Did you make the list?

Travel + Leisure list this year’s ranking of 125 A-List Travel Agents

This year’s ranking of 125 A-List Travel Agents appears in the September issue of Travel + Leisure, the glossy consumer magazine. No fewer than 50 Western agents made the grade (see page 77). T+L Features Editor Nathan Lump told me that his well-heeled readers are more than willing to pay for the services of a knowledgeable, service-oriented agent. Lump said T+L starts with the previous year’s list, pays close attention to readers’ recommendations, and also considers agents who lobby for inclusion. (Most send e-mails or letters; he hasn’t received any major payola!) The list is separated by specialization and each agent is quizzed extensively. Consulting fees are listed to weed out shoppers. What’s rewarding is T+L’s endorsement of agents: “These agents have enthusiasm and passion for travel, and help our readers realize the kind of trips we present,” Lump said. “I’m always amazed by how much I learn from this group.” Also in this issue we look at an important, growing segment solo travelers (see page 30). The pool of people who travel alone is not necessarily swinging singles or elderly widows. Even married people take separate trips these days soccer moms go on an all-woman rafting trip or a 40-something professional takes a small-ship cruise.

Meanwhile, we’re hearing from agents on cruise line anti-rebating policies and Northwest Airlines’ new GDS “cost-sharing” plan. Look for letters on those topics in the Sept. 13 issue, and let me know your thoughts on those or other issues by e-mailing me at tmasek@ntmllc.com.