How long is too long on hold with an airline?

A few weeks ago, I had to call American Airlines and their Customer Relations desk in Dallas to try to get a systemwide upgrade back after flying in a faulty seat on a 767 to Milan. Luckily, after the call was done, I received both my systemwide upgrade back, and 20,000 AAdvantage miles. However, I spent over an hour a a half on hold before ever being able to speak to an agent!

Keep in mind, this desk is different than the Executive Platinum desk or the AAdvantage customer service desk. It’s a special team designed to deal with complaints, suggestions, etc., and are the “heavy hitters” when it comes to compensating customers.

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They were my only option to receive my SWU back, so I called them on my drive home from my office and expected someone to pick up within a few minutes. My home is an hour or so away from my office, so driving into my hometown, I was alarmed someone still hadn’t picked up. I was debating on hanging up, but always had the fear that as soon as I would, someone would pick up on the other end. So, I decided to wait a few more minutes, and literally just before I was about to press the end button, an agent answered. Wahoo!

While I took this screenshot at just above an hour on hold, in reality, it took over an hour a half. Yikes!



20 minutes on the phone, and everything got resolved, but I was quite frustrated as such a long hold time – and it wasn’t on a day when there were major weather delays or other reasons for a high call volume. In fact, I remember calling this number several years prior, and being on hold for a similar, extensive time.

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So, how long is too long? Sure, an hour and a half listening to elevator music is worth it for 20K miles and a SWU…but in reality, this shouldn’t happen. I wish this desk was staffed with more people, and that both airlines and hotels a like would recognize hold times and adjust their staffing appropriately.  I know this isn’t the longest hold time someone has experienced ever, and I’m fortunate enough to have shorter than normal wait times thanks to the EXP desk, but I thought I would still chime in on this, as I know it’s frustrating for passengers.

Fortunately, I won’t be on hold with Customer Relations anymore thanks to American removing the option to call them

What’s the longest you’ve been on hold with an airline?

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  1. Chuck says

    over 9 hours with AA regular reservations after a snowstorm in DFW and needed to rebook cancelled flights

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