September 10, 2007

On hold.

I've been on hold with American Airlines for 1 hour and 11 minutes.....

ADDED: 1 hour and 44 minutes.... I've got patience.... Probably calling on Monday morning was a bad idea.... Still... 1 hour and 46 minutes... that's crazy....

FINAL OUTCOME: After 2 and a half hours on hold, I had to hang up to do a meeting!

THEN: I called back around 5 and got through in less than 10 minutes. Something weird must have happened this morning, including my own failure to give up and try again again later. American Airlines does not suck.

AND: I'm told there was something weird this morning. A commenter to this post says: "My wife is a ticket agent for AA at DFW airport and had to work 3 hours O/T today because of monsoon-like storms that started at dawn and lasted until noon. When they have that number of flights being cancelled they press reservations into service to get thousands of people rebooked. Needless to say she was whipped when she got home."

42 comments:

Original Mike said...

I always liked George Carlin's suggestion that when they put you on hold, you should be allowed to talk to everybody else on hold.

Ann Althouse said...

Ugh. They'd all be bitching about being on hold... the vocal ones anyway. Denouncing the company. I will never book another flight on American Airlines blah blah blah.

By blogging about it, it will come up on Google if people search for I'm on hold with American Airlines. How long do I have to wait on hold with American Airlines? I'm getting really tired of waiting on hold with American Airlines.

MadisonMan said...

Due to unexpected caller volume...

That's the line I hate when I'm on hold. What kind of manager runs a place that can't expect such a thing?

But your call is important to us!

rhhardin said...

There's an automatic insult generator that can run forever :

$ insult 20
You distressing air bladder of pestiferous mallard squirt
You repugnant teakettle of pathogenic hedgehog sialagogue
You wearying mortar of miasmic cow heaves
You dire frail of apoplectic sea eagle offscourings
You undelectable kilderkin of morbific baldpate dejecta
You lamentable valise of unhealthful chigoe burp
You scarecrowish tea chest of rheumatic screech owl pus
You ill-shaped net of ratty humpback slaver
You cheerless puncheon of innutritious ringtail precipitates
You grievous drum of neuralgic trumpeter sediment
You clumsy capsule of unwholesome krait ructation
You baneful jigger of tainted ferret hormone
You excruciating ark of gouty German wire-haired pointer dung
You sour pocket flask of unsanitary springtail regurgitation
You despicable tankard of impure inchworm autacoid
You graceless vitrine of scabietic whippet excrement
You comfortless chamber pot of toxiferous American saddle horse residue
You unsightly purse of polluted bullfrog ruins
You misproportioned cist of neuritic middle white droppings
You sad catch basin of unchaste potato bug chips


that, fed into a text-to-speech machine, would be far superior to music on hold, it seems to me.

After an hour and eleven minutes of listening to it, you'd be ready to talk to an agent.

(an old unix archive with the C source is here )

Maxine Weiss said...

If only you had a man around the house....

I can't even imagine having to unzip yourself after parties, having to switch hands midzip etc..

Agony.

Balfegor said...

I do hate the awful hold music. I put it on speakerphone so I can work on something else while I wait, but I can't turn the volume down to zero, because then I'll miss it when a human actually comes on the line. So I am stuck with their awful music. I prefer the ones that just sound off every 30 seconds or so to say "please continue to hold," or somesuch.

Ann Althouse said...

The music isn't annoying...

Oh, no! It's been more than 2 hours! Now, I've got students coming in a few minutes and I'm going to have to pack it in.... Oh, I've never invested so much in a wait on hold and now to have to give up!

Saul said...

I had a horrible experience with Northwest about a month ago, that nearly resulted in me being hauled off by security.

I think we should let all the airlines go bankrupt (except maybe
Southwest, who makes a profit), and start from scratch.

Simon said...

The most irritating hold experience I can recall is having to call INS, which played a short, chirpy, thirty second loop that sounded somewhat akin to Brian Eno's "Windows 95 sound" while you held to speak to a representative. This would have been irritating with a five minute hold, but after holding for more than an hour, my brain was starting to feel like jello.

Ron said...

Gosh, I wish I too were on hold with American Airlines...and Scarlett Johannson.

nina said...

