As most of you know I had to write a complaint to United Airlines for their crappy service on my recent flight with them. It was my first time on their airline and they left a bad taste in my mouth. They delayed my flight by a few hours, which made me spend less time with a good friend from high school and I missed the first half of the Super Bowl. You can read about my complaint letter to United airlines from my previous post, and this was their response.
I requested that they give me a flight voucher to give them another try, but they rejected that request and left me with 7,000 miles. That equates to almost a fourth of what I had requested of them. I’m not sure if that is their normal ratio of how much they give based on your request, but I truly felt like my request was merited. They totally blew it and it was my first time with them. I’ll take the 7,000 miles gladly, but am rather disappointed that they didn’t hand over the voucher.
When American Airlines made us late as a result of a mechanical problem on a plane they gave me 10,000 AAdvantage miles for that complaint. You never know what you can get unless you look into it. If the airline makes your life a living hell, make sure you let them know. They sometimes will hook you up with stuff to make you feel better. Although I’m bummed that they gave me only 7,000 Mileage Plus Miles for the problems it is still 7,000 miles more than I had before writing the request.
Let’s go through a few steps on how to write a successful complaint to an airline.
- Have a legitimate reason to complain. Don’t expect to get a free international flight voucher for having a magazine where someone had already completed the Sodoku. If you missed a connecting flight, lost a bag, or something major then write up your complaint.
- Keep as Much Information as Possible Keep the lost bag claim number, your flight number, the names of the employees who helped you and the names of those who offended you. They are going to want to know the baggage claim number in order for them to legitimize your claim. If you tell them that your bag showed up three weeks later, but in reality it arrive one hour after the flight, then they will be able to verify that information.
- Your Letter Remember that real people will respond to you. They have a heart too. If you start your letter cursing them then they might not be so inclined to help you. If you start the letter explaining how much you love their company and how often you fly with them, then they are probably more likely to help you out. Explain how much you love them and then let them know how they have let you down. This is crucial because you want the airliner to think twice before they leave you in the cold.
- Know the Rules. If you missed your flight because of a snowstorm then don’t expect too much from them. They probably won’t be awarding you any points or vouchers if the root of your problem was Mother Nature. Mechanical issues are better to report than the snowstorm that came through town yesterday. Keep in mind that the “crew rest” is not the airlines’ rule, so even if a flight gets in late because of a mechanical issue from the night before, you need to emphasize the mechanical issue instead of the “crew rest” rule.
- Ask For It. You’ll never get anything unless you ask for it. When writing a complaint to an airliner you always want to give them the wish list. It might end up like Santa Clause where you probably won’t get the new car that you wanted, but you might get some wiper blades. Make the request realistic, but them hope for the best. Explain that their gesture will help you feel better about their poor service and will keep your allegiance to their company. Remind them again how great of a customer that you are.
You’re not always going to get what you ask for from the airline as a result of the complaint, but you might get something, which is much better than nothing. Here are some links to each of the largest airlines in the United States. Use these links to submit your complaints.
We would love to hear your success stories of complaining and the points or vouchers that you’ve received. Leave us a message and let us know how you made off like a bandit!