Informed Sources: Online ticketing vs. travel agents: Which is better?

Which do you prefer: Booking your tickets online or in person through a travel agent? Plus, an update about laptops onboard.

Published January 12, 1998 9:31AM (EST)

Happy New Year, road warriors! We're planning to kick off the new year with a thorough report on the rising competition between (and among) online ticketing services and traditional travel agencies. We would love to hear your rants and raves about booking plane tickets, hotel rooms and car rentals online vs. in person. Which gives better service? Which offers better prices? What are the advantages and pitfalls of each? What's your strategy for getting the best deal? All in all, which do you prefer? Please write to -- and look for our report near the end of the month.

Update: Onboard laptops

Last month we posted a letter from a reader alleging that on a flight in Europe, the airplane's magnetized tray tables had corrupted his laptop's hard drive. We asked if any other Road Warriors had experienced similar problems and did not receive any affirmative responses. A few weeks later, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued the following statement, headlined "Magnetised Trays on Aircraft": "Unsubstantiated reports have been circulating recently claiming that the tray tables in the seats of Sabena A340 aircraft are magnetised and have been responsible for corrupting the disk drives of laptops. IATA wishes to emphasise that it does not, and never has, supported such a claim. It has now received confirmation from the seat manufacturer, the airline and the aircraft manufacturer that these seats do not include any magnetic devices and therefore cannot inflict any damage to electronic equipment."

By Salon Staff

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