Sure, there are more weather delays than ever and travel is slightly more complicated than it used to be, but when you can deal with most problems just by sending a tweet or Facebook message, you have to feel a bit lucky. Fortunately or unfortunately, the world is not all robots however, and sometimes we must sometimes pick up a phone or stand face to face with someone who may or may not want to help with our travel issues. Here’s how to deal like a pro and make the most of your troubles…

Hang Up Call Back

As with any job, there are some that are better at it than others. Unfortunately when it comes to travel problems, there are also some agents who are far more willing to help than others. If your complaint or request is within reason, yeah, you get to be the judge of that, don’t be afraid to take an unhelpful call, say “thanks for your effort”, hang up and call back. 

Example: Yesterday I called Virgin Atlantic. I had just changed to a different flight a mere couple hours before and thought it was in reason to move to another flight on the same day, from the same airport, without paying another $50 per person. Agent 1 told me that even though it was pending he had no choice but to charge me again. After hanging up, agent two changed me to the other flight without question… and of course, without further payment.

Thanks, But Supervisor…

Every travel company has a tree design for how to “kick things up the chain”. Since everyone is different, there’s no perfect answer, other than if you can’t get an answer or solution you need, get in touch with someone who actually has the power to make that level of decision and get you what you deserve. Be polite, don’t insult, just say thanks for trying, but I’ll need to speak to your supervisor or someone who can find a suitable solution to my problem…

Example: I recently booked an airline ticket and was ensured at booking that the plane featured a newly refreshed cabin. Upon taking the flight, of course, it did not, and therefore I really wanted and needed to change my flight home to see the new cabin. The front line agents did not have the power to comp the change fees to move me onto another flight, so I asked for a supervisor who was sympathetic and kicked things up to her supervisor to get the approval. Don’t give up…

Know The Rules Before You Chat…

The key to travel happiness is knowing what to expect and what you deserve in any situation. If you know your cancellation rules, change prices, baggage rates, hotel booking terms and other “fine print”, you’re far less likely to be disappointed. Being informed does more than just curb your enthusiasm, and sometimes knowing the exact rules can be the answer to getting what you’re entitled to, versus what they want to give you (less). 

Example: I once had a flight in Europe cancelled (not due to weather) and the airline offered nothing but an apology. Since it was their last flight of the day, I knew that I was entitled to more, in fact, I was entitled to a hotel room for the night and a meal. After explaining the finer points of passenger rights, I of course received both. Without that knowledge I would’ve gone home with a big fat zero… 

Social Media Really Can Be Useful…

Unless you’re a massive jazz fan, you probably hate waiting on the phone. Travel brands have fortunately made it easier than ever to resolve most issues with a tweet, Facebook message or even a SnapChat. I highly recommend taking to the social media universe as a first attempt to get your issue resolved. Airlines respond on average within 20 minutes, and of course unlike the phone you don’t have to listen to jazz for 19 of those until someone picks up. 

Example: I want to let a hotel know I’ll be arriving late and to please hold my room. I simply hop on twitter and exchange direct messages with the hotel, no effort required. Or perhaps I didn’t get miles for the last flight I took, I simply message the details to the airline and they take care of it…