I think the advent of online ticketing for flights have changed the way we plan our air travel, forever.
We have seen a sea change in the way we travel in railways too, this probably happened much before the airline tickets were offered online. Although it is a great hit with the passengers, one can, even now, see a sea of humanity at any Indian Railway ticketing counter. That is probably because the bulk of India’s train traveler may not have access to internet or do not have a credit card or both. People still go to travel agents to pay “extra” to get a ticket. There is however a bit of transparency as to what amount would go to Railways and what to Travel agent.
Flight tickets, on the other hand is a different ball game. We were not always sure what would be the price of a ticket. Are we paying less or more? There are so many categories of ticket. How much of the value of the ticket actually gets to the airlines and the agent respectively. It is quite possible that what you paid and what your co-passenger to your left or right paid may be different. As such it may not be so worrying except for the fact that you had to believe the travel agent and could not compare the prices your self and decide.
For the last few years or so this has changed substantially with Yatra.com, Makemytrip.com, Cleartrip.com and others coming into the market. This along with so many new low cost and full service airlines like Spicejet, Indigo, Jet Airways, Kingfisher (in bad shape, not for long, I hope) etc. have given us air travelers so many options, in terms of airlines, dates, fare, cash back schemes, discount schemes etc.
After several rounds of evolution, now most of these allow you to do a complete vacation planning for hotels, for local sight seeing, local taxis, holiday package tours and of course air ticket! These portals also allow you to book bus tickets and train tickets too. There are inbuilt applications that help you to plan your route, if required.
Is that the end of the travel agent? I guess not. The travel agents are still surviving, especially those who are direct sales agents to some airlines and are able to still get cheaper tickets than online portals. Many have diversified into visa consultancy and hotel package bookers, at least for individual travelers. They are still very meaningful to the corporate world.
If you want to travel places with me, I suggest you to join me on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing my content. Kindly do me a favour. Please visit my site and help me taking action by letting me know against this theft. Thank you.