Topic of the Week: American Eliminates Customer Relations Phone Number

American, Customer Service

Sounds like American has decided to eliminate its customer relations phone number. Note, this isn’t reservations. This is just for customer relations, which deals with problems. The website now shows you can use snail mail or email. Is this simply recognition of shifting consumer behavior toward electronic communication? Or does this suck? Let’s see what you think. (And if you’re willing, include your age range, because I’d imagine we’d see some big differences in age group behavior.)

Get Cranky in Your Inbox!

The airline industry moves fast. Sign up and get every Cranky post in your inbox for free.

68 comments on “Topic of the Week: American Eliminates Customer Relations Phone Number

  1. Annoying really. The problem with email or snail mail is you usually get some canned response in 5 to 7 days completely unrelated to what the issue was. Talking to some one actually allows you to find a solution or actually be heard. (hopefully) Unless it’s like United Airlines old Indian call center which made me want to punch a wall.

    But maybe American will do it right and staff competent people with a real ability to respond, but the pessimist in me really doubts that. Hopefully the merger will end up with some good suprises and improvements.

    I’m 28 years old by the way.

    1. I agree with “be heard” and really the human element of feeling as if you are “be[ing] heard”. Of course, as in any interaction between/among peoples the level of “hear[ing]” varies. To me it signals a deep dread of hearing directly from people as it prepares to merge systems which, as we saw in the case of UA, has the real potential of upsetting people.

      I’ll just say that i’m not + or – 5 years within the oneworldflyer’s age.

  2. I work in reseversations for US Airways and have been trained one of the few dual agents until the merger is complete. At a glance this may seem like it sucks, and believe me I loathe having to explain it to customers, but I really do believe it’s a good thing. It allows customers to make their case in writing, taking the time to include all relevant information, hopefully not in their moment of rage. That allows the customer service rep to calmly evaluate the entire situation without a frustrated customer yelling at them or at the very least breathing in their ear. It also gives them time to plead the case if they feel the customer is asking for something reasonable that they may need a supervisor to sign off on. Trust me, we really do want to do right by our customers. And nothing is nicer than getting a call to book a ticket for a customer whose problem has already been resolved. It may take longer, but the resolution is often far far better than if the customer service agent has to make a decision on the fly when he’s worried about the next call or his next break or clocking out on time.

    1. I totally agree with you on almost everything you said…but that is as a 33 year old consumer. My 70 year old mother, who just is learning how to text on the phone, isn’t going to figure this out. So guess who’s shoulders it will fall on if she has a customer service need. Thanks a lot guys, you just added to my workload :)

    2. Well said, and I think most of us here would probably agree with you, but, but, but all of this deserves context.

      Myself, 71 and retired, I have the time to compose and write letters, often with more detail than is necessary.

      I’m not sure younger customers/travelers have the time to write (I’ll reserve judgment that they know how to write, but…!). Being able to talk with someone, I would think is more convenient.

      Of course, that someone you could talk to should be one who speaks with a voice, a dialect if you will, you come to expect from a particular airline. In the day, talking with DL, the Georgia peach voice, you could cut it with a knife. You knew it was DL. My neighbor, she was German, and she nicely handled German-speaking US customers in their language.

      Today, well whatever!.

      BTW, this isn’t something having to do with April 1, is it?

    3. Guess the high cost of providing Valium for human responders has taken its toll…
      This is just a harbinger of what is to come..E mail ? What E mail ? must be ‘lost’ send again…
      Airlines are now worse than bus modem in both service and seating…
      I am a MM and 67 Y/O…and have seen this once supreme airline steadily decline to cattle status. Those ‘younger’ here have no idea of comparison…
      Burning my miles before drastic devaluation of all the CC ‘miles’ freely supplied without BIS inevitably occurs…

    4. I have to say, as someone who used the US Airways web refund request site, I’m less than optimistic. Unfortunately, due to a complete lack of response to my request for a refund, I was required to file a complaint with the DOT. Amazing how quickly I got my response at that point. I think this is less about an easier way for US to deal with complaints, and more of a way to discourage them.

    5. This is simply not the case. It is avoidance pure and simple. The notion that one can sit down and calmly type out the concerns of frequent maintenance issues, uncaring and unresponsive agents, and the like so American can digest them at their leisure is inane. You are in the service industry. So, serve.

