So the Polar Vortex Got Your Flight Canceled. Now What? Try Your Airline's App
So, it's -22 degrees out, the wind chills are unbearable and your flight out of Chicago to somewhere warmer has been canceled. Now what?
Well, first and foremost -- welcome to winter in the US Midwest and Northeast. Cancellations this time of year aren't a rare occurrence. In fact, so far, 1,400 flights have been canceled this week alone due to the polar vortex. But what do you do when the weather gets between you and your destination? What's the easiest way to rebook a canceled flight? Well, it depends on the airline.
Recently, Southwest has taken some new measures to improve communication with customers through a Live Chat setting on their mobile app. The feature is currently still in its beta phase and is only being offered to a limited number of users. In order to gain access, you must be a Rapid Rewards Member, logged into the latest version of the Southwest Mobile App (version 6.1.0 or newer) and then selected at random to connect to Live Chat.
So, for now, the Live Chat option is limited. However, if you are accepted, the chat option is a simple way to talk to customer service personnel if you have an iPhone or Android. The new feature can be accessed on the contacts options page in the app and available from 6am to 8pm Central Standard Time (CST).
As of now, United doesn't have an in-app live chat option for customers to talk to representatives. However, a UA spokesperson informed TPG via email that the airline is "looking at the possibility of adding a chat feature into the app." As of now, customer service can be contacted best through Facebook and Twitter. United also offers customers the option to select alternate flights in the app if yours is canceled.
The Fly Delta app also offers a similar pop-up feature for when your flight is canceled. It also offers a list of options for contacting customer service. However, the airline's chat platform of choice is Twitter, where you can chat with reps 24/7 to change flights.
American Airlines offers "instant rebooking" that allows customers to find a new flight without waiting in line at the airport or calling the customer service hotline. They also offer priority booking to those with frequent flier status when an unexpected cancellation comes up. Although, the app has a tendency to glitch -- so communicating in person or over the phone with customer service might be a better option depending on your circumstance.
Circling back to status -- when rebooking a canceled flight, it definitely helps to be a frequent flier. TPG Lounge members on Facebook confirmed numerous experiences in which calling with status was the most convenient and beneficial way to rebook a flight on all three US legacy carriers.