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ABC series ‘The Checkout’ examines agents vs online

April 18, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

Australia’s ABC has devoted a segment of its popular consumer affairs television series ‘The Checkout’ to the issue of “why travel agents are still a thriving industry, even when you can do it yourself online”. You can watch the seven-minute segment below.

The presenter is the talented and highly watchable writer and actress Alex Lee, backed by a team of actors. It’s very entertaining – some may find it controversial. Some samples of script:

  • “You’re not the only one who should have insurance. You should always ask your travel agent if they have insolvency insurance – because travel insurance often doesn’t cover you if your travel agent goes broke before you’ve got what you paid for.”

  • [In a section about Flight Centre.] “Cancelled bookings may also incur supplier fees, which can be up to 100% of the cost of the booking. Cancellations to international bookings… will incur a fee of $300 per passenger per booking in addition to supplier fees.”


  • “Online travel agents might also charge you fees, but you can still use them to research the best prices, and then just book directly from the airline or supplier’s website.”

Watch it here:

‘The Checkout’ has been running since 2013 and its fifth series began airing just over a week ago.

Various segments examine the practices and methods of manufacturers, retailers, service providers and advertisers.

As Wikipedia puts it: “Using a humorous style, the show highlights practices that are misleading, dishonest, unfair or occasionally even illegal or unethical. Often segments will target types of services or products rather than individual brands or companies.”

The show also includes the segment ‘F U Tube’ that allow viewers to upload their own queries or complaints about goods or services they have purchased. The program is associated with Choice magazine.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Fright Centres charge a $300 cancellation fee on top of the airline fee? Wow! I suppose when your staff are all working for commission they need to safeguard their income, which is probably why its better to use a travel agent who pays their staff a proper salary, rather than a wages system that constantly pushes for upselling. It was good to see The Checkout pointing out that FC do not offer the lowest fares at all, but I do fear the shows emphasis on FC give the whole industry a detrimental look.

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