TV presenters Eamonn Holmes and Simon Calder have championed the benefits of booking with ‘human’ travel agents on ITV’s This Morning.
Agents have praised comments by the pair during Tuesday’s edition of the show, during a segment about booking holidays.
Travel expert Calder told viewers: “Big shout out to real human travel agents. I think they are great.
“I would urge people who are worried about booking a holiday to go ahead, talk to somebody and get sorted it out.”
Holmes – who has previously spoken about the benefits of booking with agents – commented: “We have all got used to doing it ourselves: booking our flight, booking our hotel, booking our car hire.
“In days of old…you used to have a travel agent who did that for you.
“If it’s me, I am thinking ‘let’s take the hassle out of all of this, go to an expert, go to a travel agent’ and if there are any problems, they will deal with all the refunds as opposed to me spending seven hours of my life that I’ll not get back getting onto an airline trying to get a refund. What’s your view on that?”
Calder agreed, saying: “Yes, absolutely, I have always used travel agents for anything where I want reassurance.
“They are great, real professionals who have been doing this for years.
“They have got loads of experience, they will give you lots of guidance and they will also give you reassurance.”
He said “almost all” of the complaints he heard from viewers about refunds during the pandemic were about online purchases or travellers making their own arrangements, “as opposed to going to a human travel agent”.
Their comments came as they discussed the new Save our Summer travel campaign and ministers’ comments about whether to book a holiday.
Calder said: “If you book a package holiday, then you know either your holiday will go ahead or you get your money back.
“It is perfectly rational to book a holiday as long as you know what the cancellation conditions are.”
He also said he had seen “fantastic refund promises” from domestic holiday park operators.
Julia Lo-Bue Said, Advantage Travel Partnership chief executive, tweeted: “@SimonCalder @EamonnHolmes so encouraging to hear you speak out for human travel agents. Someone you can trust, speak with & who have worked tirelessly to manage refunds for ALL their customers. Please support your local travel agent @thismorning #SaveFutureTravel.”
Andy Harris, key account manager at Travel 2 and Gold Medal, also said on Twitter: “Fantastic to see Simon Calder on @thismorning highly recommending to book your next holiday through a Travel Agent and not book direct online, much safer and they are the experts.”
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