  3. Thanks for your email. I have left the office today and will return on MONDAY April 6, 2015. If you need assistance with International fare quotes, please contact Robbie in the office.

  4. This is simply an attempt to save many and reduce the number of complaints they¹ll receive. Many people who would have phoned in now won¹t go to the effort of writing. What is short-sighted on the part of AA is that the people who don¹t take the time to write about their concerns will still be angry at AA about something.

  5. I think most large companies have layered so much bureaucracy into their systems, it is almost impossible to get any satisfaction from a customer service rep on the phone, so perhaps American is going to stop trying. Long wait times and understaffing, combined with a customer dislike for overseas call centers, might be creating more problems than it solves.

    Example of how this can actually work: While I haven’t had any problems with American, I had a Verizon issue that stretched on for five months with countless hours on the phone trying to get them to fix, what they admitted, was their own $400 billing error. Finally in desperation I took to Twitter. Within minutes I was direct messaging a rep who could immediately override all the red tape and remove the charge. Done. A friend of mine who is a consumer reporter in a major market television station says social media is now the single fastest way to get a problem resolved.

    I am over 50 and this is a major philosophical shift for me. But if it works, I can probably adjust. I think the real problems with this could unfold if people who are unable to resolve issues online are going to overwhelm agents at airport counters and gates. It will be interesting to see where American stands with this in six months.

  6. Saving money/tired of hearing bitching/moaning. Sucks a little, since you know the emails will go unanswered.

  7. Similar to Sean, I now take to Twitter in case of problems. Delta, AA, KLM and others are now really responsive in case of trouble or just simple questions. Plus I recently had a major booboo with Aetna Health Insurance, and none of the phone calls managed to solve it. The Aetna Twitterati though did. I am early 50’s.

  8. 49. I’ve had above average travel karma so I’ve never had to formerly complain to any airline. Hopefully I won’t in the future, but I have no problem voicing my concerns via email. Better than being on hold for an hour or more.

  9. I’m 29, and I’m not going to Twitter my problem, for a variety of reasons from my lack of data at the moment, lack of WiFi, not wanting to have to wait 10 minutes to 140 character a problem I can explain in 30 seconds. If Discover can have a 24 hour call center with no phone menu EVERY major corporation can do the same thing.

  10. It’s the old passenger/shareholder conundrum: Airline implements cost-cutting measures, pax get reduced services, shareholders see improved ROI. The irony, of course, is that many of us are both.

  11. Horrible idea – sometimes you need to talk to someone. I’m 70, so I remember when airlines at least pretended to serve their customers.

  12. Why wouldn’t they eliminate the phone line — AA has already eliminated Customer Service. Makes sense to me.

    I have been either Platinum or Executive Platinum for over 15 years, am Executive this year. They recently lost my bag on the first leg of a 10 days overseas trip and have never recovered it. Process awful and follow through non-existent and I have given up seeking any compensation. They are just awful, but frankly no one else except some international carriers are any better. It’s what consumers wanted (price as sole purchase criteria) and its what we got. Delta, United, etc. no better, so it is what it is, but despite my “loyalty”, no fan of AA or any of the others either.

    I know Cranky is a big fan of Parker, but me — not so much. From my perspective he took the worst of both (Arrogance of AA and service levels of US) and combined them.

    Thanks for listening!

  13. Like most things, it depends on how well they execute. If, like at Delta, a human being responds intelligently within a reasonable amount of time, it will be a good thing, for all the reasons that UStoAA suggested. If they don’t respond quickly, or if they respond with some sort of machine-scripted thing that picks out keywords, says its sorry 12 times but doesn’t address your issue, then it will suck. And they have to know how to prioritize and have some sort of mechanism for dealing with immediate issues, as opposed to bad stuff that happened on your last flight. Cranky, I’m old enough to be your mother, as you know, but I’m still hip.

  14. Doesn’t bother me at all. I haven’t used the number in years. I find it easier to email and/or snail mail if I need to include attachments. That way I get a written response that is dated and I can use later if needed. It may take a little longer to resolve the situation than via phone, but I find it more thorough. I’m 50 so I’m not a Millenial who grew up on electronic communication. I’ll also add that my 85 year old dad also prefers email as he has a hard time hearing and trying to explain his points over the phone can be frustrating. He emails all the time.

