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Communications Transportation

A New Way to Tell Your Airline You Hate It (bloomberg.com) 50

An anonymous reader shares a report: Airlines -- an industry not known for stellar customer interactions -- are joining the party, and not just to break the bad news about your flight. They're inviting you to ask questions, and maybe even complain. Two airlines have dipped their wings into the waters of two-way texting. Hawaiian Holdings's Hawaiian Airlines is adding the feature while JetBlue Airways took a stake in a software startup that will allow its call center staff to start texting customers in the coming months. Texting, technically called SMS (which stands for short message service), is arguably the world's most favored form of communication, but much of corporate America has been slow to adapt. The few that have -- including Verizon Wireless retailers, British telecom company Sky UK, and Nestle SA's frozen foods division -- are dwarfed by an array of local commerce, from insurance agents, veterinarians, air conditioning techs, and auto dealers who have already jumped in to conduct their business.
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A New Way to Tell Your Airline You Hate It

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thanks Slashdot. Without you I never would have learned that "Texting" is technically called "SMS" which stands for "short message service".

    Truly News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters!

    • I remember being actually surprised to learn it's called "texting" in English (a few years back ofc), as in German it is just called SMS. ("I'll send you a SMS")
    • Oh yes... wasn't that a thing in the 90s?

      Honestly, someone still uses that? The only SMS I'm receiving are voicemail notifications because only for my phone provider it's cheaper and easier to gateway into the mobile network than using any of the recent IP based messaging solutions. (from social networks to old fashioned email. Not to forget messengers like whatsapp or app notifications)

  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Thursday August 10, 2017 @11:57AM (#54984073) Homepage

    Hawaiian is one of the better airlines. Wake me when I can text United about how much they suck.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      This will give them a means to track you, hunt you down, and beat you up.

      • This will give them a means to track you, hunt you down, and beat you up.

        ... or even worse, text you daily marketing spam.

    • I checked out the comments to say the same thing. There's only one airline that I've had consistently bad enough service with to feel like complaining about it, and that is United Airlines. Hawaiian Airlines is fantastic! They make flying darn near close to enjoyable. It was the horrible flights across the continental USA and to Hawaii that caused me to put UAL on my personal blacklist.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Hawaiian is one of the better airlines. Wake me when I can text United about how much they suck.

      I'm certain United already know how much they suck, they just don't care.

      People are thinking exclusively about negative feedback here, but channels like this are best for positive feedback. I know most Americans dont have many positive things to say about American based airlines, but there are some airlines out there that are an absolute pleasure to fly such as Singapore airlines.

      The thing about complaining is that most people do it in the worst possible way. Most people only tell you what was wrong w

  • by ark1 ( 873448 ) on Thursday August 10, 2017 @12:00PM (#54984107)
    Send a piece of S**t to the HQ - http://en.shitexpress.com/ [shitexpress.com]
  • The airlines don't even have to bother with human agents.

    AI scripts can answer all your texts, and if they can't answer you, I'm pretty sure the texts will disappear.

    • I got a request for feedback from my last flight, I ignored it, and then they started nagging me for feedback.

      OK, you want feedback? What is going on with your operations out of Atlanta? I was in an older twin-engine jet not known for its acceleration (MD-88, JT8D-200 engines). Looking out the starboard window, as soon as I saw the same kind of jet from the same airline start laying down kerosene smoke for it takeoff roll, we swung onto the active runway right behind it. I thought we were doing a "po

      • by djbckr ( 673156 )
        Well, if you're not a pilot, then you probably are mistaken about procedures then. I hold a private license. I was on a commercial flight one time where our plane rolled straight from taxiway, onto the runway and immediate takeoff without even slowing down. A guy in front of me freaked out and told the guy next to him that it was illegal. Sheesh... The controllers know what they are doing (though the pilot is the primary safety - fly the plane first, otherwise follow instructions and procedures). You can be
        • Cleared for immediate takeoff with an under-powered jet still on the runway straight in front of you?

