When American Express runs a transfer bonus for moving points to Aeromexico, and folks start paying attention to their award charts (which can be generous even without the bonus) I shrug. The last thing I want is Aeromexico points, since that means I’m going to have to deal with the fine folks at Aeromexico Club Premier. You can’t book partner awards online. That means talking to their call center.
Thinking about what call centers are the worst, it’s actually tough because each airline with frustrating call centers is frustrating in different ways. They’re just tough to compare.
- Delta agents tend not to know who their partners are, and I’ve had them try to book awards into the wrong class. (I’ve also been told “Vietnam Airlines isn’t a member of Skyteam. Only Air France is a member of Skyteam.”)
- Avianca’s LifeMiles is really bad on the phone — but I don’t mind as much because the website is decent for making an initial award booking (although you don’t get to pick and choose from all possible flight options) and email has been a good way to communicate with them when changes need to be made.. if you can wait a day to hear back.
- Virgin Atlantic is rough for partner booking. You can’t do partner awards on their website, and every time I speak to their agents it’s like they’ve never searched for a partner award before (or at least, never successfully!).
- The Turkish Airlines phone connections are just awful, and bad phone lines coupled with heavy accents are a huge challenge.
- British Airways has a bunch of ornery unhelpful phone agents.
- Flying Blue is just surreal. I’ve been hung up on many times. I get different answers from different agents. They have bureaucratic processes — and when something doesn’t go right, they want to send you to the airport to complete your transaction – I think just to get rid of you. Naturally the airport has no idea what to do for you.
- US Airways agents were always clueless about rules and geography, which had its pluses and minuses (legacy America West agents who spent years without partners flying US – Asia). They know even less now that they’re in oneworld, and their systems routinely have difficulty ‘seeing’ award space being offered especially by Japan Airlines.
Which airlines do you dread speaking with the most?