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Washington, D.C., area travel agents discuss their work

Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?

Carroll: "When you use travel agents, it's a service. You're going to get a certain level of expertise. When things don't go well, it's nice to have an advocate in your corner."

Wahlgren: "Usually we have more information at our fingertips. People come to us when they're stumped."

Peters: "For the personal information, expertise and experience."

How do you charge?

Carroll: "We charge for airline tickets, but the exception is if it's part of a package. Then the wholesaler pays us. It always depends on the package."

Wahlgren: "We charge $35 to $50 for domestic flights. If they purchase a package and we make a commission from the vendor, there's no fee."

Peters: "We have a variety of consulting fees and service fees, it just depends on what the customer wants to purchase."

What's the one travel tip you always give customers?

Carroll: "The best advice I give people is to check the work that I do. Double-check our work because we're human and we can make mistakes, too."

Wahlgren: "Be practical when you travel. Be glad that your flight takes off, your luggage arrives and you're not cavity searched at the airport."

Peters: "In your pockets you must put extra patience. Be flexible and have a good sense of humor. It's an experience to travel, not a chore."

What makes your agency better than others?

Carroll: "Our motto: We'll kiss your ass. I don't know if we're better than others, but we really care about our clients and the product."

Wahlgren: "We answer the phones and respond to e-mails. We utilize all the tools that are around to find the best deals."

Peters: "We're very friendly, and very experienced."

What's the worst or funniest travel story you've ever heard from a client?

Carroll: "A client called me from a train in New York. She looked out the window and realized she was going to Baltimore instead of Block Island [R.I]."

Wahlgren: "A client called from the airplane and wanted me to call the pilot to request they save him a chicken dinner. He heard they were about to run out of chicken dinners."

Peters: "A lady wanted to take her dog with her on the plane and I told her it would cost $15 per leg. I meant 'per leg of the trip,' she thought I meant 'per leg of the animal.'"


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