    Bottom line: no issues here. BTW, I think AA did a remarkable job merging the FF databases. It was a mammoth job and it seemingly went off without a hitch. Nice job.

  15. Hopefully for AA, the removal of the “immediate communication/gratification” phone option will not lead to an increase in ventings to the DOT. In general, people like having choices. The removal of a choice/option is, in itself, a removal of Customer freedom. But it does seem that the Twitter option described above will eventually become the de facto “complaint line,” as evidently a public spanking is more than ANY carrier can ignore.

  16. Sucks big time.  Age 71.  Cannot imagine a company putting a wall like that between customers and itself.  Just says company does not want to deal with customers.

  17. Alan in Seattle: Is it just my imagination or has the volume of complaints increased throughout the airline industry? A phone call usually got  a solution on the spot. Now, the customer service person is no longer empowered. An email works because you have real trail of your frustration. And you can reach many people in the airline, until you get a real solution. Oh, and by the way, I am 72, and am comfortable with new technology. Alan

  18. In a post-merger US airline industry, I think that the airlines realize that the only thing that they need to hear is your credit card number. Oh and they’ll charge you $25 to let you tell them the number instead of use a website to give it to them. This is just a cost cut and making it harder to hear a complaint that they don’t want to hear and probably won’t do anything about anyways — airlines pretty much deflect any and all responsibility anyways.

  19. I’ve worked with the public before and can tell people will say/act one way over the phone because it is over the phone. They wouldn’t say/act the same way face to face, so from the airline point of view this is a good thing. Writing/email can actually provide the airline with more accurate info since the person will usually write something ‘later’ and by then will have calmed down, or at least reread what they wrote and see it needs to be more clean. Also people tend not to ramble when typing but do when speaking to someone, so things can get done faster, then having to keep calling and explain everything all over again.

    My age range is between….. still using a flip phone but to young for Medicare.

  20. AA is not a transportation company they are a sales and marketing company and customer service is, therefore, irrelevant. These phone people are probably shifting to selling more tickets for flights which may or may not ever occur.

  21. 37. I don’t think eliminating a phone option entirely is a good idea, though for a somewhat different reason. I do taxes for a living, and have to deal frequently with federal and state bureaucracies, which frankly aren’t all that much different from the airlines. Normally, I operate on the “Rule of Two” for any bureaucratic organization – I always prefer to put an initial complaint or protest communication in writing, because then I have proof that yes, I did prepare and send a response within the specified time period on the correct form, and also, the organization can’t claim that a CSR “misspoke” or “misunderstood what I needed”. However, if I don’t receive a satisfactory response after the second letter, I try to find a human that I can explain the problem to, because by that point, it’s pretty obvious that whoever read my letters didn’t actually read them and is just sending me a canned cut-and-paste response. And that’s where I think the probability of failure lies; sometimes, you just have to find the right person and talk to them to point out that the CSR who sent the form letter isn’t actually addressing the issue you need addressed. Someone else suggested this might result in more people tying up the ticket counters at the airports, and I do think there’s some truth to that.

    Also, I just don’t particularly like the concept of requiring the use of something like Twitter if you want an immediate response. Some people (even younger people) just aren’t comfortable with social media for a variety of reasons, and I don’t they should be penalized with a longer response time just because they don’t want to or can’t tweet their problem.

  22. Kinda lousy but there’s a good chance the phone approach was lousy anyway, right? Off-shore call centers, endless “press 5 for … ” instructions, operators talking from a template and assuming your problem was *exactly *like those of a million others …

    If email can cut through some of the clutter, put someone more exactly on your issue, etc., then maybe it’s OK. Had a problem personally with web hosting recently and never thought of going on the phone for an hour and a half. Solving the problem extended over a couple days but actual *time spent *wasn’t egregious.

    One wrinkle: I wonder if corporate/high-level/frequent customers will still have phone access: any of us who knows CEOs knows the phone call when there’s a problem with the X and they want you to call someone RIGHT NOW.

