ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLORIDA -- My family and I recently travelled Southwest Airline to Orlando, Florida from our home State of Rhode Island. Our flight from Providence, RI on the morning of March 1, 2009 went off without a hitch and their staff was friendly and courteous. However, we experienced a very different and troubling reception at Orlando Airport for our return trip home on March 5, 2009. Allow me the opportunity to provide some relevant background information. I am 54 years old and my wife and I have been married for over thirty years. In addition to having three biological children, my wife and I had decided to become foster parents in 1989.
This opportunity subsequently led to the adoption of three children, two of whom have special needs. Our child with the most severe needs was a recent recipient of “A Wish Come True.” My daughter has a rather rare and unusual chromosome abnormality. As a result, her world is one of rituals, the need of constant assurance, repetition, scheduling and planning. I only know of three known cases in Rhode Island at the time of this writing. The manifestations of this affliction are presented as autistic-like behavior, Tourette's Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsiveness disorder and a heightened state of anxiety.
The most serious medical complication associated with this hardship is that there are an unusual number of deaths that occur during sleep. (In the 21 month period between April 2006 and December 2007, there was a reporting of the sudden, unexpected, and as yet unexplained deaths of six seemingly healthy young people with chromosome 15q duplication syndrome. The six cases of sudden and unexpected death involved young people of both genders between the ages of 7 to 26. All died during the night while they were in bed, presumably asleep.) As a recipient of “A Wish Come True,” family members are presented with the final product.
Planning is done by the wish organization. We were presented with a package instructing us where to be and at what time to be there. For example, our itinerary simple stated: March 5, 2009 Departure Information from Orlando. Airline: Southwest; Flight Number: 1613; Departure time: 6:30; Arrival Time: 10:25. There was no mention of a layover or a stop. Honestly, when all was said and done I was surprised when I learned this was not a non-stop flight. The morning of March 5, 2009 was our last day of my daughter's “Wish” vacation aboard the Disney Cruise Line Wonder. We had to be off the ship by 9:00 that morning.
However, our flight home was not scheduled to leave until 6:30 that evening. We had no choice but go directly to the airport as we needed to follow our luggage for baggage check-in. (Apparently Disney has a partnership with some airlines that allow for direct ship-to-airline baggage transfer and check in. The owners of the luggage need not be there. We have since learned that Southwest does not have this type of arrangement with Disney.) After several hours at the terminal, it was apparent that daughter's behavior was going to become an issue.
My daughter's way of thinking would be akin to, “Why go to an airport terminal if you are not going to fly on an airplane?” I asked one of Southwest's service desk employees if it was possible to transfer to an earlier flight. We were told that accommodations could be made for my daughter and one adult; however, the remaining four passengers would not be afforded the same opportunity. If you knew my daughter, you would understand that this would not be a possibility; she travelled to Orlando with a group of six and she would need to travel back to Rhode Island with the same six people.
Our problem began when around 5:50 PM my daughter yelled a question from afar to your employee (wearing the name tag of **) at Gate 123. She asked when her plane would be there. I left my daughter and walked over to ** to apologize for her loudness, stating that my daughter has special needs. He was gracious and asked, “Where are you folks travelling to?” I said we were going to Providence. He asked for my flight number. I told him I did not know the number off-hand, but we were going to Providence, RI.
He checked his computer screen and said there had been a gate change, (he said there was an accompanying announcement as well stating such) and that we needed to be at Gate 125. He added that we should hurry because that plane was just about to begin boarding. I went over to my family and immediately retrieved the booklet that contained our tickets from my travel bag. Instead of going to Gate 125, I went back to see ** who was engage in small talk conversation with another Southwest employee at the time.
Nonetheless, I held out the ticket book for him to view, but instead he turned to me, and said, “Look man, I'm not pulling your leg. I just checked the screen. You need to be at Gate 125.” I collected my family and hurried to Gate 125 where we were allowed to board the plane. We were seated and buckled-in after having placed our carry-on bags in the overhead bins. Within minutes, the same Southwest employee who allowed us to board the plane raced down the aisle, yelling to that we needed to, “leave the plane immediately. You are on the wrong plane.”
My daughter began to have a panic attack. All she knew was she needed to be on a plane to go home and this man was telling us we had to leave. We were escorted to a Southwest service station where the representative at that desk asked, “Who told you to be at Gate 125?” I responded that it was the employee at Gate 123, whose name I did not know at the time. He immediately called over to ** and asked if it was he that gave us the information as to where to go. I was not privy to his side of the conversation but I imagine it did not go well because when we returned to Gate 123 **'s demeanor had drastically changed.
It was not his fault that we did not know where we were going. As my daughter panicked state is rising, my wife and I struggled to calm her down (“I want to get on the stupid plane!”) while at the same time trying to deal with a belligerent and extremely belittling **. Allow me to regress and say that as the 6:30 departure time was approaching, my daughter was well-versed and prepared to calmly board a plane and go home. The non-attention to detail by ** and his rudeness after the fact was the catalyst for an escalation of everyone's anxiety, especially for my daughter.
