Whether you’re going by train, plane or automobile, public holidays can quickly turn into a nightmare when your travel plans go wrong. Twitter has become a fantastic way for travellers to get up-to-the-minute information and advice when no-one around knows what’s going on.
Some brands and organisations in particular have developed truly stellar strategies for providing the most helpful possible service on Twitter. Whether it’s that extra human touch or a well-oiled system of getting the right information to the people who need it, these heroes of the highways are making travel easier. The days of craning your neck to see what the jam is all about or running around airport terminals looking for someone in uniform are over!
Here’s a handful of the best handles out there to help you have a stress-free bank-holiday trip! (Sorry to those of you outside the UK – it’s mostly British ones this time!)
First Great Western - @FGW
The guys @FGW have not had an easy year so far. 2013/14 was the wettest winter in British recorded history, affecting trains all over the country. But the South West was perhaps the worst hit with some track even getting washed into the sea.
Dealing with problems which you haven’t caused yourself is often a thankless task but @FGW have a dedicated round-the-clock team who worked diligently to get stranded travellers where they needed to be.
Good afternoon! Leo and Ollie here until 11pm to help with any FGW questions.
— First Great Western (@FGW) April 17, 2014
You always know who you’re talking to at @FGW because they tend to put the individual’s name at the end of each tweet. This is a nice little human touch but it also serves a practical purpose. It allows customers to see who it is behind the keyboard at all times. This is important when dealing with train updates over time because you have an idea of what the person you’re tweeting already knows about your situation.
Motorway Cameras @MotorwayCameras
If you’re one of those people who just can’t handle not knowing what’s going on up ahead when you’re stuck in a traffic jam, you will be truly delighted by this ingenious account. No more getting out of your car and walking around in a general grump at the impotence of your situation, when there’s a blockage on the motorways @MotorwayCameras shares images from… you guessed it… motorway cameras.
— Motorway Cameras (@MotorwayCameras) April 17, 2014
Knowing that you’re stuck because a lorry has broken down in the middle lane may not help you get anywhere but it does at least remove the mystery of why everything just stopped suddenly.
The guys @MotorwayCameras don’t just tweet pictures, they’re also on hand with answers to questions and plenty of sympathetic banter to get you through the pain of being stuck behind a mile of metal!
— Motorway Cameras (@MotorwayCameras) April 16, 2014
Royal Dutch Airlines @KLM
Always worth a mention when talking about customer service on Twitter is KLM. Their ingenious idea to keep their estimated response time updated on their homepage image is a blessing for people wanting to know when they might hear back about their issue.
It also let’s customers know whether it’s worth asking in the first place if they are in a rush and that in turn must save considerable time for the social media team who don’t have to answer so many questions when people no longer need an answer.
— Royal Dutch Airlines (@KLM) January 25, 2014
Cool under pressure and ready with useful information, the team @KLM are a great example in a difficult job.
If you are going away, have a great and (travel-stress-free!) break. And if you’re using Twitter to get help during a crisis, remember to be nice to the social media managers working hard around the clock!