Concerning travel agency commissions

I recently bought a relative a business class ticket roundtrip from Grand Cayman to New York and the price was $1501 (I’m not sure that included the tax).

At a 10 per cent commission to the travel agent, I’m assuming that Cayman Airways paid $150 to electronically ticket this from a local agent. That $150 was then deducted from the price paid, so Cayman Airways got $1350 roundtrip for flying her four hours in each direction, handling her bags, a wonderful meal (we have pictures she took along with the great flight crew).

The travel agent took no more than five minutes to take my credit card information and generate an electronic ticket (that means only hard copying the itinerary information to give to the Cayman folks at the airport).

Why in the world does an agent get that much money for virtually no work? Matter of fact, the agent discouraged her flying on Cayman Airways!

So, I know Cayman Airways gets subsidized by the government because it is a primary driver of reasonable fares, good service, and promoting our tourism industry. That makes sense. But because the taxpayer is actually the one flowing money through the government to Cayman Airways, you’d think that the airline would be trying to contain costs.

So, why is a taxpayer subsidizing my niece flying from Grand Cayman to New York to go see plays and a tour of New York for her birthday present? That $150 in commission is money that should be staying with the airline and not a travel agent doing minimal work ($150 for five minutes is about $1800 / hour in compensation).

Why are those financially challenged paying for my family trip? Makes no sense, none at all.

Leland Scott – Stamford, Connecticut

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