5 Ways to Get Good Customer Service From an Airline

5 Ways to Get Good Customer Service From an Airline

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Delta called Ann Coulter’s actions on social media “unacceptable.”

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Gary Cameron/Reuters

Over the weekend, the conservative commentator Ann Coulter posted a series of tweets, each more scathing than the last, criticizing Delta for moving her to a different seat. While her complaints were fairly successful — the airline refunded her the extra $30 it cost to sit an a row with extra legroom — the carrier also labeled her actions “unacceptable.” The exchange raised questions even for those passengers who aren’t as politically polarizing as Ms. Coulter: What is the most effective way to get good customer service?

After all Ms. Coulter’s complaints come amid a growing number of passenger complaints against United States carriers and their employees. Yes, the summer travel season is in full swing, with flights booked to capacity and airline staff stretched thin, but experts say that there are ways to get effective and even friendly service when you take to the skies:

Below are five tips on how:

Turn to Social Media. Air your grievance to the airline on its Twitter feed, Facebook page or both, but do it in a reasonable manner, said Rick Seaney, the founder of the airline advice site farecompare.com. “Don’t attack the airline because that puts them on the defensive.” So probably no memes mocking them. Instead, Mr. Seaney suggested letting the carrier know that you’re upset and then stating your complaint. When you post your issue on social media, he said, the airline perceives it as their brand being publicly tarnished and generally, they will reach out to you to resolve the matter privately.

Humanize Airline Employees. Customer service consultant and trainer Micah Solomon said that addressing employees by name is an incredibly strong tool to getting good service. If you’re interacting with an employee in person, be sure to also make eye contact and smile; if it’s on the phone, remember their name when they first give it to you, and address them by it throughout your call. “Airline employees are real people and want to be appreciated and respected, and using their name shows them that you do,” Mr. Solomon said. “In return, they’re more apt to help and respect you.” In his more than decade as a customer service consultant, he said that he has seen instance after instance of customer service agents in a variety of industries going the extra mile to be more helpful when the person they’re assisting addresses them by name.

If Possible, Have a Face-to-Face Interaction. If you’re at the airport and run into an issue with your flight or with the airline, such as a delayed, canceled or overbooked flight or lost luggage, Mr. Seaney said that it’s best to get it resolved in person. “On the phone, you’re anonymous to some degree, but you’re more likely to get compassion from an airline employee if you’re looking at him or her,” he said. If you’re at the gate, and the line to talk to an employee is long, he advised finding an employee at a different gate or even exiting security and finding one at the airline’s check-in area, which usually has more staff on hand than at the gate. Or, try Mr. Seaney’s go-to way, and head to the airline’s lounge, usually reserved for premium or frequent fliers, and explain your situation to one of the employee’s at the reception area. “I do this all the time, even if I don’t have access to the lounge and have never been turned away,” he said.

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July 17, 2017 at 08:48PM

Nakhal Fort in Oman

Nakhal Fort in Oman

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Near the north coast of Oman, in the province of Nakhal, is a spectacular fortress that pre-dates the Islamic era.

The pre-Islamic (the exact date is unknown) structure that was the foundation for later additions to Nakhal Fort was built around a large, oddly shaped boulder at the base of Mount Nakhal, which occasionally juts out into the fort’s interior. This is why the fort is an irregular shape.

The fort has been renovated many times since its construction to protect nearby trade routes, most notably in the 9th and 17th centuries as well as in 1834 (when the walls, towers, and entranceway were built). There is a mosque on the first floor and residential and reception rooms on the upper level. The ceiling of one guest room features beautiful geometric designs and Arabic writing.

From its history of use for defense, Nakhal Fort has acquired a collection of interesting features, including nooks over doorways where boiling cauldrons of honey or date juice would wait to be poured on invaders, and spiked doors for repelling battering rams.

Today, the fort houses a museum with exhibits of historic guns and other artifacts. Every Friday at the fort there is a goat market. The view from the fort is mostly of date palm trees that fill the surrounding area, appropriate, since the fort’s name, Nakhal, translates to “palm.”

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July 17, 2017 at 08:41PM

Nakhal Fort in Oman

Nakhal Fort in Oman

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Near the north coast of Oman, in the province of Nakhal, is a spectacular fortress that pre-dates the Islamic era.

The pre-Islamic (the exact date is unknown) structure that was the foundation for later additions to Nakhal Fort was built around a large, oddly shaped boulder at the base of Mount Nakhal, which occasionally juts out into the fort’s interior. This is why the fort is an irregular shape.

