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Twitter Is Creating a Generation of Whiny Travelers Who Complain About Everything (Boo Hoo)

A couple of recent articles note how travelers are using Twitter to complain in large numbers about travel experiences.  Do a quick search on Twitter Search for “worst hotel room” and look at the complaining:

worst hotel experience ever!”
Worst hotel/pub ever!!”
“We are in THE worst hotel in all of Cannes”
“Last (hotel) was the WORST ever!

That’s from the past 3 days.

The Wall St. Journal article tells the story of a sales guy on a business trip who was unhappy with his room at a Marriott in Orlando.  He then Tweeted, “I have the crappiest room in the hotel.”  Supposedly the front desk manager saw the tweet, then upgraded the guy.

Now, perhaps it was the way I was raised, but why in God’s name wouldn’t he just go down to the front desk, chat with the nice fellow, and ask for a different room?  Or as I once read from a travel columnist, when you check in just tell the front desk clerk that you’d like the 4th room they would’ve given you.

Either way, why wouldn’t you just go downstairs and ask nicely?  Why does everyone complain constantly on Twitter?  Look at a search for “worst airline”…

“They remain to be the country’s worst airline.”
“Hey @flyfrontier, you’re officially worse than @delta, thought no airline could be THAT bad. Worst customer service.”
@Delta =worst airline evr. Horrible service
This may be the worst airline flight experience so far this summer:
Delta! Worst airline food

Those are from the past 12 hours.  Seriously.

Is it all so bad?  Can it all be the worst?  As my favorite Shakespeare quote from King Lear says, “The worst is not, So long as we can say, ‘This is the worst…”

I’m a realist — I know that things go wrong in travel sometimes.  But we have choices — go speak with a manager.  Be courteous, even when in a stressful travel situation.  Ask for a supervisor to come sit with you in the lobby and discuss the issues.  Have realistic expectations for what a $39 flight will get you.  Every $79 Pricelined hotel room will not be the Presidential Suite.

Twitter certainly has its uses, but the never-ending flow of complaints has already gotten old.  Quit your whining and do something about it.  Go have a conversation with someone.  Like an adult.

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  1. Politely disagree, too often travelers/customers’ complaints are ignored. If a Tweet gets you an upgrade due to perceived public-relations nightmare, then good for the customer. Companies need to start embracing social media as another outlet where customers are going to vent their disatisfaction—Comcast is a brand that has realized this. Why not hotels?

  2. I’ll politely disagree with Kay (although her point that companies need to embrace social media is spot on.) Most hotels are not staffed with enough people to be monitoring Twitter all day (& especially in the evenings when most check in) to learn of a customer’s disatisfaction. Why continue to suffer in a bad situation and not try to get it resolved in person, at the moment you’re disatisfied? By the time the hotel reads the complaint, if they ever do, you’ll probably be long gone. Social media has its purpose, but what a shame when it entirely replaces face to face human contact and communication. I suggest holding your Twitter complaints until after you’ve given management a chance to respond to your in-person entreaties. If they turn a deaf ear, then you have good cause to start typing!

  3. I can’t believe (in a good way) you quoted King Lear in a post about travel-related complaints. Well played!

  4. Apart from the guy who was upgraded after he Tweeted, how do you know that Twitter isn’t a second course of action for most of these ‘complainers’? Why is Tweeting any less relevant a place to review your experience than Expedia or Trip Advisor.

    Lots of people use social media platforms like Twitter to source reviews and feedback before booking their travel – it’s just another channel for feedback.

  5. Because, “Delta sucks” isn’t a complaint, it’s whining.

  6. A Word about Online Airline Complaints | Online Travel Review - pingback on July 13, 2010 at 2:05 pm
  7. “Go have a conversation with someone. Like an adult.” Amen to that.

  8. Frontier Airlines has terrible customer service! Nobody had correct information. Nobody cared about inconveniences to passengers. Nobody tried to change the experience to a positive experience.

    I flew Frontier last night from Austin to Salt Lake City and it was pure confusion, lack of apology, late takeoffs, poor gate communication, and a one hour bag delay at midnight.

    It started in Austin, when the gate agents stopped boarding the plane after about 5 passengers boarded the plane. We were told the flight was delayed one hour. We sat down, plugged laptops/phones in and fired up the Internet. Without any explanation, we were told that boarding was proceeding five minutes later. At this point, we may make our connection.

    We landed in Denver and received instructions for Gate 44. We were told they were boarding and it was just across the aisle and down on the right. It was about 1/2 mile down on the right. I should have known better, being Denver International AIrport, but it wasn’t helpful.

    We arrived at Gate 44, we were given attitude that the sign read LaGuardia, NYC but was supposed to be the Salt Lake City gate. We were told our plane hadn’t arrived and we’d be boarding in about 20 minutes. There were about 1000 people standing at our gate for three different flights and mass confusion among everyone. Anytime the gate agents were approached, they were unprofessional at best.

    We opted for express boarding by checking our bags at the gate because the cabin wouldn’t fit all the carry-on bags. We opted for this, thinking we could pick up our bags at the end of the jet way where we dropped them off. Arriving in Salt Lake City, we were greeted with a very old man who began telling us of his plans after retirement at 80 in a couple years. He didn’t bother to tell us our bags were not coming out on the jet way but at baggage pick up instead.

    We proceeded to baggage and waited another 45 minutes, without any notice, updates, warning, etc. that our bags would take that long. Keep in mind, it’s midnight and we’ve been confused at every turn by Frontier employees for the past five hours.

    As our bags finally arrived, I asked the baggage agent what took so long and he just shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

    Not a single piece of truth. No apologies. No customer service. No attempt to ease passenger concerns. No reason to every recommend or fly Frontier Airlines again.

    I tweeted about it.

  9. Congrats on having the neppsawer pick up your photo. It’s actually my favorite one that I saved to my hard drive. Now if I can only figure out how to make it my screen saver (I’ll have to get one of my teenagers to show me how!) Thanks for sharing your beautiful work. P.S. I have my 5 smooth stones where I can see them every morning. I think I will scavenge around for another set for my office God knows I need them there!All the best,Barbara Rook

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