Agency vs. Online Booking

Airfare purchased using an online agency may initially seem to be less expensive, but using one of the University’s preferred travel agencies has its benefits.
Time Savings: It can take a tremendous amount of time to search multiple airline and online agency websites for the exact dates and times needed and to find the best fare. Remember to consider the time spent in booking in the overall cost of the ticket.  Let the Professional do the work-- Our preferred agencies have the expertise and the resources to see all available options at once and to quickly find the itinerary and fare that best meets your needs.

Cost Savings: Independent studies have shown that average ticket prices for airfares booked through Designated Corporate Travel Agencies are consistently lower than those booked through public internet sites. 

Airline Discounts: The University has negotiated rates with Northwest Airlines that can only be applied by the university’s preferred agencies.

Security: When the security level rises at airports, individuals may be asked for two forms of ID's, a picture ID and the credit card that was used to purchase the ticket.  If the ticket is purchased at one of the preferred agencies, the airline will not ask for the credit card that purchased the ticket, as this second level of security has already been checked at the time of booking. 

Changes in flights: When exchanging tickets through an online agency you have to do all the work. Also, if you need to change your return flight after departure, online agencies sometimes require you to obtain a completely new one-way return ticket rather than exchanging the unused portion of your ticket which can be very costly.
On the other hand, if the ticket was purchased from the preferred agencies, our agents do all the work for you.  If you are already on your trip, they can have the new ticket arrangements made before you reach the airport.  

Group Travel:  Agencies can usually secure lower fares by working directly with airline group desks for groups of ten or more.  They can save you a tremendous amount of time on these types of bookings and can usually assist you with name changes when necessary.

Catastrophic Events:  After 9/11, University of Iowa agencies refunded ~$150,000 in airline tickets at no additional cost to the university.  In the event of natural disasters or world events that affect travel, these agencies can assist in locating travelers, rebooking tickets or securing refunds when possible.