Each year, hundreds of thousands of travelers encounter difficulties during their trek across country or globe. It could be a delayed flight or missing luggage (you're in Cleveland, your bag is in Calcutta) or maybe a surly employee gives you pause for thought on possibly changing your allegiance to that particular airline. Do the airlines truly care about your concerns or the poor service you unfortunately received? Of course they do! With fierce competition rampant in the industry right now, airlines are definitely looking to improve conditions for their customers or risk losing them by the score.
Most of our travel problems are generated along the same lines, with lost luggage being the number one cause for concern. Case in point: A friend of ours recently returned home to Europe after a brief vacation in Colorado. Unfortunately, his suitcase did not, falling foul of the now infamous baggage system at Denver International Airport and was not returned to him for three days. This was understandably a problem for our friend, as Germany is not a consumer heaven over the week-end days (basically, everything shuts down for two days, so running out to K-Mart for a tube of toothpaste was not an option) and he was therefore horribly inconvenienced. Should he complain? Absolutely! Especially as he had initially changed his travel plans to fly with the airline in question. Loyalty shalt beget an apology and hopefully compensation...
Another tale of woe involved yet another friend who fell asleep during a transatlantic flight and awoke to discover that her pillow had been "stolen" by the flight attendant to give to another passenger-and who then refused categorically to retrieve it for her or find a replacement pillow! Our letter of complaint would have been in the mail, forthwith.
Not many of us take the time to complain, or even compliment service we have received. Oh sure, we may threaten missives of fire and brimstone in the heat of the moment, but very few of us ever put fingers to keyboard to make that threat into a reality. But maybe we should. Putting our grievances on paper is much more effective than an angry phone call and if you have any supporting documentation, all the better! We suggest writing directly to the airline initially, especially if you are a member of its frequent flyer program. Use that leverage to its utmost-frequent flyers are hallowed in the business, as well they should be. Be succinct in your observations and above all, avoid rambling. Keep it short and to the point, and if possible, offer a solution to the problem at hand, if one is readily available to you. Many airlines are willing to compensate you for your inconvenience-even an apology in writing would suffice, in some instances.
If the airline does not deal with your complaint to your utmost satisfaction, then we suggest that it is re-routed via the Department of Transportation, which is authorized to handle claims under its jurisdiction. The DOT does issue a pamphlet titled "Fly Rights" that details your entitlements as a flyer and possible solutions to any problems encountered.