Dealing with airline call centres can be a frustrating experience. If you’re lucky, your call will be answered by an experienced agent who knows exactly how to help! Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen.
Airline call centres are a real mixed bag. There are plenty of knowledgeable call centre agents, but there are also plenty that are not very helpful or are unfamiliar with how to handle your request.
If you’re having trouble dealing with an airline call centre, a popular strategy among AFF members is the “HUACA” method. HUACA stands for “Hang Up And Call Again”. The concept is simple – if you’re getting nowhere with your call, politely end it and redial.
Often, you’ll get a better agent on the second or third attempt. Sometimes your call will be transferred to a different call centre on the second attempt, which may yield a better result. Some airlines have multiple call centre locations, and staff in certain locations seem better-trained than others.
So, when should you use the HUACA method? Here are four real-life examples from AFF members:
1. The agent is unable to help you
There are many reasons that the agent might be unable to help. In one example, an AFF member spent 75 minutes on the phone with a Velocity trying to book an Etihad Airways flight to no avail. This member then called again, and the booking was completed in less than 5 minutes.
2. The agent is helpful but unfamiliar with how to handle your request
In a recent example, an AFF member was told by an Etihad Airways agent that no Virgin Australia award seats were available four months in advance. After being told incorrect information by the first agent, this member called back and was able to make a booking.
3. The agent is taking an unusually long time to complete a simple task
In one case, a member was told by a Qantas agent that it would take 48 hours to process their Platinum award release request. This member called back and the seat was released after just 15 minutes.
4. You’re given information that doesn’t sound right
One member was recently told by a Qantas agent that there would be a change fee and hefty fare difference for making a change just 10 minutes after completing an online booking. This didn’t sound right, so our member called again the next day. The change fee was waived and a much lower price for the new booking was quoted.
So next time your phone call to an airline is getting nowhere, try the HUACA method. Hang up and call again!
P.S. You can read a full list of AFF abbreviations here: Abbreviations and explanations