Across the 18 months of the pandemic, the phones at airlines have been running hot – indeed, at times close to meltdown – as frantic and often frustrated travellers called regarding cancelled flights or chasing promised refunds.
Each new round of lockdowns and border closures only added to the pressure already in place from scrubbed overseas flights, and epic 'on hold' times of several hours have been reported.
So is there a best time of day to call your airline, in order to minimise that wait – and a best day of the week, for that matter?
Additionally, when should you avoid calling the customer support line?
Australian consumer group Choice recently surveyed the call waiting times for both Qantas and Virgin Australia, with staff making eight calls a day at designated times across a nine-day period in mid-August.
The take-out: it's all about getting in ahead of the crowd.
The earlier in the morning you can call, the better your chance of beating the rush.
Choice' staff hit the phones at 9am, and reported that this saw the average wait timr for Qantas standing at just six minutes – okay, that's still six minutes of repetitively-looped 'on hold' music – "while the average wait times at noon and 5:00pm were 52 and 66 minutes, respectively."
Obviously, you don't have to wait until 9am. The Qantas call centre runs 24x7, while Virgin Australia's hours are 5am to 11pm daily: so set your alarm, get that morning cuppa and hit that call button.
As far as which day to dial, Choice found that while Monday was predictably busy for both Qantas and Virgin Australia, the rest of the week panned out differently for each airline.
For Qantas, Choice noted a marked drop in call waiting times on Tuesday, along with Saturday and Sunday.
Virgin Australia's call waiting curve peaked on Monday and steadily declined with each day of the
Choice's research appears to have used the standard public support lines, rather than the premium services available to top-tier frequent flyers, or even call systems which can prioritise a caller's position in the queue based on their status tier.
Over 50% of Executive Traveller readers enjoy Gold or higher airline status, and those who are Qantas Platinum One frequent flyers often note quite snappy response times from the VIP service team even during the pandemic.
Executive Traveller readers: what's your experience when it comes to the best times to call Qantas and Virgin Australia?