New Survey Ranks Hold Times At Major Airline Call Centers

It's not just your imagination: Airlines really are keeping you on hold for minutes at a time.

A new study reveals that 13 major US airlines keep the average caller waiting at least 90 seconds before a human picks up, a troubling sign in the lead-up to the busy holiday travel weekend that's already seen a few minor snafus.

While smaller carriers Hawaiian and Alaska airlines fared best in the survey -- conducted Nov. 16-21 and comprising hundreds of test calls -- American Airlines also ranked in the top three, with an average wait time of just over two minutes.

The recently merged United-Continental posted some of the longest hold times with waits of 5:49 and 6:08 respectively. But Virgin America ran away with the dubious distinction of having the longest waits, with an average hold of more than 24 minutes in this survey.

Spokeswoman Abby Lunardini explained the industry-leading waits in an email to The Huffington Post:

This is definitely not our typical call center experience, which is usually an under-30 second hold time -- and it reflects the unacceptably long hold times we had been experiencing due to our switch to a new reservations system. The call center times have improved since.

The full results are available from STELLAService, the firm that conducted the survey.

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