How to Handle Airline Complaints Effectively



Airline complaints are on the rise as service standards are at their bottoms. With increasing downsizing due to cost cutting, mergers and other factors, airline staff moral is lower today than it has ever been in the past. In addition, airlines are just not making high quality hiring and training practices a priority in a tough market environment.

The competing priorities have led to less focus on service standards. As a result there are more airline complaints today than in the past. You see more families sue airlines today than in the past. There are more airline claims filed in Small Claim Courts today leading to increasing litigation.

When it comes to dealing with airline customer complaints, the best practice both then and even now is to go through the proper channels in a calm manner. In my experience this has always returned good results, not just when filing an airline passenger complaint, but also in many aspects of life.

If you have experienced a “minor” issue, it is best to start with emailing the airlines. Most airlines prefer this mode of communication today and most email addresses are readily available on the airline companies’ websites.

If you have a “bigger” issue, still start with email and then move to a phone conversation if your complaint is not resolved. At each step of the way make sure you document who you talk to, a summary of the discussion, date/time as well as retain any and all documents you have that support your complaint.

In the instance of most “major” problems that I have encountered I’d say 30% have been resolved between email and phone and unfortunately the remaining 70% were resolved in Small Claims Court. Yes – sometimes you just have to go a step further.

It may sound intimidating to you initially, but trust me it really isn’t. I have gone through it several times and each time have collected a few thousand dollars in the process. It is the last option but unfortunately because of ignorant and irresponsible airline staff behavior I’ve just had to. I am sure you will at some point – unless you choose not to pursue your claim and accept the answers and apologies you receive from the airlines.

The key message I want to convey in this short write up is that you must stay calm, respectful and maintain good documentation and records as you pursue your airline complaint. Sooner or later you will resolve it.



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