As we start to come out of lockdown, one of the big problems in the travel industry is finding people to work after all of the layoffs.
This is especially true with waitstaff in restaurants, housekeepers in hotels and reservations agents for some airlines. There have been reports of customers being placed on hold for several hours and I believe it. I tried calling American Airlines (AA) at midnight the other day using an elite phone line reserved for their top fliers and I had a hold time or callback option of over an hour. That’s crazy, right? Right.
I foolishly waited until the last minute to contact American to add my daughter as a lap child. I had bought really cheap business class fares using miles back in September for every month starting in April, hoping we would be out of the pandemic. I thought I’d bought four seats but I’d only booked three, which isn’t great for a couple reasons including the fact that it’s not very comfortable for my wife. But I figured baby Olivia wouldn’t sit in her own seat anyway so it was a waste of miles.
Fortunately, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve so here’s how I got through without waiting.
1. Twitter is by far your best resource in these matters and that couldn’t be more true than with AA as they have a very good and large communications team. I sent them a DM asking if they could add Olivia as a lap child and they replied within 20 minutes that it was all done (see screenshot below). The second time around, they were even quicker.
I also did the same thing last week with Travelocity when I booked a package deal and had to cancel. I quickly learned that the customer service on their website and call center is a joke. But their Twitter team is solid, as they took care of my request, though not nearly as quickly as American.
2. If Twitter had failed, my second option was to take my own advice and give the airline’s international call center a ring. Here’s how.
3. A tip I just learned about while reading the news yesterday came via David Slotnick of The Points Guy. He says: “Try an airline’s Spanish-language line.” I’ve never tried it but it seems reasonable, especially if you speak Spanish but I’m sure that’s not a prerequisite.
So, my advice is to try to do everything online and if you can’t, then don’t wait until the last minute to make any changes. This is also a good reason to book through a good travel agent because they will do the dirty work for you. If not, try the tips above.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.