Re: "Not All Card-Carrying Travel Agents Get the Discounts" (Travel Insider, Nov. 10): Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your article on travel agent credentials was a very welcome sight. These companies are best described as travel clubs rather than agencies.
I am an advocate of some kind of registration or licensing of agents, which will eliminate these types of organizations while increasing our credibility within the community.
GARY S. KOCH
I am an Independent Outside Travel Agent (IOTA) with World Class Network. I received an IATAN/ARC ID card when I joined for $495. It is true that an agent cannot always use this card to receive "perks," but I was able to do so on a trip last July.
I told a United Airlines supervisor that if there were any first-class seats left, I would appreciate it if she would let me have one. When we were boarding, she gave me a first-class seat because there were 11 unsold seats. When I got to the hotel, I presented my card to the supervisor, and he gave me a suite. When I traveled from Oxnard to LAX, I was given an upgrade on my rental car.
On the return trip, there were no first-class seats available; therefore I didn't get one. I asked the Avis [car-rental] agent for an upgrade, and she declined.
The point I am making is that these "perks" are not rights for travel agents; they are favors that carriers and hotels offer to travel agents to help advertise their services.
JOHN S. DANIELS