The Power of Social Media to Fix Air Travel Problems

George Hobica, September 16, 2014
Fares from Washington DC:

    When Irene Liu, PR manager for Seabourn Cruise Lines (our fave cruise line, by the way) planned a trip from her home base in Seattle to Miami, she used Alaska Airlines miles to fly on American Airlines.

    There was a miscommunication between the two airlines, and when she tried to check in for her flight online 24 hours before departure, she was told to do so at the airport. Red flag! Of course, then and there she should have called either or both AA and Alaska ("lesson learned," says Liu in retrospect). At the airport, there was no seat for her. Trip aborted.

    But the good news is that Alaska Airlines took responsibility, in part thanks to the power of Twitter, using Alaska's Twitter account. Alaska deposited 40,000 miles into her frequent flyer account, and reimbursed her for non-refundable ground expenses in Miami.

    So two lessons: if you can't check in online before your flight, something's amiss. Don't deal with it when you get to the airport. And second, use Twitter to rectify problems after they occur.

    Related: How 10 airlines work with Twitter and how we'd grade them

    Above image via Shutterstock

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