The fort has been renovated many times since its construction to protect nearby trade routes, most notably in the 9th and 17th centuries as well as in 1834 (when the walls, towers, and entranceway were built). There is a mosque on the first floor and residential and reception rooms on the upper level. The ceiling of one guest room features beautiful geometric designs and Arabic writing.

From its history of use for defense, Nakhal Fort has acquired a collection of interesting features, including nooks over doorways where boiling cauldrons of honey or date juice would wait to be poured on invaders, and spiked doors for repelling battering rams.

Today, the fort houses a museum with exhibits of historic guns and other artifacts. Every Friday at the fort there is a goat market. The view from the fort is mostly of date palm trees that fill the surrounding area, appropriate, since the fort’s name, Nakhal, translates to “palm.”

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July 17, 2017 at 08:37PM

Ministers Island in Saint Andrews, Canada

Ministers Island in Saint Andrews, Canada

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Bar Road uncovered.

If you’re visiting Ministers Island, take note. During low tide, visitors can drive (or walk) across a seemingly innocuous road to get to their destination. During high tide, however, Bar Road (the island’s only access to the mainland) is covered up by 20 feet of water. Bar Road, in fact, is not a road so much as the sea floor, which sometimes exposes itself to the air and operates as a pathway.

The disappearing and reappearing access to its beautiful beaches isn’t the only thing that makes this island fascinating. Its surprisingly rich history is equally as cool as its unique landscape formation.

Ministers Island was first settled by the Passamaquoddy Indians centuries ago, who named it Consquamcook Island. Evidence of the Passamaquoddys’ settlement was first uncovered during archaeological excavations in the 1970s. 

The first European settlers began arriving to the island in 1777, when two British Revolutionary War soldiers (John Hanson and Ephriam Young) "discovered" it. Hanson and Young lived on the island with their families until 1783, when they were ousted by Captain Samuel Osborn. There are several theories regarding the transfer of the island from Hanson and Young to Osborn, including the possibility that the captain used cannon fire to threaten them and force them to flee.

In 1791, the island was sold by Captain Osborn to Reverend Samuel Andrews. Reverend Andrews, the first Rector of St. Andrews, was a popular minister, and the island came to be known as Ministers Island during the time he lived there. In 1891, Sir William Van Horne (President of the Canadian Pacific Railway) began purchasing pieces of the island to build his 50-room summer home, eventually acquiring the entire island.

After Van Horne, the island passed through several owners before being declared a provincially protected site in 1977. The Van Horne estate is still intact and able to be toured for a fee. Reverend Andrews’ house is also still standing.

Hikers can explore Ministers Island’s many trails and wade through the water surrounding the island. For those who can find it, there is even a well-placed hammock with a beautiful view from the top of a cliff.

But beware: Any visitor who leaves their car on the island after high tide will have to wait until the next day to drive home.

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July 17, 2017 at 08:27PM

Ministers Island in Saint Andrews, Canada

Ministers Island in Saint Andrews, Canada

http://ift.tt/2t8NnGn

Bar Road uncovered.

If you’re visiting Ministers Island, take note. During low tide, visitors can drive (or walk) across a seemingly innocuous road to get to their destination. During high tide, however, Bar Road (the island’s only access to the mainland) is covered up by 20 feet of water. Bar Road, in fact, is not a road so much as the sea floor, which sometimes exposes itself to the air and operates as a pathway.

The disappearing and reappearing access to its beautiful beaches isn’t the only thing that makes this island fascinating. Its surprisingly rich history is equally as cool as its unique landscape formation.

Ministers Island was first settled by the Passamaquoddy Indians centuries ago, who named it Consquamcook Island. Evidence of the Passamaquoddys’ settlement was first uncovered during archaeological excavations in the 1970s. 

The first European settlers began arriving to the island in 1777, when two British Revolutionary War soldiers (John Hanson and Ephriam Young) "discovered" it. Hanson and Young lived on the island with their families until 1783, when they were ousted by Captain Samuel Osborn. There are several theories regarding the transfer of the island from Hanson and Young to Osborn, including the possibility that the captain used cannon fire to threaten them and force them to flee.

In 1791, the island was sold by Captain Osborn to Reverend Samuel Andrews. Reverend Andrews, the first Rector of St. Andrews, was a popular minister, and the island came to be known as Ministers Island during the time he lived there. In 1891, Sir William Van Horne (President of the Canadian Pacific Railway) began purchasing pieces of the island to build his 50-room summer home, eventually acquiring the entire island.

