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August 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 31, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Your Dive Travel Agent and Frequent Flyer Miles

from the August, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Many Undercurrent subscribers are Frequent Flyers and wish to use the miles accrued when it comes to planning a dive trip. Finding flights can be tricky, especially if you are wont to buy an economy fare and use miles to upgrade. Dive travel agents can be quite useful in helping you with this, but it may come at a price because it gets tricky.

Timothy Webb of Caradonna Dive Adventures said, "Going back and forth between the client and the airline really doesn't work for anyone. What we prefer to do is have the client arrange this with the airlines to avoid the back-and-forth and the wrong information. The other challenge is having the authority to do so unless the client gives you the security information. We find the best service is providing the client with the information they need to finalize these arrangements with the airline directly. Once they have their tickets confirmed, we can finalize the inter-island flights, diving, transfers, hotels, etc."

Jenny Collister of Reef & Rainforest told Undercurrent, "I charge a flat fee of $300 to work with a customer's Frequent Flyer miles. It often takes several phone calls back and forth with the customer, going over options; long hold times with the airlines and in-depth knowledge of airline partners and routings. If it goes smoothly, I often waive the fee or reduce it. My perseverance has obtained free tickets when the customer has given up, saving them thousands of dollars. [For example] we recommend Fiji Airways [when traveling to the Solomon Islands] because of the ability to get two 50-pound bags from Los Angeles to Honiara when your purchase their 'dive pack,' saving the customer hefty overweight fees. Australia is very strict about the carry-on weight, making it very difficult, especially for photographers, to fly via Australia."

Our suggestion: talk it through with your travel agent, and if you don't want to log the hours looking for free flights where you must make a stopover or two, especially at airports you never heard of, get your agent's help. It can be worth the extra money.

- John Bantin

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