How To Get The Answer You Want

How do you feel about airline change fees?

Not a fan? Honestly, if someone is trying to change their flight for any reason, they are likely already having a bad day.

I don’t mind the fees so much – as long as I can make the adjustments I need and the people on the other end of the line are pleasant about it.

In 2018, I had to fly to Michigan for a training. No single airline matched the times needed, so I booked through a third-party website on multiple carriers.

Do you ever read the fine print with all the restrictions when you are booking? I must admit, I do not. I just assumed if I needed to make a change, there would be a fee.

When there was a change in the client’s schedule and I needed to change my flight, I was shocked to learn that I bought a ticket that didn’t allow changes, at all, not even for a fee! Just no.

Huh? I was confused, surprised, but took a breath and stayed calm even though I was feeling the panic rising. Sandy, the customer service representative, was nice and explained that I bought a highly restrictive ticket and there was nothing she could do. Period.

In the past, this may have been the time I yelled, got upset and demanded to speak to her supervisor. I don’t do that anymore.  Instead I said…

“Well, that’s a bummer! Any chance you can make some magic happen?”

She kindly and patiently replied that it wasn’t something that she could do. I said that I understood, and shared with her the impact of the change.  In our exchange I got her to laugh. She warmly received the information and said she understood and wished she could help. So I said…

“Is there anyone else there who could make the magic happen?

She offered to transfer me to her manager, warning me that she didn’t think they could help me either. I said that I understood, but that it was worth a shot and I would appreciate being transferred. As she was agreeing, I lightly slipped in, “Tell them I am nice.” Which received another laugh.

I sat on hold for a while waiting for the supervisor to come on the line only to have Sandy come back on the line clearly excited to tell me that she made the magic happen!

She talked to the manager for me, and they were going to make the change to my flight without even charging me a fee!

It took an hour but saved me many more hours. I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome. So what is the takeaway?  Next time you get stuck in a hard situation, remember:

1. It never hurts to ask.

2. It always helps to ask nicely.

Is there something you’d like to ask for, that you haven’t? Go ask now!

​​​​​​​Remember the power of nice. Make someone want to help you, and you are more likely to get the answer you want.

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