "travel planner."
The primary sections in the North American travel planner are: (1) United States including Alaska, (2) Hawaii, (3) Canada, (4) Bahamas, Bermuda, and Caribbean, (5) Mexico, (6) Central America, and (7) South America. Each of these sections, with the exception of Central and South America, is arranged alphabetically by city name.
Other important areas of the Travel Planner series are the sections for military installations and universities. Each of these areas is arranged alphabetically by the name of the university or military installation. For each listing, the nearest airport, direction, and distance from the city is indicated. In many cases, alternate airports are shown as well.
The sections dealing with Central and South America are much more basic than the other sections. Each section is arranged alphabetically by country name and includes basic travel information such as language, currency, electric current, time zones, tipping policies, and how to make phone calls. Within a country's listing, a travel counselor can find information about climate, taxes, import allowances, and consulate offices. Although the Travel Planner series includes information about entry requirements, this information should not be relied on because of the time sensitivity of this type of data.
More and more travel counselors are turning to the Internet for information. The Internet can be an excellent resource for travel information if the travel counselor knows where to look. Many U.S. state tourism boards, as well as city travel bureaus, are represented on the Internet. Many countries have Web sites operated by national tourist boards. Almost all major airlines, hotel chains, car rental companies, and many tour operators and cruise lines have Web sites. Information obtained from these sources is generally accurate and can be trusted.
Additional OAG Business Travel Planner-- North American Edition Information * colleges and universities and the nearest airport to each * addresses and phone numbers of hotel companies and representatives * frequent traveler programs for air, hotel, and rental car companies * medical assistance organizations * military installations and the nearest airport(s) to each * information on obtaining passports and visas * toll-free phone numbers for air, bus, car rentals, convention and visitors bureaus, cruise lines, ferry service, local transportation, medical air ambulance, rail, tourist offices, tour operators, and visa services
Travel counselors should be cautious of "unofficial" or personal Web sites and the information they contain. For example, just because Jane Doe highly recommends a hotel on her Web site doesn't mean that the travel counselor should recommend the hotel to a client. Remember that anyone can say anything on the Internet; there are no regulations.
Important Industry Web Sites
Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Online: http://www.frommers.com
City guides: http://www.excite.com/travel/
City links: http://banzai.neosoft.com/citylink/
Conde Nast Traveler: http://www.cntraveler.com
Festival Finder: http://www.festivalfinder.com
Fodor's Guides: http://www.fodors.com
International Holiday Calendar: http://www.rubicon.com/passport/holidays/holidays.html
International Protocol: h t t p : / / h o m e 3 . a m ericanexpress.com/smallbusiness/resources/expanding/global/countries.shtml
Las Vegas Show Guide: http://www.lvol.com/lvoleg/lvshows.html
Lonely Planet Guides: http://www.lonelyplanet.com
Map Blast: http://www.mapblast.com
Map Quest: http://www.mapquest.com
Rough Guides: http://travel.roughguides.com
Time Out: http://www.timeout.com
Time Zone Converter: http://sandbox.xerox.com/stewart/tzconvert.cgi
The Travel Channel Online: http://travel.discovery.com
Tourism Offices: http://www.mbnet.mb.ca/lucas/travel/tourism-offices.html
U.S. Destination Guide: http://www.twcrossroads.com/directories/usdestindex.html
Weather Forecasts: http://www.intillicast.com
World City Guide: http://travel.lycos.com/Destinations/
World Clock: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock
Worldwide Destination Guide: http://www.twcrossroads.com/directories/wdestindex.html
What Would You Do? Your client tells you that he can depart from Nashville on either Saturday or Sunday for his trip to Omaha. He wants to stay three or four days and wants the least expensive fare. 1. What other information do you need from this client? 2. Do you think it would be less expensive for him to depart on Saturday or Sunday? 3. Based on your answer to question 2, why do you think so? OAG Business Travel Planner A reference source that contains a variety of information, used by travel professionals.
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|Title Annotation:||SECTION II: United States Air Travel|
|Publication:||A Guide to Becoming a Travel Professional|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2005|
|Previous Article:||Chapter 3: Air travel basics.|
|Next Article:||Chapter 5: United States airfares and other charges.|