Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
This has not been a good week for Delta. They had their Facebook page hacked and then on the same day had a period of time where Delta.com and the Fly Delta APP just did not work at all (for about an hour or so).
Boy, you never want to see that kind of screen on a major airline’s home page. Even funnier, sorta, was that if you clicked on the “report this error” link, it took you back to this page.
But how can this be a good thing for you? How can a company’s IT and other problems help you? Well their technology issues can save you money. Take a look at the opening photo from the @DeltaAssist page. If you do not hold status with an airline normally there are fees for booking over the phone. It would be nice not to have to pay that.
You may say – so what – if the web site was up I could do it no fee so where is the savings? Well, this is where planning and timing comes into play. There are a great many things a phone rep can do and pull off that Delta.com, as well as many other web sites, can not do. For example, booking point by point or segment by segment awards. Now I know with the site down you can not actively look for that segment by segment space, but if you have searched in advance, and know the routes that often have space at say LEVEL 1, you can “walk” the rep through the booking process to get those seats. That is ask:
Do you see LEVEL 1 space from A-B (wait for a yes)
Do you see LEVEL 1 space from B-C (wait for a yes)
Do you see LEVEL 1 space from C-D (wait for a yes)
And then simply get someone in power to make it happen. It may mean “divorcing” segments or pushing through a reservation or getting ticketing or a supervisor to override and make it work. It takes work and effort but when there are IT issues going on they are even more likely to just do what you want and make you go away. As long as you win – you are happy!
What else? As I talked about earlier today, there are many times when IT bugs and glitches pop up and prevent you from getting whatever it is you want booked. This can be another opportunity to not just get fees waived, but get a route you could not otherwise get. Again, their pain = your gain!
This can even work in your favor for things other than airlines. There can be situations where you can get a hotel room upgrade or car upgrade since you were not able to book online and use whatever discount code you had. Many times you can get the same price you were seeking AND some kind of upgrade on top of that. I am always amazed just how much power a phone rep can have to offer deals and perks when booking.
You may be worried about not being able to access the reservation online to confirm what you have done on the phone. I hear you. Most times emails can go out right away with all the info and you can HOLD ON THE PHONE with the rep, refresh your mail a few times, and then confirm all that has been discussed. If something goes sideways from this point – you have proof of what was promised and confirmed.
Keep in mind you are not hurting anyone other than a company’s “fees” by doing this. IMO those “junk fees” as many call them are way too high anyway. I would rather you save that cost and keep it in YOUR pocket – René