Airline/Hotel Twitter Customer Service Is About To Get Easier

Filed Under: Travel Technology

One of the nice side effects of Twitter (other than finding out what your favorite celebrity had for lunch) has been the customer service many travel brands have provided through their channels. While the quality of the service can be inconsistent, many brands do a great job, all things considered. It’s nice to be able to fire off a direct message to an airline or hotel in order to get something done, rather than having to pick up the phone and call (especially when out of the country or on a plane, where you’re limited to wifi).

The one slight annoyance is that you’re limited to 140 characters, both via Tweeting and direct messaging. I suppose that’s not something we can complain about, given that short messages is sort of the reason that Twitter exists.

That being said, it looks like Twitter will be lifting the 140 character limit on direct messages at some point in July.

Via engadget:

Twitter really wants you to start using Twitter DMs to privately chat with your friends. Of course, when you’re chatting with folks, a 140 character limit means you have to span your long messages over multiple posts which sort of kills the flow of a story. But, starting sometime in July, you won’t have to worry about that because the company is removing the 140 character limit in DMs.

While it might seem minor, to anyone who uses Twitter regularly to communicate with a travel company, this is fantastic news.


(Tip of the hat to Chris)

  1. Given that this is talking about making changes to another person’s reservation, it just raised an interesting question for me – how do you make all these award bookings/changes over the phone when you’re not the account holder? Do you just pretend to be them or is there some authorisation system you use?

  2. @takke They probably either conference the 3rd party in or give them the info and let them book it themselves

  3. For those of us who remember the olden days (circa 2006–2007), recall that Twitter was originally designed for distribution of SMS messages, hence the 140 character limit (the SMS protocol specifies 160). And Twitter is still accessible via SMS, though most people access it through other means. Nowadays it is of course possible to send longer messages via SMS, though what happens under the hood is that the sending phone breaks up a long message into 160-character chunks, sends each one as a separate message, and the receiving phone (if it’s smart enough) glues the pieces back together. It’s nice to see Twitter finally catch up with what phone manufacturers have been doing for years.

  4. @ takke — For many airlines, that rule is limited to Twitter, given the limited amount of information you can share there. Over the phone they’ll usually let you make bookings/changes for others, assuming you have all their account info.

  5. @lucky – thanks, good to know. I did do that recently actually where I needed to change the baggage allowance on a booking but I wasn’t sure if it would work with a more major change.

  6. I’ve used Twitter and Facebook to message mainstream travel brands a lot, it turned out to be very helpful.

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