Who says there's never anything good on TV? Check out the
prime-time listings for Travel Agent TV (TAT), the special industry
channel playing only on our pages for April Fool's Day:
Who needs airlines? Samantha can
transport anybody anywhere with just a twitch of her nose. In this
episode, Samantha joins forces with guest star Sally Field as the
Flying Nun (who already has a code-share agreement with Superman)
to start a carrier, TV Characters Aloft (TVCA). Head of the Giants
co-op Sue Shapiro appears as herself, signing up TVCA as a
preferred supplier for Giants.
8:30 The Odd Couple
Felix blows his stack when he checks out the back-to-back tickets
Oscar gets from their agent for their upcoming vacation in
California. Rule-abiding Felix had just read an article about how
airlines are forbidding the use of such tickets. He tries to get
Oscar to return them, even adding days onto their hotel
reservations so they have a Saturday-night stay, but it's too late.
Felix can't stop saying "I told you so" when he and Oscar are
thrown off the plane on their Cleveland stopover. They can't get
another flight until morning and spend the night in the airport,
arguing nonstop. Three people who were also bumped from that flight
record the Felix-Oscar fight. When they send the tape to the
airline -- and write to Conde Nast Traveler's Ombudsman column --
they each receive 10,000 frequent flyer miles to compensate them
for the "grievous hardship" they've endured.
Kramer pays $495 to get a travel agent ID card from a card mill and
then goes into business under the name Kramer's Trips. He also
starts an affair with a sexy airline DSM -- who is able to pull
strings to get the rest of the gang booked on a fam trip to
Jamaica. Of course, George is the only one who isn't upgraded on
the flight going down; he spends the time whining to his seat mate,
who pretends to have an allergic reaction to his serving of peanuts
to escape George's complaints. Elaine has a temper tantrum in the
lobby of the Round Hill, kicking and screaming until she turns
blue, when the fam leader tell her she has to put down her rum
drink and get on the bus to see another hotel. Jerry gets into a
power struggle with the fam leader when he tries to order off the
menu at an expensive restaurant instead of having the prix fixe
9:30 Premiere: The Fugitive 2000
In this updated version of the classic series, Richard Kimball, the
fugitive, is really a Delta executive who escaped from an angry
ASTA meeting where members accused him of being the one to suggest
the commission caps. He travels around the country by bus, righting
wrongs for travel agents. He helps collect overdue hotel
commissions and overturn faulty debit memos. Every so often, he'll
get a glimpse of the real villain, the one-armed airlines vice
president who was the true originator of the caps.
10:00 I Love Lucy
To pay for singing lessons, Lucy gets a job in a travel agency and
convinces Ethel to join her. Their first day on the job is also the
beginning of a major airfare sale. Lucy and Ethel have a losing
battle trying to keep up with the ticket stock coming out of the
printer, which gets entwined around their bodies and eventually
almost buries them. The agency owner fires them and switches to
10:30 Ally McBeal
A noisy bunch of new clients comes into the law office of Fish and
Cage: It's the passengers from Gilligan's Island, who want to sue
the Skipper for leading them astray on that supposed "three-hour
Finding new employees
By Lucy Hirleman
There is a critical shortage of qualified agents in our
industry, and this is forcing many agency owners to look for
employees from outside our industry. Here is a list of folks who
are uniquely qualified, with just a little training, to become
excellent travel agents:Astrophysicists -- anyone who can explain why planets don't
crash into each other should be able to explain the "Saturday-night
stay" rule.Mothers of toddlers -- because they know how to handle
whiners.Bank managers -- they'll figure a way to charge fees for things
you didn't even know you were doing.Insurance agents -- they'll figure out how to increase your
fees.The post-presidency Bill Clinton -- if he can't talk your
agency out of debit memos, no one can.Magicians -- first, to satisfy those clients who think you
should be one; second, to make that cruise executive disappear
every time he says we should be open 27 hours a day, nine days a
week.IRS agents -- they have great intimidation skills; put them to
work handling shoppers.Meteorologists (you know, those folks who discuss the weather
on TV) -- they don't really know any more than you but will sound
10 times more credible.Fortune tellers -- they will predict airfare sales and save us
all time.Hypnotists -- they possess invaluable persuasion skills.Phone sex operators -- they're great for answering the phones,
but keep them out of sight. They sound better than they look.Supermarket checkout clerks -- they know how to handle any
coupon.Evangelists -- perfect for making the consumer feel guilty for
even thinking of using the Internet.Auctioneers -- put them in charge of your cruise night.Hookers -- they have the ability to make your clients feel
"special."Proctologists -- no explanation necessary.
Grain of Salt Dept.
SECAUCUS, N.J. -- It all started when a member of the audience
at a supplier panel here asked, "What do you think of Goofball
Cruises running their 800 number without a reference to see your
Panel participants, who included all the major cruise lines
minus Goofball, were quick to say they'd never follow Goofball's
"Travel agents are the backbone of our business," said Rob
Hixington, senior vice president of sales and marketing for
Proletariat Cruises. "We even protect commission if a client books
again without using the agent."
Annie Luchter said that at Peasant Cruises, where she's vice
president of sales, "We'd get out of a moving car and stop traffic
by lying down on the Brooklyn Bridge during rush hour to deliver
commissions in a timely fashion."
"We'd walk across red-hot coals with lit cigarettes burning our
flesh if we had to," said Oliver Galucci, executive vice president
of Commoner Cruises.
Diana Tuttle, marketing director of Just Folks Cruises, said
she'd make the ultimate sacrifice for agents: submitting to
torture. "We'd even watch a Barney tape 20 times," she said,
referring to the infamous purple dinosaur who stars in his own
kids' TV show.
Need a laugh this April 1? Check out the following funny
Deadpan satire sets this on-line newspaper parody apart from much
of the Web's typical sappy humor. Sample headlines: "Miracle of
birth occurs for 83 billionth time; Tortilla-chip supply dwindling,
reports man on couch." www.theonion.com.
Mining Co. humor site
You can surf every variety of humor, from "kids stuff" to "food
funnies," to "sick, twisted jokes" when you click onto this Web
portal, designed to link you to other sites. humor.miningco.com/index.htm?COB=looksmart.
Too many troubles
HOOTERVILLE, Halvah --
This island in the South Pacific is having a bad couple of weeks.
First a typhoon blew through, destroying virtually every residence
in certain areas. Then fighting broke out between the opposing
factions struggling for control of Halvah -- the Trenchcoat and
But all the troubles are having no effect whatsoever on tourism
to this area, according to Janine Blooey, vice president of the
Halvah Tourist Commission (HTC).
While the typhoon's 3,000-mph winds blew away roofs and in some
cases entire houses in the Park Avenue section of Hooterville, the
country's capital, all of its hotels are still standing, Blooey
said. "Our tourism infrastructure is firmly in place," she said.
"We are up and ready for business."
Blooey said the fighting really shouldn't affect travelers'
itineraries at all. "All the major tourist sites [Beach Haven and
Halvah's capital, Stuck in the Middle of Nowhere] are on the other
side of the island, far away from any military action."