Apr 20, 2011

On Hold, Again

Yesterday I was on hold with an airline.  You know what that’s like, yes? I feel like I should leave an extra long space here…

…to mirror what it was like to be on hold with the airline.  At the beginning of the call, that voice told me it would like to help me.  It would like to direct my call so the airline can best serve me.  Then that  same helpful voice told me my wait would be 25-35 minutes!  Not so helpful, after all, mister.  That is a really long time!  And nobody sits around for 25+ minutes just listening to airline chatter about how well they serve us.  I tried it.  My cheek hung up the phone twice and I had to start over. Twice.

So this got me to wondering; what do those airline reps hear when they finally answer our calls?  Because I was very close to attempting a brief trip to the bathroom during my wait.  They must sometimes catch someone tinkling or flushing after 20 minutes or so.  As I’ve hit middle age I seem to only have 20 minutes between bathroom stops so the 25-35 minute wait is pretty much asking for a shared auditory experience.

And standing around waiting is also a trigger to snack!  I’ll bet the reps often pick up to hear someone who just took a huge bite of chips and salsa.  “How can I help you today, ma’am?”

“Ri ramph rimph ri romphing raph.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you, ma’am.  Could you please repeat that?”

“Ri raid, ri ramph rint ri roarding rass!” 

“I’m sorry, one more time, ma’am, you said your ramps rid high swording mass?” 

Swallow. “No!  I can’t print my boarding pass!” 

And after the rep does or doesn’t help, she gets off the phone and turns to her co-worker, laughs a really long time, and says “Chips and salsa again.” 

Maybe that’s why the waits are so long.


  1. myellow, my name is _______. how may i help you today with outstanding customer service?

  2. I thought everyone knew that all those airline customer "service" reps have special training in when to connect to your call. In reality, they could talk to you right away, but where's the fun in that? After all, airlines don't pay their pilots or reps a living wage -- the reps have to have some fringe benefit. In fact, there is a big scoreboard in their conference room, listing which rep gets the most "flushes," who has the most hang-ups, the most garbled. It's a world of fun and games at those airlines -- don't let anybody tell you any different.

  3. Oh, a scoreboard! Do you think there are photos of us there?