I have never had cause to write a scathing letter to an airline until this year (read the letter). That’s not to say things haven’t gone amiss on flights over the last 7 years – like any other traveler I have dealt with my fair share of flight delays, cancellations, missed connections, ridiculous baggage fees and broken entertainment units (for 15 hours!). I’ve just never experienced anything which I thought warranted a negative email…until I flew with Hawaiian Airlines.
I was incredibly disappointed when, after 4 weeks, I received a generic email back from Hawaiian offering their “sincerest apologies” for my experience – I had, after-all spent hours writing that letter, making sure I struck the right cord between polite yet still firm; non emotive yet still conveying the stress and anxiety they caused. I wanted them to acknowledge that their actions were appalling and offer a way to redeem the situation. Didn’t happen.
I then discovered a phenomenal article on Airfare Watch Dog (written by George Hobica) which detailed how you should write an airline complaint, and realized there were a few ways in which I could have potentially improved the outcome of my correspondence.
How to write an airline complaint:
Obviously if you have an airline complaint first attempt to resolve it politely at the airport. Failing this, however, send a letter or email to the airline. Here are George Hobica’s recommendations:
1. Be polite, specific, and straight to the point. Remember to cite flight numbers, seat location, employee names if known, cost of fare, etc.
2. Include your frequent flyer number.
3. “Sleep on it”. Give yourself a few days to calm down and potentially rephrase.
4. Never say, “I will never fly your airline again!” since that gives the airline no incentive to help.
5. Ask for a specific remedy, whether it is extra frequent flyer miles, a refund, or a voucher, and be reasonable.
6. And remember, even airlines with stellar reputations screw up from time to time.
God forbid I ever have another reason to write a scathing letter to an airline, in the future I will write it differently. Next time round I will be sure to ask for a specific remedy and propose what I deem to be acceptable compensation.
Have you ever written to an airline? Any tips to share?