          When SAC did this back during the Cold War, they were conducting a drill to get their bombers in the air during the time they had before a Soviet sub-launched missile on a depressed trajectory could wipe them all out on the ground. The author of the Web page describing this told of how the families would gather at the fence by the end of the runway to see the spectacle of one jet after another roaring by

      • Aviation is one of the industries where the customer is almost never right. You don't know what happened, and you don't know what you're talking about.

        "That door is open," it does that.
        "That engine is turning," wind.
        "The engine is clanking," wind.
        "There's a hole in the wing," there's supposed to be.
        "There's a fuel leak," it's water.
        "That other plane was REALLY close," no it wasn't.
        "That turbulence was REALLY bad, is the plane ok?" It was light turbulence, you'll break before the plane does.
        "You di
        • "Aviation is one of the industries where the customer is almost never right."
          You're talking about flight safety. When you're talking about the business side, it's the airline that's almost never right.

          • by Ralgha ( 666887 )
            They usually follow their own policies, so they're, by definition, right. Most things that passengers complain about are, in fact, safety related. People don't get what it is they're actually doing. They're getting into a pressurized aluminum tube and shooting through the sky ~6 miles above the ground at ~500 miles an hour. Things that would be a minor annoyance on foot, or in a car, could kill you in that situation.

            Consider an airplane that didn't have any epinephrine on board (this was the case a fe
            • The airline ripoffs and excesses I'm talking about have nothing to do with flight safety. Fees for everything is one major area. Fees are supposed to apply to optional extras, such as extra bags, meals, drinks, special seats, and class upgrades. The huge fees for fixing a typo in your name in the ticket are a prize example. The operation is a SQL update in place to a single field in your passenger name record, for which airlines could still make money if they charged $25 for the validation and the few secon

      • and 2) we might get sued.

        Those rules have been set up by sue happy lawyers and now that's how 'merica works today.

        Don't blame them for playing along the rules.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday August 10, 2017 @01:33PM (#54984791)
    There's a rule of thumb about voter feedback to Congresscritters. A hand-written letter is worth about 10 phone calls. A phone call is worth about 10 faxes. And a fax is worth about 10 emails.

    The idea is that the more effort you had to put into the feedback, the more you must care about the issue. If your level of concern is so low that you can only be bothered to type in your name and email address on a website form letter and click "send", then the issue must not be very important to you. OTOH if you take the type to write a letter by hand and physically mail it to your representative, the issue must be very important to you, and they'll treat it as such.

    Same goes here. If your complaint with the airline can only get you to expend enough effort to shoot off a text, then your level of outrage must be very low. They're not going to treat it very seriously. If it gets you to write a nasty (non-form) email, your level of outrage must be higher and they'll take you a bit more seriously. If you're outraged enough to call them and suffer the wait time on hold, then they'll take you even more seriously. And if you spent the time to write a hand-written letter and paid for a stamp to mail it to them, you must really be angry with them, and they'll take your letter very seriously.

    So championing the easiest-to-use form of feedback isn't really the best way to get your complaint heard by the higher-ups.
    • Unfortunately my moderation points are already spent, otherwise I'd have this modded up!
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      There's a rule of thumb about voter feedback to Congresscritters. A hand-written letter is worth about 10 phone calls. A phone call is worth about 10 faxes. And a fax is worth about 10 emails.

      How many hand written letters is a song worth? [youtube.com]

      For most of my complaints, I prefer to make them in person. This is because I'd like the issue to be fixed and the best way to do that is to put a human face onto it. It shows that I'm a friendly and reasonable person with a bit of a problem, a problem they can help me with. The best way to get what you want out of a complaint is to make it seem like the other party is helping you and being appreciated for it. This would seem to fit with your principle of ea

  • "Texting, technically called SMS (which stands for short message service), is arguably the world's most favored form of communication,..." ...for old people and company managers perhaps, the rest of the world uses Whatsapp because, unlike SMSes, it's free and encrypted.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      But the problem is that not many people use WhatsApp. Everyone seems to use unencrypted SMSes. :(

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