As I am trying to calmly explain to my daughter that we would indeed be going home and there was simply a mistake made, ** was shouting and reprimanding me. In summary, the facts are that we are a family who was provided with very limited information. My itinerary from “A Wish Come True” simply listed a flight confirmation number, flight number and a departure time. Additionally, it came to pass that we needed to be at an airport terminal much earlier than the airline departure time.
In my effort to keep my party together and on-track and my daughter with special needs calm, I saw one Southwest employee who told me that the most I can be afforded was a partial accommodation on a request for an earlier flight. There is a second employee (**) who insisted that we had been waiting at a wrong gate for many hours. There is still a third employee who allowed my party of six to board and be seated on a jet airline going to Providence, yet raced onto to plane moments later while yelling at us to get off.
And finally we have ** yet again who now is very willing and anxious to place the onus of blame and total responsibility squarely upon my shoulders because, “It's not my fault that you don't know where you're going.” To add insult to injury, **'s last comment to my wife was, “I did not tell you to be at the terminal all day!” I guess he just needed to add that remark.
(Upon reflection, I am very much surprised that the attendant at Gate 125 allowed us to board the wrong plane in the first place, especially in this day of Homeland Security. My best guess is that he collected our tickets, let us board, and then ran the boarding passes through the electronic equipment which alerted him of the error. He would then need to race onto the plane and remove our party from the incorrect flight.)
“A Wish Come True” strives to take the stress and worry of planning a child's wish off the shoulders of the family. As I stated before, the wish recipient's family is presented with a final package that simply instructs you where to be and at what time. In hindsight, I probably should have investigated the details of the flight plans and arrangements so as to have a greater understanding. I had not known that the jet we would ultimately be flying on was going to make a landing at Baltimore first. I only knew that we would be flying from Orlando, Florida to Providence, Rhode Island.
I would expect Southwest Airline to be professional in what they do and courteous in the treatment of their customers. Unfortunately, the attitude at Southwest was a far cry from the politeness and acceptance that we were afforded by the staff at Walt Disney Cruise Line. There was little sympathy or patience extended by Southwest Airlines to my family which included a child with involved special needs regardless that we had spent nine hours in your terminal.
**'s conduct was such that the members of my party were made to feel that we were a bother; another unwelcomed, perhaps non-educated Southwest customer and that, given the choice, he really would have preferred to have nothing to do with us. Rhode Island is a small state and I am an involved parent. I will be sure to share the details of our experience with the organization of “A Wish Come True.” Further, I will make a concerted effort to share my account with any and all agencies that provide care and services to our population of individuals with special needs.
I have sent this same letter to Southwest Airline's customer relations but I am not under any illusion that a reprimand or, more importantly, a needed change will come of it. Southwest Airlines has left a lasting impression with my family. It's not a very pleasant memory, but it is sure to be a long and lasting one.
Addendum: I have since received a response from a representative at “A Wish Come True.” In part, it reads, “I will be contacting the folks at Southwest Airlines to express my disappointment in the service or lack of service that you received. The flights were direct and our organization was billed for two direct flights. There were to be no stops or layovers. The time of departure, 6:30 pm, was so that you could have a direct flight.”
NAPA, CALIFORNIA -- Let me start off by saying I generally have had positive experiences with Southwest in the past. That being said they have failed miserably on my most recent encounter with the airline. My wife and 10-week old son were set to return from a family trip to Iowa this week when my wife came down with the flu. When we tried to move her flight the first time I was charged an additional $142 and I was told it was due to changing the return city from SFO to Sacramento. I understood that and was told IF I needed to change my flight again due to her illness that as long as the itinerary stayed the same I would not encounter additional change fees.
Unfortunately my wife is still down with the flu and I had to extend the return flight this morning once again to give her time to rest. I was told to do so, even though I was using the same itinerary, that I would be charged an ADDITIONAL $150. My original cost was $210 for the return flight. My current cost to get my family home is now $502. All of this and the customer service agent tried to tell me SW does not have "change fees". That is blatant false advertising. They can say they do not have a change fee and claim that "her original fare was no longer available" but this is a change fee no matter how you slice it.
Again, I was fine with the $142 as I changed the itinerary but the last $150 this AM is utter extortion. I feel taken advantage of and I just hope that you don't get sick if you fly Southwest. The irony is my wife most likely got sick on their plane. Great little profit center they have created. Southwest - I am 31 and travel for business at miminum twice per month. You have lost my business along with the business of anyone I can convince not to fly with you and it's a shame because your flight attendants are some of the best in the business. It's too bad your customer service and business practices do not match their professionalism.
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Flight 657 (New Orleans to Houston) was delayed; there was about 15-20 minutes between departing 657 and boarding flight 3506 (the connecting flight to Philadelphia). The arriving/departing gates were in closeness. I decided to use the bathroom and then, with my colleague, went to Buffalo Wild Wings for a beer, to go. The bar attendant put it into a clear plastic cup and we walked across to the boarding gate. I sat with my daughter and we both fiddled with our cell phones as they charged. I approached the counter to inquire if flight 3506 had been delayed and to verify that we were at the correct gate.
