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How to use Twitter for airline complaints

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As any frequent traveller knows, when you make a complaint to an airline, it often seems like you’re yelling into a black hole. 


If you manage to get through to a customer service agent on the phone, you may get passed on to a supervisor (who may or not be able to help). If you email or write a letter, you may get some kind of form response that tells you how important you are to the airline and that they will get back to you, and then never hear anything from you again. 


Reaching out on Twitter, however, often gets a prompt response and solves your problem in a more timely manner …


Ignore protocol


Airlines don’t want you to complain about them on Twitter. In fact, the bio on some airlines actively discourages you from doing that and says they won’t respond to complaints. 


This isn’t true, though — they would just much prefer that you didn’t make your complaint public so that everyone can pile on in your defence and force them to respond. 


Feel free to ignore their instructions and tweet away, because when you’re dealing with flight delays and other airline frustrations, you need to use the most effective way possible of getting things fixed … and that may well be Twitter.


Don’t tweet like a jerk


No matter how annoyed you may be at that moment, you need to tweet at the airline in a respectful way to get the response you need. 


Something like, “Hey @aircanada my flight got cancelled, and I’m stuck at LHW. There’s a 2hr wait to talk to customer service and your desk here is closed. Can you help?” is going to get a much better response than “Hey @aircanada you suck, yet again, and I’m stuck at LHR. Get me out of here!!!” 


The poor schmuck running the airline’s social media accounts doesn’t need your abuse, and it makes it way harder for them to come back with a solution if you’re overly aggressive and rude. Be polite, and remember the old adage that you get more flies with honey than with vinegar. 


Amplify your message


Though there’s no data backing this up, it is highly likely that an airline is going to reply faster to someone with a verified account and tons of followers. If Kim Kardashian tweeted about an airline letting her down, no doubt that issue would be fixed pronto. 


Don’t have a verified account or thousands of followers? Tap into your network and ask friends to help. Send them a DM asking them to RT your message, and start a chain that is bound to get the airline’s attention. 


There’s no hard and fast rules about what an airline can or will do for you when you complain through social media, but you only need to scan airline Twitter feeds to see how often they do come to the aid of stranded travellers, offer discount codes and coupons, or give advice way faster than if you’d make a call (assuming that you could even get through on the phone). 


While Twitter might not be the first place you think to lodge a complaint, this unusual method of reaching out could be your best bet next time you need an airline’s assistance. Safe travels!

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