Buddy needed emergency surgery and our company contacts came to the rescue

Joy Silva’s Alaska Airlines case wouldn’t have gone far even under the best of circumstances.

You might even say it would have gone to the dogs.

Her dog, to be exact.

Her story, which involved Alaska Airlines, her pet, unexpected surgery and a few insider tricks, offers lessons for the rest of us. Sometimes, even frivolous-sounding cases have some merit. Hers certainly did, much to my surprise — and probably yours, too.

Sick as a dog
Joy used Elliott's Alaska Airlines company contacts when her dog needed emergency surgery and she missed her flight
Buddy needed emergency surgery

“Our dog had to have emergency surgery,” she explained. “We could not go on the vacation.”

That meant canceling everything, including her nonrefundable Alaska Airlines tickets.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s a nonrefundable ticket. If she’s going to cancel her vacation, she should be prepared to take that loss.

My thoughts, exactly.

Christopher is a cat guy
Christopher’s cats

Then again, I’m a cat guy. But I can tell you that if any one of my beloved cats — whom I am honored to serve — were ill, I probably would have done the same thing. As my daughter says, “Cats are people, too.”

Elliott’s company contacts to the rescue

Fortunately, Silva knew about our company contacts. She knew we had Alaska Airlines’ executive contacts, including their names, numbers and email addresses. She thought she could appeal to them.

I have a team of amazing researchers, led by John Galbraith, who find and publish all of the executive contacts.

“After an unsuccessful phone contact, using the information on your website, I emailed the head of customer service and cc’d the president and vice president, describing the situation,” Silva says. “I also tweeted about their cancellation policy. In all communication, I was very polite and not snarky.”

Related story:   Hey, where's my travel insurance check?

Remember the three “P”s — be patient, persistent and polite? Silva was taking a line from the Elliott playbook even though she didn’t really have much of a case.

Good for her.

Buddy is a cat “person” too
Her puppy would be proud of her happy ending

A few days later — without any involvement from my staff or me — Silva reported the good news.

“I got the price of the tickets refunded,” she told me. “I just wanted to share my positive experience and to thank you for your great work.”

Lesson learned? “I should consider buying travel insurance,” she says.

Yes, and?

Sometimes, it’s not the strength of your case, but the soundness of your methods, that leads to a successful fix. Silva’s case demonstrates that. Our advocacy team wouldn’t have touched her case. Not in a million years. I can only imagine the comments you’d leave if we did.

Buddy's owner used our Alaska Airlines company contacts to get a refund on her tickets when Buddy needed emergency surgery
Buddy has recovered!

Yet she successfully used our proven techniques to recover $272.

I can’t argue with that.

Hey Alaska Airlines, that was a humane response

And to my friends at Alaska Airlines reading this, let me say this: What a nice, humane response to a passenger who was in distress. She didn’t have a leg — or a paw — to stand on, but you helped her anyway.

I hope the people reading this see how far you’ve come from “No Waivers, No Favors” and how much you care about your customers.

And for the rest of you reading this, maybe it’s time to give Alaska Airlines a try. If you run into problems, you know where to find our executive contacts.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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