The 1 Change in This Hobby that Would Make EVERYONE Happy

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The 1 Change in This Hobby that Would Make EVERYONE Happy

The 1 Change in This Hobby that Would Make EVERYONE Happy

I want to point out the obvious: there’s 1 simple change that airlines and hotels could make that would make EVERYONE happy. We’re talking customers and employees. Even the big-whig CEOs would be happy. If nothing else, let’s hope this happens for 2022. It’s overdue.

1 Change to Make Everyone Happy: Eliminate Needless Phone Calls

The headline says it: the 1 change that would make everyone happy is eliminating pointless phone calls. Let’s look at some examples of “Why do I have to call for this? Why can’t I do it online?” That’s the type of stuff I’m talking about.

Example 1 – British Airways

If you make a booking with Avios from British Airways and then cancel it, you get a voucher. But not just any voucher. You can Avios-plus-cash voucher (valid for your Avios and the taxes/fees you paid). Congratulations, you can’t use this online! If it’s just a cash voucher, you can use it online. But not an Avios voucher. And why don’t they just refund the Avios to make life simpler for everyone?

In the past, BA would let you make a new booking with this voucher via Twitter. Not now. First, good luck even getting their Twitter team to reply to you. Read the tweets people are sending them lately. These mirror my “Still waiting for a reply, it’s been 10 days!” experience. And BA’s phone system hangs up on you after 2 hours of waiting.

This brings us back to the point: why do we need to call for this? It just clogs up the already-super-clogged phone lines.

Example 2 – Singapore Airlines

Singapore is getting a 2-for-1 here.

Firstly, if you have a partner award booking with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, you can’t manage it online. No changes or cancellations on the website — you must call. That’s just silly.

Secondly, I got an email that an upcoming itinerary I booked with KrisFlyer miles had a schedule change. Now, my layover is too short. The email says they moved us from our original connecting flight onto a later one, in order to make the connection time sufficient. OK.

But here’s the kicker: “We request you to kindly call our reservations as soon as possible to make the changes to avoid auto cancellation of the flight.” What? Why do I need to call? Going into the website and clicking “accept” should be sufficient. United Airlines even has an option for “Don’t accept, pick something else” on its website.

Example 3 – Hilton

Notwithstanding its “view them online…just kidding” policy on free night awards, the fact you have to call Hilton to use these is hilarious. It’s 2022. I can use free night awards from other hotel chains without a phone call. Hilton should fix this.

Final Thoughts

Eliminating these pointless phone calls is 1 change that would make everyone happy. I’m sure we can all agree on this. Employees and customers alike would be happier. First, it makes bookings easier to accomplish. Second, phone queues would be massively shorter, since phone calls would only be for necessary items. That makes customers happier, saves time and money for the companies, etc. Third, stress on all sides would go down.

2022 is here, and this is the belated Christmas present I’m hoping for. But I won’t hold my breath.

Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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13 COMMENTS

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Waiting over an hour and having the call dropped is such an annoying waste of time. If Southwest can tell you that rather than wait on hold they can call you back in approx 40 min why can’t all do that. I hate when my phone battery runs out while on a super long hold.

  2. Read the headline & thought ‘never having to talk on the phone again’, wasn’t far off.

    Re the BA voucher nonsense: I’ve heard it’s possible to get these turned back into Avios via phone or twitter but haven’t tried it myself.

  3. Don’t some of these points bloggers offer a service booking flights, hotels? Wouldn’t it be better to pay them the $100. and they can do all this customer service for you. That’s what they are for…right? Just wondering?

  4. Iberia is the worst. Can’t make any changes. Have to call. Phone holds and long and the agents are not very helpful. Terrible service.

  5. OMG great article! Here’s my list – can’t change a Wyndham points reservation, can only cancel and rebook, cannot modify a Southwest reservation (for example take one person off an itinerary for three), can’t modify an Amex FHR reservation (dates only), can’t modify an American Airlines web special but can modify a non-special, can’t rebook a voucher for US Bank travel on American Airline without calling, seeing a trend here??

  6. I experienced BA and Singapore issues myself the past two weeks. I was supposed to take a trip to Austin on Friday on Alaska Airlines using BA Avios. I had to cancel and spent the past two weeks about 10+ hours total trying to reach them to cancel and couldn’t get through. Finally I just canceled myself online to get the voucher, then had to keep calling and finally got through to have them reinstate the Avios to my account.
    Singapore is a nightmare because their partner awards on United Airlines are still pricing incorrectly at double the cost if there is a layover (has been an ongoing issue for over a year). Instead of 12,500 miles they get priced at 25,000 miles. I was trying to book a round tip recently with one way having a stopover. I tried calling which takes forever and when I got through they logged a ticket on two separate occasions and said someone from the technical team would call me back to assist but no one ever did. It takes forever to get through to them in the first place. I ended up booking only one way non stop for 12,500 miles and for the other one way with a stop over I just paid cash as it was sub $100. It’s just very annoying it’s been over a year and they still can’t get the simple glitch fixed.

  7. 1. Please allow me to add someone else online to a Marriott or Hyatt res
    2. Link a Hyatt Free Night Award res to another res online
    3. Substitute a FNA online for an existing Marriott or Hyatt or Hilton res

  8. I’ve got a couple to add. Marriott, they allow you to share points only you have to call in and sit in hold to do it. A total waste is time.

    Virgin Atlantic…. Can book online but have to call to cancel/have miles reinstated.

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