Even seasoned travelers need a reminder once in awhile that it simply does not pay to argue with an airline agent.
I’ll admit it. I argued with an airline call center employee yesterday. It happens to the best of us. I should have known better. But I’m telling you: resist the urge.
The situation: one of my employees was traveling from Newark to Los Angeles on United Airlines. His flight was delayed. The ticket was issued by Aeroplan (Air Canada).
Under these circumstances, United is on the hook to rebook him even though Air Canada issued the ticket. In checking in for the flight, United had taken control of the ticket and become responsible for getting him to his final destination.
I would have made the change online, but the app wasn’t providing any later options. Presumably, this was because there was no saver (X) award space on the later flights. The later flights were not sold out.
The Phone Call
So I called United and was connected to the Premier Desk. I provided the United record locator and asked for accommodation on a later flight. The agent was gruff.
AGENT: “SORRY SIR! WE CANNOT DO THAT!”
AGENT: This isn’t out ticket! You need to call Air Canada.
ME: This is indeed issued by Air Canada, but it is your problem now. He’s checked in and you’re responsible for re-accomdoating him due to your mechanical delay.
AGENT: No. You need to call Air Canada. I cannot help you.
ME: This is absurd. Let me talk to a supervisor.
AGENT: I’ve done this for many years. Don’t try to tell me how to do my job. No one is going to be able to help you here.
ME: Transfer me to your supervisor, please.
AGENT: I won’t do it. You need to call Air Canada.
ME: So you won’t transfer me to an supervisor?
AGENT: Fine. One moment.
She put me on hold and I suspect she had no intention of transferring me to a supervisor. I waited on hold for about 15 minutes without an update, then just hung up.
I called back. Within 30 seconds he was rebooked on a later flight…
Just resist the urge to argue. It’s never worthwhile. Hang up and call again.