Friday, January 06, 2006

The Squeaky Wheel

Instead of boring your friends and family with nightmarish travel stories, use those rhetorical skills to persuade "customer service" agents to give you free stuff. You'll be amazed at the concessions you can win. After a recent long-distance trip aboard Amtrak's Coast Starlight train (beautiful--I couldn't recommend it more), I phoned Amtrak to complain that the train lacked its promised first-class parlour car. After apologizing profusely, the agent mailed me a $100 voucher for future Amtrak travel. Delta recently did the same after a mechanical problem delayed my flight to California, forcing me to pay for an expensive cab ride.

Helpful hint: when you phone Amtrak or an airline, don't waste time talking to agents who can't give you what you want. If you're lodging a complaint, typically you need to do so with someone from customer relations or customer service. They can give you free stuff and do things with your future itineraries that other agents cannot. Beware of one thing, though: in most cases, airlines will compensate you if delays are mechanical, but if they're weather-related, you're screwed. More on how I learned that lesson in a future post.


Blogger Phlip said...

$100 vouchers - kick ass.

Good start to the blog!

8:12 AM  

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