6 tips for getting good customer service from a ‘bad’ airline? Yes, please and thank you!

Want to get good service from a bad airline? Use your “pleases” and “thank yous” – and don’t expect too much.

That’s the consensus of travelers, experts and insiders who have worked for these airlines. And by “these” airlines, I mean carriers that are known for their bare-bones fares, where everything is extra, and whose customer service ratings are circling the drain. (Those would be Frontier and Spirit, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Even if you don’t have a ticket on one of these low-scoring airlines this summer, you still might find the following information useful. You can score excellent service by understanding your airline, minding your manners and taking care of a few basics.

1. Weed out the bad airlines before you book

Courtney Goff, a former employee of one of the “ultra” low-cost airlines, says getting great service is a struggle – on both sides.

“Customer service was always an issue we had and could never really resolve,” she told me, “I attempted, in cases where I was able to help. But you can’t win them all.”

Ensuring a good flight experience starts at the beginning, before you book your ticket. Research your airline carefully. Learn about the fees and extra charges, which can be burdensome. But Goff says you should dig deeper.

“Does the airline delay its flights all day and then cancel, or do they cancel their flights immediately?” she says. “Do they have a way of accommodating you if there is a cancellation?”

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