If you ski, you travel. Most of our skiing is done locally, but not all. After all, for those of us in the Upper Midwest if we want world class skiing we need to go East or West and the nearest world class skiing is about 20 hours of driving (total time moving). However, sometimes instead of driving we fly. Along those lines Eric Hoffman (@eric_hoffman) pointed out an article noting the comeback of full service travel agents over DIY travel booking. I responded that if you have even 1 millimeter of need for flexibility the full service travel agent is probably the best as working with the online agencies can be a huge PITA if you need to change plans or need some other accommodation.
I have had mixed results with DIY online booking.
I used an online booking agency back for a trip in early 2006 with great results. Did not need any flexibility or special payment options. Went well, got a good deal.
However, about one year later my wife had to travel again and we booked and paid again no problem. But then disaster struck and my wife had to change her travel plans. Making that happen meant lots of time on the phone and having to arrange to get the first trip refunded. Fortunately, a full refund was eventually obtained but it required time, numerous phone calls, and paperwork confirming the event that changed the travel plans (there is a Seinfeld episode similar to the event in my story above, however, the event was one of few that the agency allowed full refunds on cancellations for, no free trip as in Seinfeld).
On my wife’s last trip the same agency proved to be difficult in getting the payment to them and their computer systems did not accurately report the status of the reservation we did have. Again, we got a full refund and flew through another online agency.
I have used online agencies with much better results for domestic flights. Would I go to a full service travel agent in the future? I doubt it, but it all depends.