After Van Horne, the island passed through several owners before being declared a provincially protected site in 1977. The Van Horne estate is still intact and able to be toured for a fee. Reverend Andrews’ house is also still standing.

Hikers can explore Ministers Island’s many trails and wade through the water surrounding the island. For those who can find it, there is even a well-placed hammock with a beautiful view from the top of a cliff.

But beware: Any visitor who leaves their car on the island after high tide will have to wait until the next day to drive home.

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July 17, 2017 at 08:22PM

This Tube Worm Will Outlive Us All

This Tube Worm Will Outlive Us All

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Down in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, there are cold seeps, deep on the ocean floor , that are home to various kinds of tube worms. (A tube worm, for what it’s worth, is fairly a broad category—a wormy invertebrate that anchors itself someplace underwater and builds a nice, mineral tube for itself.)

A couple of these tube worms, namely Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi, have long life spans, much longer than creatures of their size are supposed to have. But there’s a third species of tube worm in the area about which little is known, Escarpia laminata, first identified in 1985. A team of scientists decided to learn more about this mysterious tube worm and wondered if it also lived an unusually long time.

What they found, as they report in The Science of Nature, is that Escapardia laminata can grow even older than its counterparts—some individuals might even reach 300 years old. In other words, a tube worm that’s alive right now is likely going to outlive all of us.

article-image

The team came to this conclusion by studying 356 tube worms and measuring how much they grew. With that data, as well as observations about the death and birth rates of the species, they used an age-prediction model developed for other tube worms to estimate just how long these tube worms could be around. Generally, they found these tube worms could live 100 to 200 years, but the largest of them could live 300 years.

Escapardia laminata lives so long partially because they live in such a safe place. It’s relatively rare for a tube worm living deep in the Gulf of Mexico, at least three-fifths of a mile or so down, to encounter a threat that kills them. So why not just keep living? The evidence in this new study, its authors say, supports that theory that, in absence of threats and high rates of death, evolution selects for the members of the species who live the longest. Eventually you get 300 year old tube worms.

Tube worms are not the longest lived creatures in the sea, though. The marine clam Arctica islandica is thought to be able to live more than 500 years. The longest animal, in length, is also thought to be a sea creature—the bootlace worm, which is grossly long. Oceans! There’s a lot of weird stuff that happens there.

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July 17, 2017 at 08:20PM

Guy Rope Anchors for the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy

Guy Rope Anchors for the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy

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The Piazza dei Miracoli, with the Tower in the center and the two white anchors in the lower right.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa dates back to the 12th century, and is one of the most recognized tourist attractions in the world. But for all the trinket shops and gags photos of friends and family “holding it up,” it’s a rare visitor who notices two large (and distinctly non-medieval) pulley anchors at neighboring the Palazzo dell’Opera.

The bright white contraptions are leftovers from the elaborate engineering project carried out in the late 1990s and early 2000s to stabilize the iconic tower. For all the charm of its tilt, after decades of discussions on how to keep the whole thing from reaching the tipping point, a plan was finally hatched to pull it back to a less extreme angle using a complex system of screw augers, lead weights, and guy ropes.

Now, nearly two decades later, the only thing left of the major restoration are these two anchors, just outside the restrooms at the Palazzo to the north.

The history of the lean goes back almost to the very beginnings of construction, which took nearly 200 years to complete. The land on which it stands is wholly unsuited to such a tall and slender tower, with mostly sand and clay underfoot. It was only three tiers high when the tilt began to show, and the weight of the marble compacting the loose soil only made things worse.

In 1990 a team of engineers devised a plan to use guys ropes and lead weights on the high side to temporarily maintain the tower’s position while soil was removed using a screw auger system (a rotating blade that acts as a kind of circular conveyor belt). This would reduce the lean just enough to keep the tower stable, but not so much that tourists would notice.

Cables were strapped about the third tier and held in place via these two anchors, and lead weights were added to help pull the whole thing to more plumb position. Once the work was done, the cables–which passed over the Palazzo dell’Opera on the north side of the piazza–were removed. The anchors, despite their incongruous appearance, are still there, visible reminders of the astonishing engineering achievement to fix the mistakes of builders so many centuries ago.

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July 17, 2017 at 08:13PM

The Hastings Museum Kool-Aid Exhibit in Hastings, Nebraska

The Hastings Museum Kool-Aid Exhibit in Hastings, Nebraska

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Kool-Aid Museum, Hastings, Nebraska.

