Have you tried to speaking with a customer service representative from an airline lately? A perfect storm of post-pandemic demand, scheduling changes, and staff shortages has resulted in frustrated customers waiting for hours on the phone to speak to an actual human. Fortunately, there are methods that can speed up the process—especially if you know how to navigate the airlines’ automated phone lines. Here’s how you can reduce your wait times.
Know how to navigate the phone lines
The Points Guy has a thorough airline-by-airline guide on the best way to find a live agent on various airlines’ automated customer support phone lines here. Many support lines are based on voice commands, and in most cases the quickest way to get through to a rep is by repeatedly saying “existing reservation” or “reservation” when prompted. Also, keep your reservation number or frequent flier number handy, as this can help speed up the call.
The support lines for Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines also offer a callback option that results in a rep calling you back at a certain time during business hours, within a seven-day period. By some accounts, this a speedy, convenient option.
Use social media as a last resort
If you’re not getting through to customer service, posting complaints on Facebook or Twitter can help expedite a resolution, too. Just remember that they’re public forums, so you shouldn’t share your reservation number or other personal information unless you’re in a private chat with a customer service rep. Also, be aware that some companies are better at responding to social media complaints than others, and that some are more likely to respond on Facebook than Twitter (Clark.com has a good breakdown of that here).
Lastly, if you’re truly desperate, and per The Points Guy’s advice, consider seeking out customer service at the airport itself. It will be a pain to drive out to there just to talk to a ticketing agent, but it might take less time than waiting for hours on the phone—especially if it’s an urgent matter.