American and United now let you text to chat with an agent
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, airline customers have faced extraordinary wait times when attempting to reach an agent — if they're able to get though to one at all. This month, American and United each made it easier to get help, thanks to new chat tools in the latest versions their mobile apps.
To access AA's chat tool, head to the American app and swipe up to show more options. Click "Contact American" at the bottom of the page, then select the "Chat with us" feature. From there, it took a bit of work for me to actually get through to an agent.
First, I selected the option to change my flight, which simply provided instructions to change my trip myself online or to call a reservations agent on the phone, at AA's 1-800 number. Next, I chose the option for "Check in help," which resulted in a message prompting me to, again, call American for help. Finally, I selected "Bags," and after choosing "Something else" twice, I was added to the queue, where Mimi answered my chat in about two minutes.
To reach United's chat tool, open up the app then tap the three parallel lines in the top left corner. On the next page, select "Contact us" and then the "Message us" option. As the app notes, agents are available between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET.
I followed the same flow as I did with AA, first selecting the option for "Reservations," followed by "Change my trip." From there, the app presented an option to chat with an agent, which I selected. I was connected with Rex in about three minutes.
Flying another airline? Delta has offered messaging since last June, when it launched a chat tool via Apple's Messages app, which is available at the bottom of the "More" tab in the Fly Delta app. I wasn't able to reach an agent quickly there, though, as many have experienced when attempting to contact the carrier's call centers as well. Otherwise, be sure to check out our detailed guide for the best option to reach an agent at your airline.