    Age range: 40s

    Paul Hughes 949 833 8373 x236



    *One machine can do the workof fifty ordinary men. But no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.Elbert Hubbard* +

  23. 52. Unfortunately, American Airlines had found yet another way to hide behind a veil and not appropriately address legitimate customer issues. While I’m all for advancement and use of technology, certain items in life such as horrible travel issues at the fault of who you are paying cannot be addressed adequately by electronic communication only. This only reinforces why after flying American 25 years, I’ve switched to United.

    1. First, anyone with four million miles flying a single airline should receive free flights for life.

      Second, I think eliminating a customer relations phone number and call center staff is not a good move for an airline to make. It is bad publicity for the company, will enrage those with a problem that need to speak to someone to take care of it (and likely not even know how to turn a computer on, certainly not know how to e-mail or Twitter someone) and cause their most loyal customers (usually those over 60, the same cohort that purchases most first-class tickets and for the most part doesn’t know how to use a computer) to possibly switch to the competition in response — hint hint Parker. Just because I happen to know how to use a computer doesn’t mean most senior citizens do. The good news for Cranky is that American flyers will now subscribe to his flight monitoring service in droves, at least most senior citizens have kids and/or office staff that do know how to use the internet for that (which would not have to be done on the road unlike needing customer service). If I were Cranky I would also add a small call center with 1-800 number and staff to enroll these new customers without using the internet as well as advertise in Money, Forbes and AARP magazine with a note in large print that states what American has done with their CS number and that his company can replicate that service for a fee. An introductory letter to senior citizen CEOs at large companies would also be helpful, you can start with Rupert Murdoch at News Corp. and Sumner Redstone at Viacom (both age 85+). At least in Sumner’s case I know he flies commercial. Cranky would likely have so much business it would be coming out of his ears with a just little investment up front (probably less than $300K)!

  24. I’m surprised and think carriers will regret this if customers move to social media to get problems and complaints addressed, where it frequently happens for all to see. I work in a customer service environment where I take calls from people who can’t get a hold of airlines to solve issues. So, thanks AA for the increased workload (and job security) but, what a missed opportunity to engage with customers. A lot of these issues are important to customers due to lack of time between the issue and their flight, plus there’s a lot of back and forth/follow up questions that you just can’t get done efficiently with email. Lastly, there’s always a heartfelt ‘thank you’ at the end of those calls that AA and the others won’t be hearing any more. Too bad.

  25. At first glance I was surprised, but I realized as a 28 y/o I stopped phoning in complaints a while ago. I realized, as others have mentioned, I get a better response when I email my concerns. Usually the phone reps aren’t authorized to address my complaints or gloss over the meat of the issue. Instead I now put it in my words and send it off.

    Granted, I still get the same form answer the rep would have given me over the phone from the script in front of them, but at least my point was made.

  26. I am 82. I just got to learn text messaging on my phone. I don’t have email on it nor do I plan on putting it on the device. So if I run into a problem when traveling and I have to contact American I am now SOL? Screw them. I’ll move to Southwest who can be reached at (800) 435-9792.

    1. Hi Old Man – no, while you’re travelling you would still call AA Reservations on 800-433-7300 to sort anything mid-travel. Customer Relations is for after travel is complete and only if you have a complaint or compliment. Usually you don’t need to contact them but you can always use US mail if you need to.

  27. What are they thinking? I’m 66 years young. I have a flip phone. So what do I do now if I have a problem and I am not at home? Whatever idiot thought of this should be canned.

  28. All these old 40+somethings on this website. I may stop reading it altogether. I mean honestly. I have no opinion or anything relevant to say other than I’m 46 :)

  29. US to AA – this is the same prank that they did once the HP US merger was complete. pmUS had an excellent customer relations headed by Deborah Thompson. She was one of the first to go, because Doug and Co just don’t care about customers.

    In realty, all this allows AA to do is create a form letter responses and have it be on the way. It’s just like insurance companies, deny at first, most people will make one further attempt, and then after the 2nd denial, they’ll give up. This is exactly what Parker is doing to AA.

    Case in point about those form letter responses, I sent an email praising a flight crew, and I got a form letter response, except they had forgotten to fill in the merge fields, so I got the base letter only. There’s customer service for you.

