Jain Temple

Hot Spots

India Links
Call Home


Art & Culture
Book Shelf


Chat and Blog

About Us

Contact Us
About Us
Advertise to NRIs

Travel Section, special for Indian and NRI visitors to >> Main Travel Travel Categories:

Indian, Asian Airline and Travel agents in the US Extensive listing of travel agents specializing travel to and from Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other countries.

Indian Travel Agents in New York and New Jersey

GaramChai Travel References

Tips for Global Travelers

The notes on this page have grown out of submissions and suggestions from seasoned travellers, travel agents, and from experiences reported by travellers. Thanks to those who have contributed their expertise. These notes will grow as more information comes in.

Charging your tickets to a Credit card

1. Charging your tickets to a credit card is safer. However, many travel agents charge about 3% to 4% more to use this facility. Ask your agent. Also insist on getting the credit slip (customer's copy) after you pay by credit card. This will help you with the paper work with the credit card companies, Better Business Bureau and so on in case you are owed a refund and the agent gets nasty. The practice of charging extra for credit cards may or may not be legal. You can report it to the local business authorities and the credit card company but I don't know if they will (or can) do anything.

To avoid paying extra on the credit card or for agents who don't accept cards, you may want to send the payment using the transaction cheques that credit card companies provide, sometimes without charging any transaction fee. If you do this, check with the agent beforehand if they will charge extra or not. Also, many credit card companies treat these cheques same as cash advances - you start paying finance charges the moment it is cashed. You may want to check with your card company as to their policies.

2. There is a lot of misinformation about surcharge on credit cards. First of all, there is no way a "good" agent can give you a competitive price for paying cash if they charge same price for cash or charge unless, the ticket is a "regular" ticket. In case of a regular ticket, the airline eats the cost of credit cards. When you use the credit card, someone has to pay a fee. When you want the cheapest possible ticket, you have to be willing to pay extra for the credit card. It is a cost simply passed on to you. Otherwise those who don't want to charge are paying higer price because the cost of credit card processing will be added to every ticket.

3. Some agents charge you full fare if you pay by credit card, and then reimburse the difference between full fare and discounted fare. But be cautious.

Scouting For Tickets

1. Don't call every agent and give them your passenger list. You will find yourself in a jam because many agents will book you on the first airline you mention. This can result in multiple bookings which are automatically cancelled by the airline, through no fault of the agent.

2. Difference between a regular ticket and a consolidated ticket: A regular ticket is a ticket issued by any agency using the airline ticket pricing system. Your ticket comes directly out of the airline ticket pool.A consolidated ticket is a ticket that comes from a special pool. The airlines know that they cannot sell every single ticket on every plane. So they reserve a block of seats for "consolidators". A consolidator is an agency that has a contract with the airline to sell these tickets. Many agents claim to be a consolidator because they know that the word consolidator sells ticket. There really is no good way to check if an agent is a consolidator for an airline. All consolidators sell to other agents. It doesn't make any difference if an agent is a consolidator or not. Most times the price of a ticket from a consolidator and any other agent is the same. These tickets are much cheaper than the regular tickets unless the airline is running a sale on the regular tickets.

3. Can you book yourself with the airline? If you want to purchase a regular priced ticket then booking it yourself is no problem. But you usually can't book your ticket with the airline if you want to buy a consolidated ticket. However, there is no harm in trying to make a booking and then check if an agent can pick up the ticket. No guarantees about fares, though.

4. You may be able to make your own reservations with the airlines directly, and contact a travel agent just for the tickets. This may not always work, since airlines may be overbooked during peak periods. Some travel agents buy blocks of seats from airlines.

5. In case you are just shopping for a price, and already have a booking, do not tell the agent about the reservations you made with the airlines directly. Just get a price quote. Otherwise you leave a chance for a not-so-honest travel agent to take over the ticketing without your authorization. On the same subject, you should find out if the price is for the booking you made, or for one the agent needs to make.

6. Just because an agent quoted you a price, do not expect that price to be guaranteed unless you actually finalized the purchase, i.e. you agreed to buy the ticket from the agent, at that price. Ticket prices can change, and most agents will quote you their current price, which may be higher or lower than what you were quoted earlier. You can, of course, mention the previous quote and see if the agent will honor it. No harm in trying.

Waiting Lists

1. If one agent says that there are no seats available but he is waitlisting you, please don't call 15 other agents and do the same thing! Here is what happens: One agent has you as #20 on the waitlist; another #34 and so on. When your name comes up for confirmation, most airline computers detect your name more than once and auto-cancel you. So, now you have lost your chance altogether. If you do have to go onto the waiting list, make sure the airline confirms that the flight is indeed full, and then have one agent you trust put you on, and then just wait it out and take the chance. Many airlines don't allow multiple waitlists anyway.

Buying Tickets

1. Once you have booked your ticket, ask the agent to fax you the itinerary. If for some reason they can't fax you right away, ask them to read it to you so you can be sure that your name is spelled just like it is on your passport and you are getting the dates/times that you want. Airlines are very strict and they don't allow name to be changed without a fee if it is incorrect. Sometimes if the error is minor enough (like a letter is left out or incorrect) they may make an exception. If an error is made and you already have your ticket, contact the agent about the error.

