If you’ve tried to fly this winter, chances are you’ve hit some weather-related delays or cancelations and ended up in line or on the phone waiting to speak to someone who could help you out. But odds are that you didn’t wait as long as the one Florida woman who spent six hours trapped on hold with American Airlines.
The woman tells Tampa’s FOX 13 that she was scheduled to fly from Kansas to Florida via Dallas on Sunday but received a text from American telling her that her flight had been canceled and she’d been rebooked on a Monday flight.
“I thought maybe 30 minutes, maybe an hour and two hours into it, I realized this is crazy but I’m not going to give up,” she recalls about the on-hold slog. “This really was horrible customer service. I just could not believe that I could not get through.”
And her wait didn’t end with the airline picking up. Instead, the caller bailed after wasting a quarter of a day.
She would have been better off going down the airport and getting in line. Not only does that ultimately put you in front of a real person who can’t hang up on you, but you also have a measurable way of figuring how long you’ll wait to speak to someone.
If you have to call, some travel-hackers claim that one way to improve your spot in the call queue is to remember your high school Spanish lessons. When you call the airline and have the option for a menu in Spanish, choose that (if you’re conversant enough to fumble your way through a phone tree en español). Or look to see if the airline has a dedicated number for Spanish-speaking customers. Since there are likely fewer people in these queues, you may get a human faster.
For its part, American is really sorry about the 6-hour hold.
“We apologize for the frustrating experience. It was a very challenging weekend due to extreme winter weather impacting the Dallas/Fort Worth area,” reads a statement from the airline. “American had more than 2,000 weather-related cancellations systemwide on Saturday and Sunday. We also had extended wait times in our reservations system and social media channels. We worked to re-accommodate customers as quickly as possible based on their individual travel plans.”