  30. Long gone are the days when you called a company and a human answered, you explained the problem, they understood it, went and checked and same back to use with the issued fixed, all in a few mintues.

    Now some phone options don’t even give you a number to press to talk to a human and if you do get a human, that human doesn’t know what to do anyway. To many companies don’t want to train their employees to do the job and do it correctly so talking to a human doesn’t always help anyway.

  31. Wow….. I find the ‘put it in writing’ nuance is a huge middle finger.
    Moving to a twitter platform is more palpable bit still removes the ‘human element’. I have been on the receiving end of the Helpless Desk and it is true; many grievances are legitimate and CS staff ’empowerment’ for case resolution was nonexistent. Nothing kills your soul like explaining dis – service situations are due to ‘Company policy’ or ‘read the fine print’ for 40 hours a week. May as well change the number to 1800 PISSOFF because it was a place to vent and that was about the extent of our mission. However….our frustrated customers had their complaints heard (literally) and trending issues were monitored and eventually addressed. Does it cost $$$ to have a sounding board desk that pays staff to get yelled at with limited administrative commission? Of course.
    However is does generate good will among unhappy customers by keeping the human element in the loop on irregular events. No system is perfect and service delivery is bound to fail on occasion. The most effective part of a customer service system is how issues are resolved when expectations are not met.
    I’m 44, a 16 year flight attendant for a major airline and Ph.D. candidate in Organizational psychology.

  32. Good idea. If they have a legitimate gripe they can email or mail. Instead of some minute thing, such as coffee wasn’t hot enough or my seat was too small for my fat ass.


    1. Having a large derriere (I am over 400 pounds) and being forced to fly first class because of it (coach seats are way too narrow, I have enough trouble squeezing my “fat ***” into the first class seats) I say airlines should be forced via DOT or FAA regulation to have at minimum thirty inch wide seats. Most overweight people cannot help their size, it is caused by metabolic dysfunction and therefore it should be considered a disability and accommodated for by the airlines. While they are at it the DOT and FAA could reimplement full regulation of the airlines as was done before 1978. Base coach fares may have been higher but at least I didn’t feel like I was cattle being led to slaughter when I flew and I could fit my “fat ***” into the seats without paying $1000 extra for every round trip I took (no, domestic coach seats did not usually cost $1500 per round-trip even back then)! Also before deregulation coach flyers didn’t have to pay for meals and checked baggage when they flew (at least so far my first-class seat at least comes with a meal and a free checked bag although I don’t know for how long). If I didn’t have to put up with the airlines horse**** every time I flew (and pay out the nose to do it) maybe I would fly more than once in a blue moon! I will gladly pay $1000 for a coach cross-country round trip if I fit in the seats, not have to wrestle some pervert down after he shoves his hand inside of some poor woman’s skirt (Air Marshalls, anyone — there should be four required on every flight over 50 passengers especially after 9/11, two on regional jets), my bags aren’t lost on every other flight, I can get the seat belt buckled without two extensions and am treated with respect (and it would still be $500 cheaper than it is now for me). Until then I will make any trip I reasonably can with my car (yes, it is jumbo-size so I can get my fat *** in it, Francis) or if I travel heavily again buy a motorhome and use that (I did that once in my life already). There is no reason that costs have to be cut to the bone and people crammed into seats like cattle so some cheapskate can fly cross-country and back for $300!

  33. I think this is terrible to remove the option to call and speak with a customer relations/customer service rep. Even if American can only offer a limited timeframe to accept phone calls, then offer limited times. I deal with customer service and know that not every person can format their issue in writing. Sometimes you just have to talk it out as email cannot always capture the sensitivity of an issue. And there are people who still do not use email or are in a situation where a timely phone call may be more convenient and reliable. By the way, I’m in my mid-50’s. I really enjoy your newsletter/blog/whatever you kids call this. Great info.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

    1. Important: If you forward this email, please highlight and delete the forwarding history, including my address. It is a courtesy to me and others who do not wish their addresses to be sent all over the world. Deleting the history helps prevent “Spammers” from “harvesting” addresses and viruses from being spread. Use BBC for your addresses when forwarding to more than one person. This is a general rule and may not apply to all email’s you forward. Thank you.

