According to Brian Kelly, a little travel tweeting could help you get home on time.
“A lot of people just don’t know that social media can be such a great tool,” he says.
Kelly is a frequent-flier mile ninja and founder of the travel website The Points Guy. He says people can turn to Twitter to upgrade seating, find lost luggage or rebook flights.
“I know people don’t want to join Twitter and share everything, but you don’t even need to be an active tweeter to get help on Twitter,” he says.
When Kelly was traveling from Philadelphia to Costa Rica last New Year’s Eve, the American Airlines flight had a mechanical delay and he re-booked via Twitter while still in his seat.
“While passengers were running off the plane to get re-accommodated,” he says. “I was able to snag the last seat on the next flight and save a day of my vacation.”
These days, most U.S. airlines have teams dedicated to helping customers via social media.
“It’s critical for travelers to take advantage of social media,” Kelly says. “No app is going to do the work for you.”
Scott Sorenson works in Southwest’s “Listening Center” in Dallas Love Field airport. Along with a team of “social care specialists” he spends his day responding to customers who reach out on Twitter and Facebook.
The most common questions, he says, are about delays.
“So, hey my flight is delayed leaving this city am I going to make a connection in my next my next city?”
Sorenson can reach out directly to dispatchers and often get back via direct message to the customer. Sometimes in a matter of minutes.
So, if you’re looking for a fast response, Sorenson and Kelly say, start by looking up the Twitter handle for your airline.
Here are a few top U.S. airlines’ Twitter handles to get you started:
- Alaska Airlines: @AlaskaAir
- American Airlines: @AmericanAir
- Delta: @deltaassist
- Frontier: @frontiercare
- Hawaiian Airlines: @HawaiianAir
- JetBlue: @JetBlue
- Southwest: @SouthwestAir
- Spirit: @SpiritAirlines
- United: @United
- US Airways: @USAirways
- Virgin America: @VirginAmerica
- Virgin Atlantic: @VirginAtlantic