Double Duty Daddy

Why Frequent Fliers Need Twitter

Twitter has saved me so many times during travel, I lost count how many times the tool came to my rescue. Contacting airlines through twitter is just as fast, if not faster, than calling an airline phone rep when you’re in the midst of air travel and need remediation of an issue.

I recall once I was on a flight to Dallas with a short connection time of 45 minutes. We were an hour late out of the gate in MIA so I knew landing in Dallas I’d have to rush to catch my connecting flight to Detroit. Yeah, it was a mileage run (newbs read here) but that’s not the point here. The point was that the moment we landed and were headed towards the arrival gate, I knew I was going to miss my connecting fight.

Passengers that were sitting next to me (also had connections) were frantically grabbing their cellphones to call the airline. A split second after landing, I pulled out my phone and went to Twitter to send a DM directly to the airline. I requested for help in moving me to the next flight out of Dallas to Detroit because I was going to miss my connecting flight.

I had anticipated this could be a possibility but still thought I could make it despite the one hour delay departing MIA. I was aware that there was one other flight leaving 2 hours after my missed connection flight so I asked the airline’s twitter team for that particular flight and provided them with my info.

It took 12-13 minutes from landing to arrival gate and by the time we were disembarking, the airline’s twitter team had already placed me on the next flight out to Detroit. Meanwhile, my fellow passengers were still on hold, waiting to connect with someone from the airline. As a good citizen, I told them to contact that airline’s twitter team but not everyone has a twitter account and not everyone is well-versed (nor do they want to be) in social media.

The Dilemma:

A month back I was notified via email that my upcoming September flight to Seattle for my last ballpark visit, had a schedule change. It was originally stated to depart at 7:30PM and now the new time of departure was 8:23PM. Those of you that are parents fully understand that when traveling with small kids, it’s important to choose optimal departure times (no early AM, no late PM departures) when flying across country. Our 8:23PM departure time would have us landing in Seattle just shy of midnight and with the time change, it would be past 3AM in our internal body clocks. That’s BRUTAL with kids!

I knew I had to change my flight. Usually when an airline notifies you of a schedule change, you’re able to call and be re-accommodated to another flight for the same date of travel.  A month ago I called the airline and the CSR basically told me I had a ton of flight options and he could re-book me into any of those options if I choose. No extra miles, no added cost, nothing, since the schedule change wasn’t my fault.

Fast forward to last week when I called the airline and was now being told a completely different story.

Me when dealing with airline phone reps

Since I had booked our flight with miles, in order to move us to another flight, there would have to be award availability for four people. Not just any award availability, saver level award availability which is the lowest amount of miles required to book. I could book regular rates but that would require a lot more miles.

Example: you book the lowest saver level at 12,500 miles one-way. Your flight schedule changes and now you want a new flight but there is no award space at the lowest saver level so you’re out of luck or you have to cough up a ton more miles per person if you want your preferred flight.

Saver Awards are the lowest amount of miles required from an airline’s award chart for a given route and class type

When I called last month, the process seemed so easy and the CSR was ready and willing to re-schedule us unto new flights. To increase the complexity of these airline rules, I was told on my recent call that because the flight schedule change from original flight time to new flight time was under an hour, they could not reallocate me to a different flight of my choosing unless I opted to pay more in miles.

There’s nothing that irks me more than conflicting customer service messages. One month ago I’m free as a bird with flight alternatives and now I’ve got road blocks ahead. Since I was having no success over the phone, I decided to take my issue to Twitter. I sent a DM over to the airline twitter team and told them my situation.

Here’s how the conversation went after explaining the issue to them:

You’ll notice I ask them why the conflicting responses? They stick to the script and tell me  that the most recent phone rep was correct and there does in fact need to be available award space. However, they would make a “one time exception” for us and offer us space into a flight that has no award space at the saver level (the level we need).

As you can see in the conversation above, I told them to proceed with re-booking us into the sole alternative they provided which had us leaving MIA at 3:39pm and arriving in Seattle at 9:28pm.

BUT, I still wasn’t content with the offered flight option so I questioned them on why if they are making a one-time exception, can’t that exception be for a preferred flight of my choosing? I mean if you’re creating space where there isn’t any and doing us “a favor”, may as well place us in our preferred flight, no? It’s definitely not the case of seat availability because I checked all my preferred flight options for seat availability and all of them were wide open. So why did they propose the 3:39pm option out of MIA and not any other flight alternatives?

Not sure why I wasn’t offered more flight options  for this “one-time exception” originally but magically a few minutes later, I received a DM from the airline offering two more flight options. Thankfully, one of the options was almost perfect so I told them I’d take the option that gets us into Seattle by 5PM. A much more viable option with small children than landing past midnight.

Conclusion:

Utilizing twitter when something goes wrong during air travel is the most effective way to seek guidance from the airlines. Some airline twitter teams are better than others but overall, I much rather send a quick tweet and get a prompt response than deal with long hold times and bad phone reps. For me, twitter is a MUST for frequent fliers and for the occasional issue that may arise when you’re flying for leisure or business.

 

Have you used Twitter to reach out to airlines for help?

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2 Comments

  1. Miguel @ The Rich Miser July 13, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you for this. I didn’t really have it in mind to try Twitter; I’ve always done the old-school voice call (and sometimes have been put on hold for a while, like the passengers on your flight).

    I also like that having things in writing creates a “paper trail” and eliminates misunderstandings.

    Next time I have an airline problem I’ll try Twitter!

    • DD Daddy July 13, 2017 at 10:22 pm

      Great to hear. It’s saved me countless times. See ya on twitter!

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