Using the Delta Airlines App and Apple Business Chat in a Snowpocalypse

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On a recent delay- and cancellation-plagued trip, Adam Engst found that the most effective resources for dealing with rebooking flights and getting questions answered were the Delta iPhone app and the company’s Business Chat-based support reps.

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I was trying to get back home from Florida on Monday, and I found the American app to be similarly useful. I rarely fly, so it was the first time I’d ever used an airline app. I got to use it a lot, because I didn’t get out of town until two days later.

The American app prominently displayed a link to alternative flights on my main trip screen as soon as my original flight was canceled. I was able to book another flight in less than a minute. (That flight was eventually canceled as well, but still, I was able to rebook so fast I found it hard to believe it had actually worked.)

That rebooking link never went away from the main screen, which was nice, because I checked in many times to see what flight combinations were available (the list was constantly changing), and I ended up switching flights several times.

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Nice literary reference! Made me smile :grin:

I’m required to make such references periodically or hand back the diploma that says I was a Classics major at Cornell. :slight_smile: My Hypertextual Fiction second major is safe after 30 years of publishing TIdBITS and particularly 14 years of Take Control, where we did a lot of hypertextual linking.

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The moral of the story? If you have, for some reason, resisted getting the free airline apps, I can say that using them is absolutely worthwhile.

I’m not sure. You ended up going home in the end anyway and required the help of an agent to be able to resolve your travel the next day. Reminds me of my PalmPilot. I spent so much time saving time I hardly had any time left.

I’m pretty confident that it was better for me. In the old days, when the first flight was delayed, I would have had to stand in line or call to get rebooked, rather than selecting an alternative flight in the app. When that flight was canceled, I would have had to stand in line or call again to get rebooked on the next day’s flight. Then, when that next flight arrived too late in Detroit, I would have had to throw myself on the mercy of the support agents there, or call a third time, to get on the later flight, and there’s no way knowing if they would have put me on standby for the earlier flight that I ended up getting. Given that Delta wasn’t even allowing people to rebook through the phone—the automated message said to rebook through the app or the Web site—I think the low-tech approach would have been slower and more stressful for me by a lot.

I hate waiting on hold for someone to answer, and it’s quite frustrating to be spending 15-30 minutes working with an agent on rebooking when they go away for minutes at a time to figure something out. The only real win is that sometimes you can negotiate for an alternative that isn’t obviously logical but works better for you for some reason.