Please hold: What are airline customer service wait times?


(NewsNation) —  Thousands of flights have been delayed or cancelled this week. The majority of those canceled flights happen to be with American and Delta Air Lines.

With the constant chaos at the airport, NewsNation wanted to see how customer service at the largest U.S. airlines — American, United, Delta and Southwest — are handling the mess.

Travelers are fed up with airline customer service, and they’re having trouble finding a sympathetic ear. High call volume ahead of the holiday weekend is keeping paid passengers on hold for hours in some instances.

One hour and 47 minutes to two hours and 27 minutes was the wait time to speak with a human at American Airlines on Thursday afternoon. But NewsNation found that consumers who yell “agent” three times or sound angry may get a place in line faster. American by far had the longest hold time.

Delta warned not to call unless your flight is within three days, but NewsNation got through to a human in roughly 19 minutes. United did not give an estimated wait time, but their representatives say the average is around seven minutes. Southwest had an average hold time of seven to eight minutes, but NewsNation was finished in two minutes.

Some passengers are frustrated by the long hold times. Laverne, who asked that NewsNation not use her last time, said her last three flights were canceled and she doesn’t understand why airlines are not doing more to help when itineraries go awry.

“I do have a phone number, and I do have a lawyer. I will get on the phone next week,” Laverne said.

Each of the airlines immediately directed customers to their website or apps, with about 80 percent of flight transactions being handled online now.

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