Hastings, Nebraska is where Edwin Perkins invented Kool-Aid. To honor his delicious invention, the local museum has dedicated half of a floor to the drink’s history. Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream is a nostalgic and comprehensive collection of all things Kool-Aid. The only thing missing is a chance to actually imbibe the drink itself.

Kool-Aid’s precursor was Fruit Smack, a flavored syrup. Perkins, tired of how easily the glass bottles containing the syrup leaked and broke, decided to ditch the watery aspect of the sweet mixture and instead create packets of powder. He was inspired by Jell-O. Perkins debuted the drink, which was originally called Fruit-Ade, in 1927.

The Kool-Aid exhibit at the Hastings Museum of of Natural and Cultural History is full of information about the drink’s beginnings and various marketing strategies. It includes old packaging and advertisements, as well as discontinued Kool-Aid related products like bubble gum and sherbet packets. Visitors follow a fiber optic ‘river’ of the drink that flows throughout the museum’s lower level. People can even catch a glimpse of the original Kool-Aid Man suit, though they shouldn’t expect it to burst through any walls.

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July 17, 2017 at 08:13PM

Guy Rope Anchors for the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy

Guy Rope Anchors for the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy

http://ift.tt/2vb5Fb9

The Piazza dei Miracoli, with the Tower in the center and the two white anchors in the lower right.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa dates back to the 12th century, and is one of the most recognized tourist attractions in the world. But for all the trinket shops and gags photos of friends and family “holding it up,” it’s a rare visitor who notices two large (and distinctly non-medieval) pulley anchors at neighboring the Palazzo dell’Opera.

The bright white contraptions are leftovers from the elaborate engineering project carried out in the late 1990s and early 2000s to stabilize the iconic tower. For all the charm of its tilt, after decades of discussions on how to keep the whole thing from reaching the tipping point, a plan was finally hatched to pull it back to a less extreme angle using a complex system of screw augers, lead weights, and guy ropes.

Now, nearly two decades later, the only thing left of the major restoration are these two anchors, just outside the restrooms at the Palazzo to the north.

The history of the lean goes back almost to the very beginnings of construction, which took nearly 200 years to complete. The land on which it stands is wholly unsuited to such a tall and slender tower, with mostly sand and clay underfoot. It was only three tiers high when the tilt began to show, and the weight of the marble compacting the loose soil only made things worse.

In 1990 a team of engineers devised a plan to use guys ropes and lead weights on the high side to temporarily maintain the tower’s position while soil was removed using a screw auger system (a rotating blade that acts as a kind of circular conveyor belt). This would reduce the lean just enough to keep the tower stable, but not so much that tourists would notice.

Cables were strapped about the third tier and held in place via these two anchors, and lead weights were added to help pull the whole thing to more plumb position. Once the work was done, the cables–which passed over the Palazzo dell’Opera on the north side of the piazza–were removed. The anchors, despite their incongruous appearance, are still there, visible reminders of the astonishing engineering achievement to fix the mistakes of builders so many centuries ago.

Travel

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July 17, 2017 at 08:08PM

The Hastings Museum Kool-Aid Exhibit in Hastings, Nebraska

The Hastings Museum Kool-Aid Exhibit in Hastings, Nebraska

http://ift.tt/2vavhF7

Hastings, Nebraska is where Edwin Perkins invented Kool-Aid. To honor his delicious invention, the local museum has dedicated half of a floor to the drink’s history. Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream is a nostalgic and comprehensive collection of all things Kool-Aid. The only thing missing is a chance to actually imbibe the drink itself.

Kool-Aid’s precursor was Fruit Smack, a flavored syrup. Perkins, tired of how easily the glass bottles containing the syrup leaked and broke, decided to ditch the watery aspect of the sweet mixture and instead create packets of powder. He was inspired by Jell-O. Perkins debuted the drink, which was originally called Fruit-Ade, in 1927.

The Kool-Aid exhibit at the Hastings Museum of of Natural and Cultural History is full of information about the drink’s beginnings and various marketing strategies. It includes old packaging and advertisements, as well as discontinued Kool-Aid related products like bubble gum and sherbet packets. Visitors follow a fiber optic ‘river’ of the drink that flows throughout the museum’s lower level. People can even catch a glimpse of the original Kool-Aid Man suit, though they shouldn’t expect it to burst through any walls.

Travel

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July 17, 2017 at 08:08PM