Airline hold music: the good and the horrible

I spend a lot of time on hold with airlines. Possibly close to half my life. That means I get to listen to lots of music — not the quality stuff I’d like to listen to, like the Biebs, but instead inane advertisements and chanting music.

I usually love airlines that have hold music and not advertisements, like US Airways, which advertises pet medication, minibars at low-end Mexico hotels, and their “anything but ordinary” onboard snack menu, with delicacies such as Chex Mix and almonds.

But of the airlines with hold music I think there are some that deserve a big pat on the back, and others that deserve a big kick in the a&@.

Let’s start on a positive note. My favorite airline for hold music must be Thai.

I totally feel like an 11 year old girl for liking this song given how cheesy it is, but damn, it’s mildly addicting and severely uplifting, especially after a two hour geography lesson phone call with MistyJoMarie at US Airways.

Then I also love ANA’s hold music, which is super-classy and relaxing.

Unfortunately that’s where the good hold music ends. On the other end of the spectrum you have Turkish.

They simply repeat “We are Turkish Airlines. We are globally yours.” Over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over.

Maybe if they say it often enough we’ll believe it?

And then, my friends, there’s LOT. Words can’t do justice to how horrible their hold music is. Do yourself a favor and pick up your phone and call them. Have the agent put you on hold and enjoy the torture (and this doesn’t even begin to address the fact that the phone quality and training of the agents suggests that their call center is run out of the basement of a brothel in Bratislava). Can’t actually find the music online, though if anyone can find a link I’d be simultaneously delighted (so I can play it at night to scare off intruders) and horrified.

Did I miss any good/bad ones?

Comments

  1. UA post merger — We’re there… and there… and there… and there … and there…

    It’s really annoying esp with long hold times.

  2. @ Amol — Happy to hear you enjoy it too!

    @ Ed C @ Matt — LOL, totally agree. Doesn’t really work without the visuals.

  3. Shoot me now… Air france. It’s a continuous 30 second loop. Kinda makes you want to bang your head into the wall continually for 30 seconds at a time. I mean, if it were a song, that’d be one thing. But it’s not. Its a diddy. And a horrible one at that. I can’t tell if the person (singing) is doing it in French or English. This is not Delta AirFrance. This is pure straight Bienvenue AirFrance šŸ™‚ Shoot me now.

  4. It is not an airline but have you experienced to be on hold with Club Med? OMG!!!! It will drive you totally insane after just 3 minutes.

  5. I think the video you posted for TK is better than the actual hold music. Just the other day I was waiting for a TK agent. After a few minutes, I went into the garage, got a power drill, inserted a sharpened bit, and placed the bit to my skull. Moments before my TK-driven suicide, the agent answered. He talked me down, entered my retroactive mileage credit request, and ended the call.

    On a related note, TK won’t credit miles for my flight because my upgrade cert changed the class from “U” to “O” and “O” is ineligible for miles. Any thoughts?

  6. Am I the only one who thinks the greeting (or lack thereof) from AAgents is just kind of awkward?

    AAgent: “American Airlines, Debbie Smith” (looooooong pause)
    Me: “uh hi?”
    AAgent: “Yes…?”

    Not important at all in the grand scheme of things but a how can I help you would be nice (and much less awkward IMO).

  7. @ Tech Trainer — You’re absolutely right, it’s even worse than the YouTube clip. As far as your flight credit issue goes, have you tried emailing them the original receipt before the upgrade was applied?

  8. I just wish the systems wouldn’t repeat the same announcements and “your call is very important to us…” BS. Tell me once, OK. Then just put on some muzak and shut up.

  9. Not music, but my favorite is Southwest’s jokes.

    (Haven’t listened to it in a while now that there FF plan is the pits and they aren’t the cheapest from LAX-SFO or LAX-LAV)

  10. Sorta surprised at all of the United comments from I resume to be United elites.

    Mostly surprised that elite FFs would even hear the music enough to know it. If anyone say 50k/Gold-level and up calls, there should be, barring far-reaching IRROPS, no more than a few seconds of wait (imo).

  11. @matt: There’s never an initial wait, but ask to re-issue a ticket or appl y and upgrade (and other menial tasks) and you’ll soon find yourself on a 20-min hold…

  12. Why would LOT – the Polish national airline have their call centre in Bratislava , basement or otherwise , a city which is the capital of Slovakia.

  13. With Aeroplan, you get the worst of both worlds; crap hold music that loops endlessly AND commercials.

  14. Delta’s hold musicā€”on the Diamond Medallion line, at leastā€”isn’t bad. I think they use the same tunes that are played during boarding, and those are rotated monthly. I’m not saying I like every song, but at least they use real music by current artists rather than a brief loop of noise or advertisements.

  15. How would you rate SQ’s music? I quite like their “You’re a great way to fly” music, even though it’s from the 70’s.

  16. @Lucky, since Bali is one of your favorite spots, you owe it to yourself to see if Garuda (or any other Indonesian airline) has rindik music when you’re on hold.

  17. I don’t mind bad hold music too much. What really bothers me is the scratchy music that makes it sound like a 1989 cell phone being held over an old victrola. Seriously, it’s a pre-recorded music file. How hard can it be to get good quality sound over a phone line?

  18. COdbaUA has absolutely butchered Rhapsody. And now they’ve sped up the “AND THERE” guy a half notch, so it’s higher pitched and faster – the worst!

  19. LOT!!!! My oh my… Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Mozart), in electronic rendition. Lucky, you know nothing!!! I was on hold for TWO hours while they sorted out a schedule change. Helps to speak Polish.

  20. Great post! I don’t mind the BA classical guitar music. It’s pretty soothing. However, I hate it when they say “schedule” wrong and when they and US Air say “did you know you can save X by booking your entire travel on usairways.com or BA.com” Aarrrgghhh…

  21. Yeah LOT’s call centre is shocking! I also booked a flight on their 787 and wanted to select a seat.

    Call #1: Selected the option for business class passengers. The person who answered told me their senator and business class section is closed, i’d have to call back another time.
    Call #2, I selected eocnomy class, seat booked, total time of call: about 2 mins.

    Do they actually hire someone to answer the business class/senator calls to tell you they’re closed but won’t actually do anything?!?

  22. I’ll gladly listen to the hold music on the airlines. It can’t be any worse than hold music for insurance companies. If I have to listen to OptumRX hold music in the future.

  23. I know I am joining this conversation a million years too late (lol) but I LOVE the hold music for El Al airlines. I used to hear it a lot when I would book flights to Israel but now I live here and I never get to hear it anymore but it’s so soothing to me and I guess it just always made me excited to hear because I was going to Israel lol!

  24. Reggie, I’ve been trying to find out what the American Airlines hold music is for months. Even had AA social media (Twitter) group investigate. They finally got back to me and said they had no luck. I’m going to try using Shazam next time I call an agent.

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