Wendy Perrin shares very good advice similar that what I’ve offered here in the past.
When snowstorms hit, or operations melt down for other reasons, it can be tough to get help. There are just too many people chasing too few agents.
A year ago during an ice storm in Dallas American Airlines’ operations were so impacted (yes, that’s a word) that the hold time for a 100,000 mile flyer was frequently four hours.
But there’s no reason to wait on the phone that long even though you do need help.
The most frustrating thing for me about long telephone hold times is that I can find myself flights that are still operating, and with availability (using Expert Flyer) but by the time an agent gets around to the call that space is likely already gone. You need help now.
- Call a non-US call canter. If your airline has call centers elsewhere in the world, odds on those aren’t affected by the same weather-related cancellations. There’s a time-zone difference, and they may not be 24 hours, but you may be able to get right through. Use Skype or similar service to avoid long distance charges.
- Use GetHuman.com and have the airline call you back when it’s your turn. You don’t talk to the airline faster, but you don’t have to wait on hold wasting your time and attention and draining you phone battery.
- Opt to speak to an agent in another language. The queue for those agents may be shorter. My Spanish isn’t very good.
- Tweet your airline. Those agents are no doubt busy too, but when things turn south social media can often help.
- Go to the airport. Get help in person. The lines in the terminal may be long but there are kiosks to use, too.
- Go to the club. Agents there are going to be best-positioned to help with most airlines, the lines will be shorter, and the waits more comfortable. If you don’t otherwise have access, a day pass (often ~ $50) can be worth it.
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