For some travel agents, things have gotten so bad that they
can’t tell their UA sales rep without a “Hello, My Name Is!” badge
hanging around her neck.
“Our sales rep who had been calling on us for about five years
was let go from the airline in December,” said Gerald Greenberg,
president of Baldwin Travel Bureau in Los Angeles.
The replacement lasted four months, then he transferred to New
York. Greenberg said he thinks another rep has been appointed, but
he hasn’t heard from him.
Three United reps in five months. “I think a lot of people are
in the same boat,” he said.
A United spokesman, Juan Carlos Cruz, said the changes were just
part of a reorganization. The LA sales staff is “very
customer-oriented, and we’re getting good customer response,” he
Whatever the genesis of the LA changes, Greenberg said they
haven’t affected his ability to negotiate override agreements and
the situation is nowhere near what it would have been a few years
Sales reps once were powerbrokers who could grant favors or
Now, “They can’t really clear inventory. Their hands are tied.
There’s not a lot they can do anymore,” said Eric Maryanov,
president of West Los Angeles-based AllTravel.
However, Maryanov doesn’t believe that the experience described
by many LA Basin agents is indicative of what’s happening overall
at the Chapter 11 carrier.
In contrast, Navigant International, the mega-agency based in
Denver, has had the same United sales representative “for the past
two years,” said Paul Shamon, vice president of marketing and
Like Greenberg, Maryanov said has not seen an impact on the
negotiation or the payment of overrides.
“The renewal they gave us was comparable to a contract we had
prior to bankruptcy,” said Maryanov. “I was actually quite pleased
with that. It makes an awful strong statement that, whether the
airlines publicly want to admit it or not, we do bring value to