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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Millions of people will take to the skies this holiday season. Unfortunately, all too often traveling by plane can be a nightmare. So how can you effectively make your complaints or suggestions to the big airlines?

Dealing with airlines can be stressful. A lot of time you can feel neglected and downright disrespected, but there is a way to express those complaints and concerns. If you do it right it could lead to a voucher.

Holiday travel can be stressful enough. Along the way, more than a few unfortunate travelers will have their share of travel mishaps; from delays, to lost baggage, to bad customer service.

So what are you supposed to do?

Travel information site Frommer’s says if something goes wrong, become a reporter. Jot everything done: names, times and even take picturs if you think it might help explain your situation. Also try to solve the problem on the spot and most importantly try and remain calm.


“We stay very calm,” frequent flyer Carol McAndrews said. “We try not to get very excited, ’cause that never seems to help. We’ve been through that before.”

Carol and her husband Tom have flown for more than 35 years and have experienced it all.

“I lost a purse,” she said. “It was stolen.”

The years of ups and downs have taught them some effective ways to get results from airlines.

“I try calling customer service after returning from the trip and explain the situation and see if they’re interested in making some kind of compensation for the inconvenience,” Tom McAndrews said.

American Airlines gives this advice to anyone who may have a concern or complaint.

“It is best to speak with one of our airport agents at either the ticket counter or your departure gate,” American Airlines spokesman Tom Smith said. “Agents can be most effective if customers approach them in a calm, normal voice fashion where customers succinctly describe their question or concern.”

If you’re unable to solve you’re complaint with an airport agent, Frommer’s says an e-mail or letter is also effective.

Just make sure the letter has proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization along with details and facts. The letter should clearly say what you want from the airline, and if you have any documents or photos attach them.

Most airlines have a customer-commitment time frame in which they’ll acknowledge your complaint. So be patient, but don’t forget about your concerns.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest111

    If you are flying during the holidays go to the airport with a suitcase full of patience, a carry on full of humor and lots of anticipation and excitement at getting to where you are going plus the reason for the trip, in the first place. I have a pic of my grandchildren with me and when things get sluggish I take the picture out, look at it or even give them a quick call to see what’s going on. If you get upset, angry or out of control you have just spoiled your own trip. Expect the unexpected. I have been there more than once and I try to stay focused.
    Don’t get to the airport thinking you are going to breeze right through the trip. That’s not realistic, especially during the holidays.

  • 25 Year Pilot

    Don’t forget to thank both pilots for getting you there safe and sound as you are leaving the plane…it brightens their day…believe me! And if it’s a little bumpy flying around storms at 35,000’…and you get scared…don’t start thinking “Lawsuit” like that lady did a couple of months ago:
    (“Don’t buy hot coffee at McDonald’s lady and take a train next time”)

    I wonder…has anyone ever filed a lawsuit for hitting a few potholes on the road in their car and jolting their guts? Probably…most likely the ones who’s cell phone flew outta their hand while hitting it! HA!!!

  • GuestUsed2B99x

    Hey 25yr Pilot… a couple things. First, thanks for all the safe landings and comfortable flights you and your fellow aviators have given me over my years of frequent flying.

    Second, thinking about “lawsuit lady” lets do this…. we should file a class action suit vs. her parents for polluting the gene pool.


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