When to call airlines for compensation for flight delays

One thing airlines are doing right — but not for long, is providing travelers with the fastest and most reasonable flight delays. That is, if you know when to call.

Sure, call centers are busy all the time, because there are more than 1.9 million flights scheduled every day. But given the sheer number of calls, customers have little room to wait when they call about flight delays.

For American Airlines, the top 10 networks handled 235,916 of the roughly 850,000 calls from its customers who logged a claim for compensation for flight delays or cancellations between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2019. When agents aren’t handling the calls, they are frequently fielding incoming texts, voice mails, emails, and social media posts from other travelers.

Nearly 65 percent of those delayed calls went through the highest-ranked network, AOG, or Air Genius. In second place with 61 percent was AirNYC. Four airlines received more than 25 percent of the claims (American, Delta, United, and Southwest). Southwest had the most delays in both the number of delays and on their networks (1.21 delays for every 1,000 flights). Air New York, another New York–based airline, had the worst network performance, handling 1.63 delays per 1,000 flights.

But most of the most-and-least-rated networks landed customers in the middle ranks: some got customers nowhere and few with lengthy waits. In third place with one of the lowest call times for customers waiting for service (77 seconds on average) was JetBlue. But a quick look at the five-minute numbers showed a little furor. JetBlue received 65 claims per 1,000 flights. Southwest and Air New York had 54 and 51 per 1,000 flights, respectively. JetBlue got the most delays in both the number of delays and on their networks (1.21 delays for every 1,000 flights). Southwest and American also had the highest delays in terms of number of flights.

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