Airline customer service tip: if they say 'no' once, try again with a new agent
The mysterious world of airline customer service never ceases to puzzle me. Here’s another reminder to never take “no” for an answer when trying to change travel plans:
Last week I needed to change my Continental flight home from Michigan from an A.M. to P.M. flight. To do this, I waited until 24 hours before the flight I wanted so I would only have to pay the $50 - not $150 change fee. By looking online, I knew the flight had seats left.
I called the elite line, expecting superior service that my little blue card promises - and usually delivers. Unfortunately, I was greeted with a voice on the other end that immediately sounded like they did not want to be working the phones. After asking for my request (and knowing there were still seats available an hour earlier) she told me she couldn’t book the flight.
“There are seats available,” she told me. “But the computer won’t let me do it.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Not sure,” she said. “Looks like the airport put a hold on it.”
“Well, what can I do?” I asked.
“Nothing,” she said bluntly. “You can’t book this flight.”
I said thanks and that I’d call back, and I did an hour later. This time, a different, chipper voice who couldn’t have been nicer had my flight changed to the same one that was locked in about a minute flat, and I was all set. I mentioned to her my earlier conversation and she had no clue why the flight couldn’t be booked or why the agent couldn’t have been a little more insightful.
Receiving good help from airline customer service (especially when I was trying to purchase a $50 service) shouldn’t take two or more tries, but sometimes it does. It also happened to me at a United counter in Seattle last year after I missed a flight. The first lady told me I couldn’t get out for two days, while the second agent put me on standby and had me in a plane an hour later.
There are some employees who think that doing their job is getting you out of their hair as fast as possible, while there are others who do what they can to keep you happy. It’s like the computer techies at your office: some try to fix your computer while others sigh and say “You probably shoulda defragmented,” and walk away.
So always remember: if you’re talking with an agent who doesn’t give you options, they’re not trying hard enough. Just keep your cool and try a different human, and eventually your travel request will work out. It usually does for me.
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John D...lighten up, Francis! This is not rule-breaking. This is customer service. At no point did Tucket Inn ask to break a rule; he requested service. Nothing like finishing a rant with an inapplicable, broad-sweeping generalization on society...now that reveals depth and intelligence.