  34. Even with all the horror stories of phone support, it still yields the best results. The reason is obvious: It’s one live person’s voice, speaking directly with another in real time.

    Email and other written forms of communication are notorious for causing miscommunications about tone and intent. There is also the lag time. Email is good though when you want a written record of what was said – to refer back to later or provide documentation of what was relayed, to communicate after hours and across the globe, and to make simple requests. It is also good for sharing complex information that does not require discussion or to just confirm details.

    I’m 52…

  35. At the same time you are writing your letter to AA be certain to include the Department of Transportation so that the complaints are appropriately logged to reflect American Airlines lack of customer service. I think this will backfire on AA because somestimes there are genuinely effective customer service representatives that can handle the problem and do it in a manner that the customer appreciates. Responding by a letter to a customer leaves an uncaring and cold manner in which to address a concern expressed by a customer. Now AA can eliminate more jobs and send form letters.

  36. I’m pushing 50, and I’d much rather send a quick email than to wait endlessly on the phone for hours waiting to talk to someone who in most cases can’t solve the issue anyway. There are plenty of times that I don’t have time to call, or wait on hold, or I’m sitting in an airport terminal with all the noise – in my opinion, email works best.

    One of the biggest mistakes Amex made when they discontinued their “secure message” platform a few years ago was to replace it eventually, with some “online chat” feature (that only randomly pops up if your logged into your account), with worthless, outsourced reps who also have no authority to do anything other than apologize and reply with smileys.

  37. I’m 65 and work as a customer service agent** for a major U.S. airline. I also worked in reservations for many years prior to working at the airport. I think getting rid of one on one contact for customer relations is a wrong. Just another case of dumping on the passenger……figure it out on your own. Every problem becomes the proverbial hot potato getting tossed from one person to another.

    And why do people have to resort to Facebook and Twitter to get something done ?? I’m not on Facebook and Twitter. I’m not messaging some 20 year old to try to explain an involved problem in 1-2 sentences and then I have to “hope” someone gets back to me and with the right information?

    **I’ve starred my job title because it is truly a joke. We are told to just keep people moving, shove them to the kiosks or telephones if any problems happen. I refuse to do it. I actually had a supervisor reprimand me for taking the time with involved passenger issues (as they were happening); ie., missing reservations, late for flights, all kinds of ticketing issues. I always talk my way out of it by reminding them that I want to give GOOD customer service! They don’t want us to get involved, if that makes any sense. Basically my job function (for $25/hour) is to be an information giver…..just show them what buttons to push on the kiosk or tell them was phone call to make as I pass the buck. Agents like me are diminishing quickly. People hired in the past 10+ years or less don’t have a clue what we did before that to actually HELP people. We owned the problem and stayed with it till solved. Good luck, people. Call centers, Customer Relation contacts, you’re on your own. All sarcasm aside, I really, really feel for passengers having to struggle through problems (on the run).

  38. It might be recognition of the additional medical care required for employees who are continually and personally insulted by customers who have had a bad experience. No one calls for any other reason. It’s probably as bad or worse than road rage. I also feel for airport agents who have to deal with it face to face. They have to take it and be courteous in return.

  39. Well, once again, it’s a move to reduce head count there. Computers and snail mail don’t collect salaries nor incur health benefit costs. Just another example of de-personalization of dealing with customers. And this from an industry that should be going the extra mile to please customers, and now they are doing just the opposite.

    These days, most airlines, as well as other companies, are working toward a goal of having just two employees: A CEO and a Treasurer to count the $$, all other current positions to be automated.

    I’m 77 years old, Lifetime Gold Card Million-Miler on AA.

    Oscar Quasi

    1. Oscar, if that million miles is on one airline you should receive free flights for life from them! Last time I flew close to cross-country (that would be GRR to either SFO or LAX) I think it was about 2600 miles. It would take approximately 384 of these flights for me to fly one million miles (that would be assuming I were blindly loyal to one airline flying them)! I think I can honestly say I will not fly that much in my lifetime!

  40. So we are now supposed to go to a person at kiosk? At ORD the ones in the red blazers are not even AA employees and almost every I had an issue they would tell me to go to a kiosk and then they would be gone. How much $$$ will AA save in the long run if they begin to lose business from some of us.

