Getting in touch with an airline or frequent flyer program can be frustrating – some airlines have amazing websites where you can get everything done and other airlines have downright awful websites where it is sometimes impossible to book a simple ticket. The same goes for their call centers – some airlines have amazing agents who help and understand what you need and other times… well, you are routed to the most incompetent people in the world.
What’s especially very frustrating is when you need to make an urgent change or if your flight was delayed or cancelled last minute, that’s when it is important to get in touch so you can resolve your query quickly. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get in touch with an airline or frequent flyer program these days, and some of those options are better than others.
Airline Website Self-Service Tools
Many airline websites let you change or cancel your ticket online without issue.. and then there are other airlines where you sometimes can’t even book a basic ticket. The first step to resolving your issue is trying to use the website and the tools available to you in the Manage My Booking section. If your ticket was not booked directly with the airline, you have to get in touch with whoever you booked your ticket with. Usually, airlines can only help last minute in the event of irregular operations if you booked your ticket with someone else.
If your ticket involves travel on multiple airlines, then things can get complicated. You always want to go to the original booking source first to make any adjustments, if needed.
Airline Call Centers
Some airline call centers are better than others – and some call centers have different wait times to reach an agent. For example, if there is huge snowstorm in the US, then the airlines’ US-based call centers will be backed-up with calls and the wait times will be long. In cases like this, try calling a foreign call center of the airline where wait times can be much shorter.
The same goes if you cannot get your issue resolved with one call center – try calling a different one, you can find the phone numbers on the airline websites, but you may need to switch your region first in order to get a different phone number. Some airlines allow you to save your place in the queue and they will ring you back when it is your turn – this can be a great feature.
More airlines are introducing online chat features whereby you can chat first with a bot who can sometimes help and if not, you would be connected with a live agent. This is often one of the better ways to get in touch as you can simply type out what you need. Some airlines also have dedicated emails depending on what you need – whether that is for frequent flyer inquiries or account management.
Note that the contact forms on the airline websites are different than emailing an airline directly at a dedicated email (which can be quicker). It often takes a long time for an airline to reply to a contact form whereas a direct email can be quicker. Not all airlines offer direct emails.
There are a few airlines out there that allow you to simply text them at a dedicated number – this is similar to the chat feature directly on their website.
Virtually all airlines are now on social media – you can often get your answers and solutions much quicker on a social media platform. All you need to do is direct message the airline with your name, confirmation number, and query – they will get back to you usually much quicker than if you were to contact the airline through other means.
Not everything can be done through social media (like payments, for example). So while your issue may be resolved, you could be asked to call in and provide the final information needed in order to complete your request.
All in All
There are many ways through which you can get in touch with an airline. I usually try one of the messaging options first and if my issue is more complex, I will try a phone call – but we know that always doesn’t work in ways it should. Hang up and call again is your friend – especially if you understand the rules and are sure you are correct. Simple queries can often be resolved via messaging the airline, but more complex ones, will require more of your time and perhaps contact through another way.
If you are in a situation where you need to get in touch urgently with an airline, there’s no harm in messaging the airline through all of the ways mentioned above – just be sure that only one person is helping you at a time as you can’t have multiple people working on the same reservation as it will mess up your booking. With more people flying, airlines are constantly adding new ways to get in touch with them – which helps them answer and process your queries faster.