When there are problems with airline tickets, humans are often the best solution. As much as carriers tout their automatic rebooking programs, those programs are limited and not very creative. On the other hand, some airline reservationists are either equally uncreative or unwilling to be helpful. When dealing with an intractable agent, it’s easy to get frustrated. In such situations, the best solution is to – politely – say some variation of, “Thank you for trying,” hang up the phone, and call back.
For travelers whose flights are canceled, as unpleasant as the experience may be, at least the process with tickets is straightforward — the airline will refund the money. However, it’s generally not automatic and you or your travel agent will need to ask and/or process the refund.
As frequent fliers and Travelers United readers know, code-share flights are usually one of the banes of the travel industry. While they’re great for airline marketing, in general with issues of connections, seats, baggage, etc. they tend to be problematic for consumers. It’s not just the which-airline-am-I-flying confusion. Simply put, airlines just don’t treat someone booked on a code-share flight the same as someone booked on their “own” flights.
Those of us who live near San Francisco don’t get much sympathy from the rest of the United States when it comes to weather. But this year, one of the rainiest on records has been especially frustrating for travelers and travel agents alike. Because San Francisco International Airport has parallel runways, it doesn’t take that much rain, clouds and/or wind to stop two planes landing at the same time. And delays, bad enough in a moderate storm, can quickly turn into travel nightmares in a big one. This is when alternative airports can be a Godsend.
When there are delays and cancellations, the airline/travel agent relationship gets more complicated. Yes, travel agents routinely help clients find alternate flights, which saves the airlines time. When travelers are unhappy with the automatic rebooking options or when the automatic programs can’t find options, humans can be a lot more creative than machines. That’s mostly a good thing for airlines, except when it costs them money.