    And Cranky I am 49 and I do not have a Twitter or Facebook account. I hate air travel even more. Time to use Amtrak or my car more than dealing with this.

  41. Is this something where a complaint can be filed with the Department of Transportation? I am a 36 professional woman and I hate to see another channel of customer service close. And no I will not accept it!!

  42. I’m closer to 40 than 35 and more often than not would rather send an email than wait on hold for 30 minutes just to have someone read to me a formulated response from pre-written list of responses.

    Can’t comment on AA but not too long ago complained to DL via email. It wasn’t a major complaint but one where the gate agents didn’t follow Delta standard protocol and it was more a “what the hell” annoyance than anything. To my surprise they actually responded with a personal letter and then threw some sky pesos my way. Awards program aside, DL really does seem to be doing a good job via email.

    *IF (big if) AA can do the same I don’t think dropping the phone # is a big deal. Just over lunch had a discussion about how fax machines are disappearing. 800# cust. service gateways will be too. It’s progress people.

  43. Bad news from my perspective (68 yrs old). I know how to use Email but have a bad experience w. the late, faceless, canned answers… I like to have options and use the appropriate one for the situation. Lack of direct capability to reach Customer Service w. an 800 # is showing that AA is building a fortress around itself.. This is not “progress”, this is distancing, keeping your customers as far away from you as you can…

  44. AA may empower the Reservations Agents to do more customer friendly problem solving; they should since Reservations will be the only personal contact available. I wonder if Advantage customer service will eventually be cut.
    On the flip side, SWA continues to publish a customer relations number, and started accepting e-mails a few years ago.

  45. I’m ok with it. After spending over an hour on hold with another department at AA this week, I’d probably be in an even worse mood if I were calling in a complaint.

    Also, nothing I’ve seen here says you’ll never talk to a human. You just have to initiate the conversation in writing. I’m sure that for more complex issues, AA will pick up the phone and call the customer to discuss what can’t be done in writing.

    From an ADA perspective, is this possibly discrimination towards the blind?….

  46. This seems more ridiculous than the April Fool’s post, but apparently it’s real.

    I think it’s ridiculous. Talking on the phone is much faster and easier than typing out an e-mail and waiting for an answer that may or may not come.

    I’m in my late 20s.

  47. OK, from reading this post (and its link), it looks like AA has just stopped publishing the Customer Service Phone Number on their website. It doesn’t mean they have turned off their number. For those of you, who have used it in the past or frequently, they may already have the number saved in their phone.

    Maybe it can be shared here for future use by others who have read this post.

  48. I am a 67 yr old retired IT MBA professional. American has to remember that they have a Customer Service to handle all of their customers and all of the problems. Not all have computers nor smart phones. Not all feel comfortable handwriting a snail mail. Not all can wait for a non Customer Service staff member to handle their problems. How many problems occur at the local airport vs a foreign airport or even an airport 100 miles from home. With the merge can it be said that everyone has undergone Customer Service training according to today’s standards.

    It just sounds as if American does not want to be pro-active to problems at hand. It would be interesting to research how well and often problems are resolved when the customer is not in your ear.

    Maybe American does not think they are in the Customer Service business, or they will charge you to talk to a live person in the future.

  49. I don’t see why anyone would call for a customer service issue after the fact. Venting never gets you far. It’s easier to get over the issue and then type out your thoughts clearly on the customer service webpage. Plus, the customer service person then can read your thoughts and come up with an answer and compensation for your inconvenience.

  50. I think it’s a terrible decision. I have RARELY had a question answered satisfactorily when I emailed my complailnt. Most times the person handling my email takes the first word they recognise and write a response to that, ignoring the rest of the message. The number of times I’ve had a phone support call and explained the problem, and had the person in the call centre say “so your problem is …” and have it totally wrong. Often I’ve had to repeat my problem 3 or 4 times before they’re working on the actual problem, rather than some non-existent problem that they have a boilerplate answer ready for.

  51. 31. I tend to try electronic communuications first, so if I am to the point of making a phone call, it means that something unusual went wrong that the electronic platform couldn’t handle. When this happens with other companies, I (and many others) will inevitably call any phone number I can find and go from there.

    That said, I like the idea of having a possibly contentious process fully documented.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cranky Flier