Would you rather wait on hold for four hours on a repetitive phone line or drive 45 minutes to the location to get assistance in person? Brian Driver, a radio station manager in Denver, Colorado, decided on the latter option after a frustrating long call with no live agent to respond to the issue.
Driver had a business trip booked with American Airlines and he needed help with a flight modification to his current itinerary. His return flight would need to be adjusted two days earlier after a change in business events.
Initially, he attempted to adjust the flight itinerary on the website and mobile app but was unable to do so. As a last resort, he called American Airlines’ customer service line. There was an estimated callback time of eight hours.
Diver received the call in the middle of the night at 1:38 am — everyone’s preferred time to chat with a customer service agent. Luckily, the sleep deprivation was worth it and he booked a new flight with the help of an online agent.
Later on, Diver realized that he was unable to book his preferred seats on the flight. He called the airlines and was on hold for three hours and 45 minutes to speak to a customer service representative. The wait tested his patience and Diver had enough of online agents. He dropped the phone and grabbed the car keys to drive to speak with someone in person.
He drove 45 minutes to Denver International Airport for more immediate assistance.
When describing his booking challenges, he said, “This has been by far the worst airline call center experience I’ve ever had.”
A spokesperson for American Airlines said: “Hold times in June were the highest it has seen in recent weeks and were caused by widespread weather and ATC (air-traffic control) issues. These challenges, combined with an anomaly in this customer’s booking, resulted in an experience that did not meet what we aim to deliver for our customers.”
On the flip side, according to American Airline representatives, hold times are significantly lower now. Customers can enjoy phone wait times that are not almost as long as the duration of the scheduled flights.