I sent this letter to Southwest Airlines and they gave me a $200 credit! It really pays to speak up…
Dear Southwest Airlines,
I fly around California a lot and when I do I usually go out of my way to book all of my flights through Southwest. I enjoy your affordable fares and the flexibility you offer. I think it’s great that there is no additional charge to change or cancel a flight because, you know, things change. I also really appreciate that you let me check 2 bags for free! This being said, I had a particularly bad experience recently and I’m afraid I can’t stop thinking about it. Being a loyal Southwest customer I’m very shocked and disappointed with the way my last flight was handled.
Let me paint the picture for you…I was flying from LAX to SFO on a Thursday morning. My friend was getting married that weekend and I was so excited to get there. I woke up at 4:30am just to make sure I would get to LAX with plenty of time. I had checked into my flight in advance online so I thought I was all set, just show up, check my bag and head to the gate. Well, I was wrong. When I arrived at the check-in kiosk to check my bag an error message popped up on the screen saying that my flight had been cancelled! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought it was surely a mistake because I hadn’t been notified, not by text, not be email, nothing. One of your employees came over to help me and told me that she could get me on a flight to OAK instead of LAX, I agreed because I didn’t want to just sit in the airport all day. She told me that they would issue my boarding pass at the gate, but I had a seat on the flight.
So, I proceeded to go through security and went straight to the gate to get my boarding pass. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the gate the staff seemed overwhelmed and stressed out, they barely paid attention to me. They said that I would have to wait to the side and that they didn’t think there were any seats left on the flight. I waited patiently with a few other passengers and watched as they boarded the flight and closed the doors. At this point I assumed I hadn’t gotten a seat, even though the woman who checked my bag had promised me one. This is when I got a phone call from Southwest letting me know my original flight was cancelled. Seriously?? That’s the warning I get? If I as a passenger on your flight am expected to arrive at the airport over an hour before my flight, then I expect you as an airline to give me over an hours notice if my flight is cancelled.
I ended up getting on a flight that day, but I had to wait in the airport for hours and I had to fly into a completely different airport. I expected more from you, Southwest. I know changes need to be made sometimes but I just wish you had notified me sooner and been more accommodating. As a passenger, I count on you to get me from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time and with a reasonable amount of comfort. If I’m not getting those things then what am I paying for? I probably could have driven to the bay area faster than you got me there that day and it would have been a lot cheaper. To make matters worse, my return flight was delayed as well! Maybe I should learn to expect travel complications when I use Southwest. The worst part of this whole experience was that none of your employees were apologetic or accommodating in the least. I would think that if you put someone out and make them wait in the airport for hours without even explaining why, you would at least be friendly and maybe offer me a drink ticket! In fact, you should offer more than that. Next time, I’ll think twice about booking with Southwest.