Business Law

How to Fly the Unfriendly Skies

We hear the nightmare stories told by weary travelers who took all they could take from an airline. From long check in lines to rude clerks, the airline industry receives its fair share of customer complaints. Of course, TSA bungling has made flying more of a tortuous ordeal than an efficient way to get from point A to point B.

Surprisingly, the airline industry does not rank on the top 10 list of worst industries for delivering customer service. However, if you fly for business or leisure, you can expect at some point to deal with a customer service issue. How you handle the customer service issue goes a long way towards determining how it resolves.

Take a deep breath, think of your happy place, and follow a few tips for getting your customer complaint resolved in your favor

Talk to the Employee Who Makes the Decisions

Let’s face it:  the employee behind the customer service counter does not have the power to make many on the spot decisions. He or she typically must confer with a manager to resolve your customer complaint. From lost luggage to damaged possessions, you need to determine who calls the shots and then gain access to the decision maker. Quickly explain the problem with the customer service clerk and then politely ask to speak with a supervisor.

The Key Word is “Politely”

Airports represent festering seeds of discontent that suddenly explode whenever we face the slightest of grievances. Screaming at a customer service clerk will not resolve your complaint; in fact, yelling might prolong the resolution to your problem. Most airline customer issues arise from unintentional acts, which mean a customer service employee most likely will listen to your complaint with an open mind. Keep that mind open by speaking in a low, controlled voice. Making your customer complaint personal does not help your case.

Blame is Not a Fun Game

What do you value more: Blaming an airline employee for your travel woe or getting the issue promptly fixed. The goal in the resolution of your customer service complaint is not to get the airline employee fired, but to get your customer service issue fixed immediately. It does not matter who sent your luggage on to Cleveland when you need your stuff in New Orleans. All that matters is someone with power has started the chain of events that retrieves your lost luggage. By not calling someone out for a mistake, you build the goodwill required to resolve your customer complaint.

Have an Open Mind

You might have a solution for your customer service problem. You might want the airline to increase your frequent mileage miles or upgrade your ticket to first class. Forget about what you want and remain flexible to any solution proposed by the employee who makes the decisions. Every airline customer service problem multiple solutions that appease frustrated travelers. You might receive a free service or a complimentary hotel room. In any case, refrain from making demands and listen to what the airline has to offer as a reward for your patience.

If you encounter an airline that does not present a reasonable solution to your customer service issue and the airline refuses to budge on its offer, simply walk away and avoid turning an already bad situation into a horrible mess. Escalating tensions over a dispute can lead to interaction with airport security personnel or worse, local and/or federal law enforcement personnel.

Handling a customer complaint at the airport the same way Steve Martine tried to deal with an airline issue in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles at the very least will get you banned from the airport. If you do not receive the satisfaction you deserve, contact a California attorney who has established a strong record litigating consumer protection cases.

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