Have you ever had something go wrong while traveling by air? If you haven’t yet, you will. The whole industry has gotten so complex that the pieces and parts are bound to collide at some point.
So you wait in an endless line or on hold for what seems like hours only to be told, “I’m sorry; there’s nothing we can do to help you.”
But wait! There just may be. You’d be surprised how many airline ticket counter reps or phone customer service reps don’t know their own carrier’s policies.
This actually happened to me: The counter rep told me there was nothing she could do to help me when a flight got cancelled due to severe weather. The weather at my departure location, College Station, TX, was fine; the weather at my destination, San Diego, CA, was fine. But the weather in Houston where my plane was coming from wasn’t fine. The plane couldn’t get from Houston to College Station early enough to get me to San Diego that day. I was going to miss a full day of a conference I had paid dearly for.
I asked about getting on another of the airline’s planes and taking a more circuitous route, or switching to another airline. The rep said, “No, they could not do that.” While waiting in line with nothing to do, I had been reading the airline’s policy on my exact situation. The policy, in fact, said they were obligated to do one or the other–or a combination of both.
I told the rep and showed her what I found on the airline’s web site. She called her supervisor and with heads together and much tapping on the computer keyboard, they agreed I was right and helped me find a solution. Granted, I got a complete tour of the Western U.S. that day and into that evening, but I was able to attend the opening of the conference the next day.
It pays to know your rights and where to go to find them.
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