Ikea customer service holds my record: one and a half hours, and then, due to another problem (same delivery), another one and a half, followed by another hour for the transferred call.
I've been told that the best way to handle these is to put your phone on speaker mode and go about your business.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

You've been on hold for $2000 worth of egg salad sandwich eating? You could've had 10 sandwiches by now.

EnigmatiCore said...

Leave it on hold while you have your students. Then when they are gone, pick it back up to see if you are still on hold or not.

froggyprager said...

That is absolutely unacceptable for an airline because the call may be regarding a change to current travel plans; you can be calling from the airport. The airport staff sometimes tell you to call about certain matters. That has happened to me when I needed to get through, I was traveling back to Madison through Minneapolis and got delayed and arrived in Minneapolis at midnight. There was no staff around in the airport and I needed to find out if I could get on the morning flights and how full they were. They told me to call to get on a flight the next day and I did not want to wake up super early to just find out that the flight I wanted to get on was full. I was on hold my cell phone died and I wanted to go to sleep.

DaveG said...

Argh, I've been waiting almost 3 hours now for closure!! And no music or periodic reassurances that my readership is important!

What happened???

Ann Althouse said...

I was going about my regular activities, but I didn't want to leave the speaker on during a meeting.

Maxine Weiss said...

The Gods are trying to tell you something.

Namely, there is no "right" to fly!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

You had to "do" a meeting?

Lucky meeting.

Paddy O. said...

The Gods are trying to tell you something.

Namely, there is no "right" to fly!


Thor, at least, would recommend a dwarf made magic hammer as the right way. Others have preference for chariots I hear.

Hoosier Daddy said...

That's why I only fly Southwest.

dick said...

The worst to me was with an insurance company. I was told that I would have to deal with the insurance company rather than the benefits people.

I called the company and was told I was 72nd in line, my call was important to them and to hold on. An hour later I was up to 40th in line and then the call was disconnected.

Wash and repeat for a week. I finally decided to do without the insurance.

I could not even get an address to send to. I had to do it by phone. And I could not get through to log my dissatisfaction with their service.

At no time was I on the line for less than an hour and I never did get to a live person.

Kev said...

I trust that you had a bigger issue than just booking a flight, or why would you have had to call them in the first place? I haven't called an airline a single time since online booking became available.

That's why I only fly Southwest.

Well, Hoosier, just be sure to dress properly before you get on the plane... ;-)

(Sorry--couldn't resist. I love Southwest, especially compared to the other hometown airline mentioned in this post, but that employee completely overreacted in this case.)

rhhardin said...

Music on hold is actually good, if they don't break in periodically to tell you that you're still on hold.

Then you can wait for a voice at low volume, and pick up only when that happens.

An intruding periodic voice, however, forces you to keep the volume high enough to distinguish what is being said, and so you listen to their stupid music as well.

(I called a power company department once long ago, and the music on hold was performed by the overworked CPU in the telephone director system, a single-note rendition of Beethoven's Fur Eliza.
When the secretary came back on, I asked her, ``Did you know that the music on hold is Beethoven?'' ``Yes,'' she said. ``There's nothing we can do about it.'')

Paul Zrimsek said...

If you hadn't pressed "M" when the menu system told you to press "W", you would have been done in minutes.

Daniel S said...

In last week's "The Closer," Deputy Chief Johnson interviews a suspect while simultaneously holding (and getting transferred from dept to dept) with her insurance company on a speakerphone. Classic comedy ensues.

Brad V said...

I flew American over the weekend, only to endure several delays, gate changes, flights changes, and a mechanical delay.

While some of the individual crew members and staff were helpful, the airline seemed to be staggering along compared to other carriers - and it showed on the departures/arrivals monitors.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well, Hoosier, just be sure to dress properly before you get on the plane... ;-)

See that kind of stuff makes me angry. I never get to sit next to hot women wearing revealing clothing. I get the screaming kid or 90 year old person who smells like cabbage.

It just isn't fair.

B said...

You should put "American Airlines Sucks" in your blog points. That will definitely show up on Google. I've done it four times with posts one major corporations and found my post while searching the company's name in Google the very next day. And always on the first page. Go figure.

B said...

