So last month I mentioned how I got into the travel industry and how important I think it is to travel and experience other cultures and languages. I feel like I was born to travel and sharing fun new destinations with clients and helping them narrow down where they want to go gives me great joy when the end product is finished and here you have created this personal trip just for them. Working as a travel agent though does have it moments of funny clients; and sometimes I think, “you couldn’t write this stuff even if you tried.” Sometimes they drive me batty. Here are my two favorites. I am sure you will have some to add.
A gentleman calls me to book an airline ticket to Fiji on that same day. Because of the last minute fares, I ask him why he needs to go fro Boise to Fiji that day. He tells me that his girlfriend ran away with another man and is getting married that Saturday and he needs to stop the wedding. Hmmm I think well if she is with someone else and is getting married doesn’t that indicate you are no longer together? Anyway I quote him and he says he will get back to me. The following day he calls back and says he is now a friend of the bride and he learned we booked her flights several months ago. He wanted to know where she was staying and where the wedding would be held. I inform him that if I did have this information, I couldn’t give it out. I pointed out that if he was actually a friend, he should have the invite and directions. He says he wants to surprise them and ask how difficult it would be to find them once he arrived. Now as a travel agent and having spent some time in Fiji, I know it’s an ideal destination for weddings and honeymoons. It will be like finding a needle in a haystack. He seemed baffled and disheartened but all I could do was wish him luck and send him on his way empty handed. Is this a man jilted by love or has he some strange obsession? You tell me. I find it amazing that we are travel professionals, yet in many instances we are expected to listen to peoples’ personal issues and woes and act as a surrogate counselor.
Another recent call was a person inquiring about a one-way ticket to Scotland leaving immediately. I advised that you couldn’t purchase a one-way ticket to a country without citizenship of that country. I also asked “why Scotland?” and “who so fast?” He explained he doesn’t like America anymore and wants to live in Scotland. He then asked for a round trip quote. I asked which city? He said he didn’t know–he just wanted to leave the USA and since he was a direct descent of William Wallace, the famous warrior of Scotland, he thought he could just move there. Is he chasing his heritage or escaping reality? In the end he went to Hawaii.
I know I shouldn’t laugh but it’s calls like these that make this job interesting and never dull. Calls like these can frustrate; but they can also be stress busters.
The world we live in is so diverse and different with people from all walks of life. What are your comical travel stories? Do they frustrate you or just leave you laughing? Have you had one of those moments where you are like… “REALLY??” I only wonder what next month has in store for me as a day in the life of a travel agent.
Nikki Smith works in a Boise based brick and mortar agency, Global Travel, a Virtuoso Agency. Nikki got her start in her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland when she started in the industry as a flight attendant. She has also worked as a guide for ski and snow vacations worldwide.