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How to Deal With Airline Customer Service

It’s rarely painless to contact an airline’s 1-800 customer service number, but AirTreks does recommend calling them first when making changes to a specific segment of your RTW trip. Why? Because they can bend rules, waive fees, and make things happen that travel agents sometimes can’t.

Travel agents (and our personal travel consultants) are beholden to the letter of the law and have to follow airlines rules, hard and fast. Airline staff, however, have direct access to their empty seats and can make exceptions.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the airline in question will.  Often they’ll direct you back to the agency responsible for issuing the tickets. At which point you’ll want to get in touch with customer service.

Keep in mind a couple things when calling the airlines to make changes to your flights:

  • Be patient: you may need to wait on hold for what seems like forever, but bear in mind the wait is usually so they can get approval from a busy supervisor.
  • Be courteous: barking at the person on the phone, or behind the counter, won’t help your case. Sure, the squeaky wheel does sometimes get the grease but it certainly won’t earn you any points if you need a favor. Contrary to popular belief, airline employees often do reward good manners.
  • Try back: if don’t get the answer you want the first time, call back and ask again. There’s no way to know the experience level of the person you get on the phone the first time around—they may be new and trying to follow the rules to the letter and not yet know about making exceptions. Calling back and getting a different person on the phone to help could pay off.

One final thing to remember when dealing with the airlines and their representatives,  polite perseverance works wonders.

Photo Credits: Ekaterina Pokrovsky

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