6 years ago, I received a bill on a major retailer's credit card for something I never charged. It took 3 phone calls and over 4-and-a-half hours to get them to straighten it out.

For some unknown reason, the day after it was fixed, I received a call from a Vice President at that company who wanted to tell me that he did not appreciate the way I spoke to the young lady who handled the last call I made to the company. It turned out that he was engaged to the young woman I had spoken to, and felt some sense of "honor" necessary to call me back and setting me straight. I apologized for being rude to the young lady, but then walked through the 4-and-a-half hours worth of my time spent to correct something that was his company's fault. He made no apology, but "warned" me against talking that way again, and then hung up.

Since I answered his call on a malfunctioning answering machine/phone combo, the whole conversation had been recorded. I was able to look up the office and phone number of the company's President's office (numbers long since removed from the website). I called the number late in the evening and, after a short intro, played the entire conversation into the voice mail of the President's secretary.


Two days later, I received an apology letter in the mail from a different Vice President in that company, with assurances that steps were being taken to increase the level of customer service. Included was a coupon for $50.00 to be used at the company's stores.

In checking the website again a couple of weeks later, I noticed that the Vice President who called me was replaced by someone else

Trevor said...

"do a meeting"?

Was it for some face-time with your students? Did you dialog?

Eric said...

EnigmatiCore said...
"Leave it on hold while you have your students."

You're kidding right? Interact with students at the risk that she might not be able to wait on hold for something likely not classroom-teaching related?

Ann Althouse said...

Kev said..."I trust that you had a bigger issue than just booking a flight, or why would you have had to call them in the first place? I haven't called an airline a single time since online booking became available."

Yes, I need to do something that they won't let you do on-line: change the dates on a trip that I got with frequent flier miles. I normally do everything on line.

Ann Althouse said...

The idea of leaving it on hold while I had (or did) the meeting was a good one. I could have logged another hour of waiting time and approached the front of the line.

Stu Gittelman said...

I'm on hold right now with a different company and the music they're playing is - wait for it, wait for it - the Brahms Lullabye!

Now, how's that for unwitting irony?

halojones-fan said...

"I called back around 5 and got through in less than 10 minutes."

You know what happened?

AA bigshot: "Wow, I'm bored. I think I'll websurf. Ha ha, I know, I'll Google 'American Airlines' and see what comes up--wait, holy crap, a popular blogger is having trouble with American Airlines! Get someone on this pronto!"

Ruth Anne Adams said...

my own failure to give up

Well that explains a few of the interblog dust-ups, too. Ferocious pit bulls are less tenacious.

Lauren said...

There were thunderstorms in Dallas/Fort Worth this morning, which is a big AA hub. I bet a lot of people were calling about delayed flights. Just thought you might like a possible explaination.

Josh said...

The airline industry treats you worse than any other. Imagine you bought a $2000 item from any other industry. You would be treated like royalty at any retail establishment. Yet at an airline, with a $2000 ticket you are lower than a worm's belly.

Of course, some are worse than others. If you are extremely unlucky, you will end up flying Northwest. Also, Continental is slightly (very slightly) better.

jbubba76013 said...

My wife is a ticket agent for AA at DFW airport and had to work 3 hours O/T today because of monsoon-like storms that started at dawn and lasted until noon. When they have that number of flights being cancelled they press reservations into service to get thousands of people rebooked. Needless to say she was whipped when she got home.

former law student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

Ann, things could have been a lot worse -- you could have actually been expecting to fly today. In June, American made me spend 58 hours getting back to California from DC, canceling and rebooking, cancelling and rebooking, finally going from gate to gate hoping to get on standby. Plus, getting to the front of one line at a gate at National to be told I should have been standing in the OTHER line -- it was the end of the line for me.

A combination of their hub and spoke system, which routes almost all cross country flights through DFW, their habit of using only tiny narrow body aircraft, and their standard practice of overbooking meant that AA was incapable of responding to June's summer rain. One gate agent I spoke to in Dallas had been on her feet for 20 hours, and came back to work 8 hours later. But AA did give me a Coleman cot to sleep on that night.

Thomas Williams said...

Sometimes, Its like panic to keep on holding at queue of customer services or even on phone line. I now use to enjoy the delicious music while On Hold Messages for my turn and feel a bit relax.