a person holding a phone

And now I’m addicted…

The thing about many travel brands, is that they force you to do business on their terms. You can’t just get in touch the way you would a friend, or colleague, and frankly, that can be annoying. Jazz music on hold is as cool as never, and “your call is important to us” is as insulting as ever. By and large, we’ve moved to a world of mobile communication and voice is hardly the only way.

Today, I finally experienced an airline embracing that. I completed a series of transactions and account dealings with Virgin Atlantic, purely via text, and it was the most calming customer service experience I think I’ve ever encountered…

a couple of women wearing red uniforms holding drinksBecause I, just like you, have other things to do with my time, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the option of communicating with Virgin Atlantic via text. It sounded appealing at first, but I was almost positive that it was going to be more headache than it was worth. It wasn’t.

Within minutes of sending a text I was connected with a dedicated agent, who was even kind enough to send a smiley face emoji to let me know they were happy to assist. After a brief verification of my essential details, I was able to complete a variety of tasks, including a mileage transaction and an account amendment. These are things which even over the phone, could’ve perhaps required more than one agent, but over message, it was all ok.

Was it as fast as a brief conversation on the phone? Perhaps not, but it was better. I’d send a message, go back to what I was doing, wait for a reply, send another message, go back to what I was doing and then a few minutes later, a positive result. I was able to keep writing articles like these, flip an omelette and all the other things I wanted to do.

Even better, when it came time to actually complete a financial transaction, I was sent a secured web link I could open from the text, which allowed me to pay without giving my secured credit card details over to the agent, or worse – blabbering them over the phone in a room with other people. The safety of this alone felt worthwhile.

My amusement caught the eye of someone who appears to be in the customer experience, customer service business who noted that the smart brands are embracing this trend. This same text help is being introduced over Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and other platforms where people feel in their element, and would love help.

I can’t wait to see it from more airlines, hotels and travel businesses.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. “flip an omelet..” LOL.
    BTW, Delta is good like this too. They are Virgin are morphing into one….

  2. I agree that Delta does a good job of this also. TK, HORRIBLE!

    On an side note, no matter whose link I click on from The Boarding Area, within about 20 seconds I, and I know of a few others, are connected from the article being read to a spam link. TBA may have a bug.

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