Booking on the Web

It is with much interest that I read the letter “Web Booking Provided No Satisfaction” (Nov. ’04, pg. 36), regarding a reader’s experience booking a cruise through Travelocity. She booked a Category Y Outside Guarantee and was surprised to find that her cabin was obstructed. She found that for $50 more she could get what she wanted from the cruise line directly.

I will be the last person to say that Internet booking is never beneficial, but, being in the business, I know that many people are not aware of the many pitfalls. I and, I venture to say, 99% of professional travel sellers are aware of the pitfalls of “guarantee” cabins. I certainly would advise my clients of the pluses and minuses of this type of booking before accepting a deposit.

Other pitfalls abound of which many travelers are not aware until it’s too late, and it is most unlikely the large Internet booking companies will advise them of same.

Also, while many people think there are substantial savings when booking via the Internet, more often than not I find this not to be true. However, even if one saves a few dollars, is a ruined vacation worth it?

The bottom line is this: while there are times that Internet bookings are good, if you want real personal service you should call a professional travel agent.

ALAN BARROLL, Petro Shore Travel, Westlake Village, CA