The future of Orbitz remains uncertain. Five travel agencies in California recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the site, claiming that Orbitz stifles competition by encouraging fliers to buy their plane tickets online. Travelocity and Expedia will have to add services that clearly show consumers how their offerings are unique. Right now, both sites offer essentially the same thing, and it's conceivable that one of them won't make it.
As far as travel agents, historically there have been too many agents and not enough business to sustain them. The emergence of the Internet, consolidation of the travel-agent business, and loss of commissions is forcing many mom-and-pop operations out of business. So true professionals are emerging. It's much less likely that you're going to find generalists. Competition raises the bar, and the consumer will only benefit.
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