Can Air NZ hear you complaining while on hold? Ex-call centre workers tell all

  • 11/08/2022

As the air travel industry continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, many travellers are getting used to spending extended times waiting on the phone.

But can companies hear you while they have you on hold?

Air New Zealand is reducing its flight schedule over the next six months, which will see 100,000 passengers impacted - many of whom are going to need to use the airline's call centre.

AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green said she'd heard that call centre staff can hear customers who are on hold and the swearing, groaning or anything else audible they may be doing.

A viewer named Rebecca, who works for a bank's call centre, contacted the show to clarify.

"She said they can't hear you while on hold to be picked up, but they can hear you once you've picked up and put you back on hold," said Chan-Green.

"So if they put you on hold and you're saying, 'Oh, I've been here for ages', they can hear you saying that. They can hear you go off and eat your lunch."

Another viewer named Jeff said: "If you're hearing music the call taker isn't on the line, but the call recording system will capture this period that you're on hold listening to music. So any conversation and background noise will also be captured and recorded."

"That's quite frightening," AM co-host Ryan Bridge remarked.

Tips for beating call centre queues

People are also sharing tips on how to not spend hours on the phone waiting to speak to airline staff.

One viewer said Air NZ is quite quick to respond on WhatsApp, so that might be better than calling.

In an email to Newshub, a person in the South Island said they had waited for a total of around 14 hours over two separate calls to Jetstar recently.

They said in the end they undertook an hour long drive to Christchurch Airport where there was no queue at the Jetstar reservations desk.

Do you have any tips for beating the call centre queues? Let us know on the Newshub Travel Facebook group.