Last week, I got an email from our travel agent (Flight Center, if you must kn0w). I was told that it was imperative to ensure that I completed all existing bookings before 1 May when prices would be increasing. On 1 May, and while travelling on SAA, I read in the in-flight magazine, the following interesting piece of information:
- “From 1 May 2005, South African Airways is changing the business relationship it has with the travel industry… SAA is removing the commission payments that it makes to travel agents. This is a global trend…. Agents will charge for the services they provide to each customer based on individual travel requirements…. To ensure that passengers are not inconvenienced, SAA is reducing its airfares by 4% on 1 May…. SAA already took the strategic decision to negotiate a new way to reward travel agents in 2001.”
Now I understand all the urgency my travel agent had. As of today, she doesn’t earn any commission anymore — no wonder she wanted me to complete all those last-minute bookings last week!
They’ve got no excuse for ripping off the clients like this. They’ve known since 2001! This is just another example of the death of the agent (read an article on this here).