American’s Twitter Team Successfully Gets My Home Internet Fixed

I was delayed out of Miami yesterday first by a catering issue (probably because we switched from an unreconfigured 777 with 16 first class seats to a refurbished 777 where the forward cabin was the entire business section of the plane, lots more upgrades, and they hadn’t planned to provision that way) and then further delayed by a bit of weather that caused the airport to halt departures and switch the direction of takeoffs.

My connection time in Dallas was reduced down to 25 minutes initially and I was going to be changing terminals. In fact I would have to go from terminal D to terminal C on the other side of the airport.

While inflight I tweeted about the tight connection.

Then the peanut gallery chimed in.

I had already been auto-protected on the next flight home to Austin. And I never truly should bank on landing exactly when I am scheduled to, making plans based on expected flight arrival times.

But I had an AT&T service appointment scheduled 4 to 8 pm. AT&T provides me with their Uverse television and internet. The next flight would have had me landing after 4pm.

  • This past Wednesday AT&T was installing someone else’s service in my building. Apparently (so they tell me) that tech unhooked my service and gave my connection to their install customer.

  • For whatever reason they decided it was easier than figuring out for themselves how to get the new service done.

  • I pushed for a same-day service call. They spent 8 hours on site trying to figure out the problem. They replaced my modem. They replaced the main box in my unit. Nothing worked. They finally figured out the issue.

  • Most of the time involved the tech waiting on hold for his support team. It was interesting to learn his hold times are worse than mine. Someone at AT&T figured out it’s cheaper to have pay for more tech time than to pay for more in-house support, I suppose.

  • He was finally ready to reactivate service. He was on hold for this final step for over an hour. And when he went down from number 72 in line to fourth he was.. disconnected – the team he needed for the final step had gone home for the night.

I left town the next morning. I was going to be home Saturday night and that’s it. I wanted TV service and internet to work. And I definitely want it working when I get back home and not to kill a day midweek on a service appointment.

So AT&T gave me a Saturday 4pm to 8pm slot. Odds on they weren’t going to show up at the beginning of that service window, right? I really didn’t want to miss the tech and have to reschedule for Tuesday (a busy day). So it did matter to me that I made it though I shouldn’t complain when I am scheduled so tightly that a one hour delay matters. In fact the AT&T tech showed up at 4:02pm – two minutes into the appointment window.

American tweeted back to me, though I didn’t see the final tweet because we went below 10,000 feet descending into Austin.

I got off my flight and my connection had shrunk to 17 minutes. But there was someone standing at the jetway door with my name on it. No Cadillac transfer on the tarmac. I am not a Concierge Key member and I am sure there are limits on what they can do there. But they had a golf cart and they took me straight from D37 to C11.

Door to my inbound aircraft opened at 1:42pm. They had me at the gate of my next flight at 1:47pm. Doors closed at 1:49pm.

The connection would have otherwise taken 10-12 minutes and I would have misconnected. Again, American had already protected me on a flight an hour later automatically. The Dallad-Austin market has 14-15 flights each day. But this helped me make it home for my appointment.

Some of you will assume that was special treatment. I have no way to know, but I share my story the same way I share them all and you can judge for yourself. Prolific View from the Wing snark comment contributor mark replied “helps having a travel blog.”

All I can say is that I have seen the American twitter team help plenty of people who don’t have a large twitter following or other social media outlet. Looking back over the last couple of hours they rebooked someone, processed a refund, and took care of seat assignments to name just a few things. So they aren’t just platitudes (there are a few of those too, natch).

This isn’t the sort of thing they have done for me before. My upgrades clear (or do not clear) just like anyone else’s. It may have helped that I’m a 100,000 mile flyer with American, though I didn’t tweet through the American app (I’ve heard that gets priority), though even that I couldn’t say.

Instead the American twitter team saw an opportunity where they could make a difference and they took it and I appreciate it. And it’s a good reminder to avail yourself of all customer service options when things go wrong — phone, check-in counter, gate, club lounge, customer service desk — and twitter.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This point: “He was finally ready to reactivate service. He was on hold for this final step for over an hour. And when he went down from number 72 in line to fourth he was.. disconnected – the team he needed for the final step had gone home for the night.”

    Just reading it made me see blood. Just insta-rage. The only organization that can give the telecom/cable/ISP industry a run for consumer-unfriendliness and overall incompetence is the TSA.

  2. And here I thought they would have tweeted back asking you to try restarting your router or cable box.

  3. The interesting part to me is that you are made to be home for someone else’s mistake, if they disconnected your connection without you being there I am sure they can find a way to fix it without you being there…..

  4. “Someone at AT&T figured out it’s cheaper to have pay for more tech time than to pay for more in-house support, I suppose.”

    I suppose it’s a case of two different business units. One doesn’t care about the other’s costs.

    This is what’s wrong with big companies and governments…no one is really in charge of anything, but everyone is held responsible.

  5. Gary, your readers really do love your blog and appreciate all the info we learn from it, but can we PLEASE knock it off with the click-baiting headlines? They got you home in time. They didn’t fix your internet.

  6. @Jamie – It gets worse. Service is out again. I’m told that they fixed my service by pulling my line back from the person they had taken it and given it to. Then that person called for service since theirs was out. And the original tech came back and took my service to give to them! Waiting on AT&T to return this morning.

  7. Just a tidbit, once the AA twitter team links your twitter handle with your AAdvantage account they always know that you’re an EXP regardless of whether you tweet through the AA app or through the twitter app.

  8. My elderly Uncle is crippled with a cane so after booking him for a flight to an even in New Orleans I called AA and asked about special assistance. They gave him aisle seats near the front and had a wheelchair meet him at connections.

    Several years earlier on AA the book he was reading attracted the DFW Gate Agent’s attention and they had a brief conversation about it. She handed him first class upgrade. He is still talking about it and won’t fly anyone but American.

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