Faux Travel Agents
According to numerous e-mails and Internet sites, you can become a travel agent without courses or training, then enjoy free and heavily discounted travel.
It's a scam that is " running rampant," says John Frenaye, president of Carlson Wagonlit in Arnold, Md., speaking for the American Society of Travel Agents.
One site promises that you can become a travel agent, and get a card proving it, by paying an initial $67, then $7.95 a month as long as you wish to keep your status. Other sites want $300, $495 or even $600 for a similar deal. One noted that once you receive your travel agent photo ID card, "you will be able to order business cards, stationary [sic] and other items if you wish."
You do get something for your money, says Frenaye: "a bogus card with some mumbo jumbo on it." Real travel agents do carry cards that can get them discounts with hotels, cruise lines and resorts, but the cards are issued by the International Airlines Travel Agent Network or the Cruise Line Industry Association only to members. Moreover, members are audited annually and must maintain a certain level of sales to keep the card.
If you want to be a real travel agent, contact the American Society of Travel Agents, find a course at a community college, or contact a travel agency that offers paid apprenticeships, Frenaye says.
UPRIGHT AND LOCKed
'Clear Skies' For US Airways?
US Airways has been celebrating recent financial improvements and announcing changes designed to help the airline move further along the path out of bankruptcy. Changes of particular interest include:
New nonstop service from Reagan National to Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit and Houston, with introductory fares ranging from from $108 to $198 round trip, plus taxes. The new routes all earn passengers double miles.
Changes in departure times on shuttle flights between Washington and Boston. In an efficiency move, the flights will depart 45 minutes after the hour starting Feb. 6, rather than on the hour or half-hour.