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Twitter Travel Woes: Complain With Success

Since the first passenger flight took off there has been some room for improvement with our airline, hotel and other travel-related friends. Rude flight/desk attendants, gates that suddenly close 10 minutes before they should, tarmac waiting games and lost, delayed or even stolen luggage have happened to us or someone we know. For many, Twitter has become our weapon of choice when dealing with unexpected travel woes, but there is a definite list of do’s and don’ts when you need answers. After asking our circle of travel mavens, we edited down this handy list that will place you closer to success and not at the back of the line.

1. Calm Down
You’re upset, we’ve established that and we understand. Now think about the situation and gather all of your facts and information so you know exactly what you want to communicate. Because anything is better than “Fuck @Airline!” when you are trying to get their assistance for something that you need.

Tip: After you’ve received your full itinerary for your flight, transportation, lodging, etc – put it in one place. Apps such as Trip It and World Mate are great for storing your confirmation numbers, dates and such all in chronological order automatically. And after you check in, you can also input more tracking numbers, etc. This way, should you have a mishap, you don’t have to fish for 5 different emails or pieces of paper.

2. Know Who To Speak To
With more and more air carriers, hotels and other travel vendors realizing the impact of social media led customer service, many are starting dedicated accounts just for handling their customer service. So before you go in on a brand, make sure you are actually speaking to the correct department.

Tip: For Twitter, create a dedicated list of your preferred carrier/vendor’s social media accounts to include their dedicated customer service handles. It will take 5 minutes and come in handy when you are on the road.

3. Be Clear & Concise
Remember you have 140 characters and EVERYONE else is tweeting the same company for something. Make your problem and expectation of service clear from the jump. Think: “My plane is delayed, help” or “This wait sucks” versus “My flight no.xxx is delayed, what are my options?” or “Been waiting on flight no.## to connect w/ gate for more than 30 min. What’s the deal @Airline?” For complicated matters or multiple-tweet worthy queries, request to DM in your initial reach out to the company. This shows that you are serious and ready to resolve. Also, DM’s are much easier to track for future reference.

4. Don’t Be That Girl
Going on a long 15-tweet long diatribe while mentioning the airline or hotel won’t get you anywhere but the back of the line. Especially if you haven’t received an initial reply from them yet. A reply can take more time than you expect to come depending on how the company staffs their social team. In the event that they can’t give you the answers you want, record it and move on to plan b. A monologue about how you will “tell everyone you know” and “never fly/stay/use them again” probably will produce an automated, measured apology with a link to a customer service number.

5. Use The Full Arsenal
Customer service telephone numbers haven’t been around for years as just a novelty, consider email, telephone and twitter your tools that work together. With airlines your best best is the telephone depending on the situation for more complex matters like flight delays and luggage fiascos. For more reactive and instant queries such as tarmac traffic twitter can be a godsend. For hotels, room issues should always be handled with a call to the front desk first as they are they only ones who can realistically help you. For service matters, it pays to hit the property directly, and use social accounts as a general backup. When in doubt, use all three as you will have three dedicated teams looking to resolve your issue than one.

Tip: For issues such as damaged or stolen luggage and goods, etc – you often have to be in the airport or hotel  to make your claim as a matter of policy. Also, having status shines in this department. With certain airlines and hoteliers, a benefit of having frequent guest/flyer status also includes a dedicated customer service team which can result in faster results and an overall better experience.

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington