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Travel Agents and Visa Information

Dallas, Texas
posts: 5
Travel Agents and Visa Information

What exactly can a customer expect from a "travel agent"?

Of course they can expect their payment will be accepted. What else can they expect? That is the question.

In international travel, you can be expected to be informed of travel document requirements, and for tickets into or through the USA, they are legally required to do so. This is not an option. If in doubt telephone the help line at the US Federal Department of Homeland Security. They will be glad to inform you of what you must, by law, do.

Other than avoiding trouble with the Security Authorities in various countries, you should look after the interests of your customer. In particular, if you book a passenger through an international airport in transit to a third country, you should inform the passenger about transit visas if they are required. Airlines are required to do so. Why would specialist "travel agents" be exempt from this? Perhaps there are legal loopholes.

If a travel agency lets customers get into trouble and then slips through a legal loophole, it is important that the traveling public know it. It is a case of caveat emptor. Unfortunately, most travelers including myself expect help in avoiding such blunders from the ticket seller. Airlines help with this. If a travel agency operating in the modern, internet world does not, they can expect the news to travel, rapidly. It is an increasingly transparent world.

In my own opinion, if a seller sells a ticket from place A to place B via place C, they should inform the buyer of any requirements in transiting the intermediate country. I expect that. I think it is both reasonable and ethical to expect that.

53 replies to this topic
Stanley, Falkland...
posts: 27,015
reviews: 54
1. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

maybe so, but it doesnt absolve you of your responsibilities. YOU need to ensure you have the right documentation.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7,644
reviews: 15
2. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

It is the responsibility of the passenger that he has all required visas, not the a travel agent or the airline. I believe most agents and airlines will tell you this on their website as well.

If you specifically asked your agent about visa-info and you were given false information you might have a case but as I read your post you never asked and didn't bother finding out elsewhere in which case I don't see how you've got anybody but yourself to blame.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 3,019
reviews: 39
3. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

It is also up to the client to check on what documents are required

If in doubt ask the TA they will find out for you

Bottom line: do your homework based on your own citizenship & how it is related to the Countries you are travelling to

…state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4965.html

Edited: 10:50 am, December 19, 2011
Leyland, United...
Destination Expert
for Playa Blanca
posts: 20,051
reviews: 34
4. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

Clients responsibility to check all their documents are correct, and passport and visa requirements met. It is not up to the travel agent or the tour operator. It is impossible for a travel agent to know the requirements for every country, for passport holders of all nationalities. I think some people just expect others to do everything for them.

UK
posts: 40,715
reviews: 85
5. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

In particular, if you book a passenger through an international airport in transit to a third country, you should inform the passenger about transit visas if they are required. Airlines are required to do so

==========

Clearly they are not.

BA; "It's your responsibility to know what the health, passport and travel visa requirements are for the countries that you will be travelling to.

American; "Visit the U.S. State Department's website for passport services and information."

Ryanair; "It is the passenger's personal responsibility to ensure that they have valid documentation which meets the requirements of Ryanair, immigration and other governmental authorities at every destination."

Malaysian : "Before you fly, do contact the embassy or consulate office of the country you will be travelling to for the latest information on visas or entry requirements."

etc.

If you want to pay extra through a full service travel agency to sort this out for you, fair enough, but dont buy through a ticket agency with rock bottom prices and then expect VIP service.

Edited: 11:12 am, December 19, 2011
London.UK
posts: 3,942
reviews: 1
6. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

I see the OP has joined TA today, and their other 2 posts are on the now ( thankfully ) closed Vayam thread.

Im in full agreement with the above posts. Whilst in an ideal world it would be a wonderful thing if travel agents knew everything about everything, they dont, and in the real world, they cannot be expected to.

Same with the airlines, and they also make it clear the ULTIMATE responsibilty for complying with the correct and required travel documentation lies with the person travelling. It really is that simple.

Dallas, Texas
posts: 5
7. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

Well, this has been a mind opening experience.

I have never experienced a travel agent who did not care what happened to me. Just lucky, I suppose. I will stick with the airlines. I have never had one abandon me yet. Though I have been lucky enough to not have had a bad experience yet with a travel agent.

The reason I use a travel agent in the first place is to make my travel easier on me at a reasonable price. If they do not make it easier on me, why buy via them?

In any case, it is nice to know I'm in good hands with you people.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 7,009
reviews: 85
8. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

OP - I see this thread was started about this issue on the closed topic:

"I am currently dealing with a Vayama miscue where they sold a ticket with transit visa requirements without informing the customer."

I have to tell you that your complaint is nonsense. Before a ticket purchase may be completed on Vayama you must check a box that says you agree with the terms and conditions. These terms and conditions CLEARLY states:

•All customers traveling internationally will be required to obtain and carry necessary and pertinent travel documents including but not limited to, Passport, Business VISA, permanent or semi permanent Work VISA, Student VISA, Transit VISA, Advanced Parole etc... Traveler is responsible for the review of travel restrictions to determine and obtain all required travel documentation ahead of the originating travel date as may be necessary. Neither Vayama nor its agents are responsible for providing answers to specific questions related to travel documentation requirements.

Thus your complaint:

"If a seller sells a ticket from place A to place B via place C, they should inform the buyer of any requirements in transiting the intermediate country"

is moot, as Vayama clearly did this. The customer just wasn't paying any attention and now wants to blame someone else for their carelessness.

Sometimes people just need to take responsibility for themselves and stop acting like two year olds.

Destination Expert
for Mauritius, Grand Baie
posts: 15,027
reviews: 899
9. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

Ten people in the US book tickets for an airline to travel for example to Saudi Arabia.

The ten people are US residents but not US citizens. They are citizens of 10 other countries. Is the travel agent going to be an immigration expert as to advise these people of the differing treatment that they may face by the Saudi visa issuers!

UK
posts: 40,715
reviews: 85
10. Re: Travel Agents and Visa Information

I will stick with the airlines.

=======

You still don't get it :-(

Its >>your<< responsibility to determine visa requirements, and the airline wont help you any more than any other ticketing company, unless you pay for a full blown travel agency service with a visa department, or specialist visa services. These do not come free.

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