These American Airlines status members will no longer speak with dedicated Elite phone agents

These American Airlines status members will no longer speak with dedicated Elite phone agents

One of the important benefits of airline status is not having to wait like most passengers. Priority is extended at the airport to check-in, sometimes to security, and usually to boarding. While I usually prefer to board last rather than first (who wants to sit in an airplane seat longer than they have to), boarding early means being sure to secure space in the bin. And if you’re already at the gate, it’s better to sit in your seat instead of standing and hovering and waiting.

But one of the less talked about priority benefits is priority customer service over the phone. Airlines can take forever to get to your call. The always seem to say that “they are experiencing higher than normal call volumes”, meaning that no they are not actually, call volumes are normal and so are long wait times.

Of course, things get worse during bad weather which leads to many delays and cancellations. More people call in to get help with disrupted travel plans.

However, for an airline’s status members, they get priority with their phone calls. And there are two different types of prioritization, which are often mixed up.

  • Calls are answered first. They jump up the queue to get calls answered faster.
  • Dedicated agents. They are supposed to be better trained, and also specifically trained in the issues that frequent flyers have (as well as the exemptions and benefits that apply to their travel).

Some airlines only provide call priority, others provide dedicated agents, and it can be a trade-off. If dedicated agents are overwhelmed a few times, you’ll just get through some. During actual periods of high call volume, an airline may roll over its elite members on hold to the top of the general reservation queue.

Such dynamic call handling makes sense. At American Airlines, on the other hand, Platinum Pro members’ – number two from the top published elite level, corresponding to Delta SkyMiles Platinum and United Airlines Platinum – will be prioritized, but will now roll over to general reservations instead of dedicated elite agents for international bookings according to to an internal airline memo.

Most customers probably won’t notice any difference, and crucial Platinum Pro members will still get elite priority in getting calls answered. This reduces complexity for US call centers. Although it is less of an “elite” service for these high level status members.

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