Thursday, June 21, 2012

American Airlines, apology accepted

American's logo on one of its hangars at DFW

After I blogged about my experience being delayed at the Miami airport for more than five hours on May 20, American Airlines customer service and social media representatives reached out to me within  24 hours.

On May 22, American Airlines sent out an e-mail to all the passengers on Flight 231 apologizing for the delay and awarding each passenger a few thousand bonus Aadvantage miles.

Having an American representative listen to what I thought were the miscommunications during my flight delay helped defuse any remaining anger.  I was also happy to learn that American does take social media seriously and usually responds more effectively.

Annette Hernandez with American's Social Customer Service team called me, and said that they primarily receive positive comments for their responses via Twitter and Facebook.  "When customers tweet about situations as you described on Sunday, our usual practice is to immediately contact personnel at the airport.  Unfortunately, my team wasn’t responsive to your latter tweets to us and I’m truly sorry. The customer experience is very important to us and our goal is to respond to and help each customer who reaches out to us via Social. We’ve used your feedback to bring guidance to our team to ensure this doesn’t happen again," wrote Hernandez to me in a follow-up e-mail.  

How could I not give American another chance after that response?

Later when I checked out American's pages on Twitter and Facebook, the feedback did seem positive.  And today, when I checked American's Twitter page prior to posting this, I noticed that the tweetbacks during a couple of flight delays seemed far more responsive than the tweets I received in May.

Hernandez told me that the night my flight was delayed, Sunday, May 20, was the first Sunday that American had monitored social media. Prior to May 20, American only monitored social media Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

American Airlines now monitors social media from 6 a.m. to midnight daily.  Its Twitter handle is @AmericanAir and the airline's Facebook page can be found at:

Poor communication happens because we are all human after all.  I do hope, however, that the next time there is a delay, communication will be straight forward with the passengers from the outset rather than giving us a line over and over again about "cleaning the plane."  I told American that I had begun to think they were retrofitting the plane with shag carpeting or installing a jacuzzi.

After I was over my pique with American, I was once again eager to embrace any mileage earning opportunity.  And last week I learned how to score 100 bonus miles simply by visiting American's  "More Miles, More Smiles" campaign on Facebook.  By entering you earn miles and help the American Airlines Kids in NeedSM program, which benefits many children's organizations including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Each entry leads to a mileage donation from the airline to Kids in Need. More details are on American's Facebook page including the Summer Miles Sweepstakes in which Aadvantage members can win up to 100,000 miles.

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