2. In most cases you need to keep calling the agent to remind him/her to mail you the tickets in time.

3. Insist that the agent give you confirmed tickets.

4. Insist that the travel agent mails you the tickets by certified mail or another express service to avoid the inconvenience if tickets get lost in mail. Many agents will do this automatically. Clarify who pays for it. It is to your advantage to pay the extra $10-$12 for the service than to be chasing the mailman for your ticket. Most agents do not take responsibility for tickets sent by regular mail. Express Services are available from, among others, US Postal Services, UPS, FedEx, AirBorne, DHL etc. An Overnight or 2nd Day delivery may be a good idea.

5. Make sure that the address on your cheque is your current address, or cross the old address off. This way the agent would know not to mail the tickets to the old address on the cheque. Or, include definite instructions with your payment as to where the tickets should be mailed to.

6. Insist on a computer-generated ticket. There has been at least one report recently of a hand-written ticket that was not honored by the Airline. Check the box marked Status. If it does not say 'OK' then you do not have a confirmed ticket.

7. Check the back of the ticket to see if the ticket was altered by the agent. In one case, the ticket was originally under a different name, and the agent had used red ink to emulate the red-carbon-copy. This was noticeable on the back side of the ticket.

Confirming Your Tickets

1. Insist that the agent give you confirmed tickets.

2. Don't depend on the agent to confirm your tickets for you. If at all possible, before you pay the agent, call the airline and check if your tickets are confirmed if the agent claims they are. If they aren't, then give your agent a hard time. If they are, then save the confirmation number.

3. Ask the Airline to fax you a copy of the confirmation. This will usually have your confirmation number on it. It comes in useful later if there is a dispute. In at least one case, the airline relented because the passenger had the confirmation printout with him. So you should consider taking it (or copies of it) along with you on your trip.

4. When checking the booking with the Airline, make sure you check the passenger name(s) and flights/times. Always verify with the airline(s) that the entire trip is confirmed before you leave. Confirm each and every leg of the flight individually. Some travel agents have been known to lie about it.

Problems with your agent

1. It might be safer if the travel agency has been appointed by "ARC" and "IATAN" and is a member of "ASTA" and has been in operation for a long period of time.

2. In most cases you need to keep calling the agent to remind him/her to mail you the tickets in time.

3. If a travel owes you a refund and gives you a hard time about it, you may try approaching Better Business Bureau. It works sometimes.

4. In case of a dispute with out-of-state travel agents, even if one wins the case in the courts of one's home state, one still has to move the case to the courts of the other state and try and collect there. Quite impractical.

5. Do take the time to send me an e-mail to document your experience. Please include the items required for the following table and more about what you went through.

6. If possible, forward a copy of this survey to your agent to make them aware that they are being monitored.

General, Trip Related

1. Check the timings of the flights a couple of days prior to your flight. Sometimes flight timings change after the tickets have been booked. If you have connecting flights, there is a good possibility passengers on a cancelled flight will be shifted to an earlier flight to enable them to make the connection. It may save you a lot of harrassment and having to pay full rate fares at the airport if your flight time has been moved up and you missed it because you didn't know about it. The travel agent is usually not responsible for keeping on top of flight schedule changes, although we get a few reports of agents who have done it. Those are exceptions, not the norm.

2. Ask the agent and/or airlines if you need to join the frequent flyer programme in advance.

3. Plan ahead early enough. Plan for contingencies. Some agents also offer emergency services, so you may want to take their number with you, just in case. If you have a printout/fax of your confirmation number, take it (or copies of it) with you on the trip. It can lend you much credibility if a dispute does arise.

4. Do not depend on this survey blindly. Do your homework and shop around to get a good and safe deal.

5. Special Prices: Many times the airlines will be running special deals or price wars/reductions that are never reflected in the survey. You can find out about these by calling the airlines or from a service like One Link. Web Address for One Link is . A number of Airline Phone# are also listed in the Airlines Info on the web site for this survey.

6. Buying tickets in India: If you are planning an INDIA-USA-INDIA trip, or plan to make the payment in Indian currency, you may get a better deal if you purchase the ticket from an agent in India. For USA-INDIA-USA trips, check the agents listed in USA first. To quote an agent in India, "MOST OF THE TIME it is cheaper to buy a ticket in US itself FOR A JOURNEY STARTING IN US...except in few cases where India is the best place. I am getting a lot of enquiries everyday from people asking me to quote a fare for USA-INDIA-USA ...TO give you an example...Atlanta-Delhi-Atlanta on Swiss Air here in India is US$1945...while people in US can get it for US$900!! The main reason being that price war is more prominent in US and they have thousands of fare basis to offer... travel on Monday could be cheaper than on Thursday!!"

7. Before you think of a budget airline instead a full-service airline, remember that a long haul, full-service airline will provide you with good food, alcoholic drinks, entertainment and relaxation. This not only makes the time go sooner, but it can save you a heap of cash on a long-flight. Now when international calling rates and other communicative mediums have become cheaper, you can easily spend $50 a head for a couple of meals and drinks - so that some dollars if saved, on a round trip may be handy when you need it the most.






Buy Visitor's Travel Insurance
Get A Quote



GaramChai © 1999-2016 || Terms of Use