Many passengers' gates were changed (last minute), and the personnel looked frustrated in dealing with the overcrowding and standby situations. I struggled to limp to the counter because of leg pain. When I approached the counter, the Southwest Customer Service representative stated that our flight would be boarding in 10 minutes, however I would not be allowed to fly. I actually thought she was joking. She stated that I was drunk. I asked her if she was kidding. I offered to recite the Gettysburg address or to say the alphabet backwards.
She asked me if I was on any medication. I disclosed that the only medication I take was for ADHD. She remarked that that medication should not be mixed with alcohol... She handed me a piece of paper with writing on it and instructed that I take it to the Hilton and that they would give me a room. She also questioned if I wanted her to call the cops. I responded that was exactly what I wanted her to do. When the police arrived he spoke with me and informed me that the airline reserves that right to refuse passengers. He also told me that he knew I wasn't drunk but could not give me a breathalyzer, as they are only used in traffic situations.
I was advised by an observer that the situation was not fair and suggested that I go to the hospital for a toxicology report for proof of random mistreatment. The hospital personnel and hotel staff were equally in shock when learning of the situation. They were so embracing. They helped alleviate the distress of the situation.
** says that she called Southwest, but was again told that the airline reserves the right to refuse passengers for boarding. She also received an automated e-mail response from Southwest saying that they are looking into the incident. She says that she feels "so disempowered; as a patron, customer, and a citizen. I just couldn't believe this mistreatment could be legal." She says she will never fly Southwest again.
DENVER, COLORADO -- Today at DIA at Southwest Airlines has been the worst experience my partner and I have ever had. After a 2+ hour delay in Minn-St. Paul due to a mechanical problem the plane finally left for Denver and the rude SWA staff that awaited us. Upon arriving at the airport our delayed flight pulled in moments prior to our connecting flight was to leave. Of course our departing flight was delayed prior to the mechanical problem, which was discovered on the runway, due to late passengers. SWA DIA does not seem to believe in a short delay to get passengers on the flight and instead gave our seats away and closed the door as we arrived at the gate.
Adding insult to injury ** who was a Customer Service Supervisor that came from the far regions of hell on this fine 2nd day of the year arrived at the desk to talk to us with attitude. Waving her hands and disrespecting us as customers she took the approach that instead of defusing the situation as a good customer service agent she would threaten to have us removed from the airport and not fly and only further inflamed the situation. After a few words were exchanged, none of which were threatening in any way, Mrs ** picked up the phone and called the police. We left to find the police ourselves.
Finding them we spoke with them and then to ** who was the supervisor for Mrs. **. Of course this exemplary employee for Southwest went on to accuse of threatening her with bodily harm. Evoking the great power these little people have over every one of us that flies. Ultimately we were escorted out of the airport by the police. Lied to by Southwest Airlines a few more times and booked on a flight home the next day leaving us stuck at DIA without getting to important business and with a very bad taste in our mouths for an airline that speaks of LUV and the best customer service in the business.
Actually, based on this interaction they have gate agent supervisors that are willing to lie to empower themselves beyond the power they should hold. I write this to say beware of SWA and the DIA staff. You may not get to where you are going and be accused of being a terrorist because SHE can. By the way I have the highest status with SWA. Imagine how this child of the devil would be with the average Joe.
Last year, SW was actively marketing to repeal the Wright Amendment. I was very excited when a compromise was signed at the end of last year, and for the first time, we were able to fly round trip from Dallas to Orlando. On Friday February 2nd, we took Flight 21 from Dallas to Houston. Then we took Flight 1172 from Houston to Orlando. We checked in online so we got the A boarding cards. On Flight 1172, the flight was completely full, and a gentleman with a young son came on board with C boarding cards and could not find 2 seats together. A flight attendant announced, "would anyone give up a seat(s) so that the father and son could sit together?"
No one volunteered. She announced again that if they could not find a seat together, then the crew would delay the whole flight. So, I thought the nice thing would be to give up our seats. I took a window seat, couple of rows in front of my original seat. My fiance took a middle seat, 2 rows behind me, on the other side. As soon as we were in the air, the guy in front of me, leaned his seat all the way back. I ordered some water from the flight attendant, Debbie, and when she delivered it, I asked her if she could ask the gentleman in front of me to move his seat until I could finish my drink and snacks.
She said that "it was against regulations" to ask someone to move the seat up. I told her that every flight I've ever been on, the flight attendant asks the person in front, without me ever mentioning it, to move the seat up when you are eating. She said that "she was not serving food", and she would not ask him to move the seat. I told her that I could not put my drink down with the seat all the way back. (I'm only 5'1" and weigh 108 lbs and even I was cramped). She asks the gentleman in front to move the seat up with a "you don't have to". Then she rolls her eyes. My fiance is watching her roll her eyes and argue with me over something extremely trivial.
When we got off the plane, we asked to speak to the captain. He did not want to deal with it and would not talk to us. So, we asked for a supervisor. After waiting 20 minutes, a guy comes to talk to us. He tells us that there are no regulations to do with seats and was sorry about the whole situation. We thought that the bad customer service ordeal was over. We took Flight 1702 on Sunday from Orlando to Houston. We sat in Exit seats because my fiance is 6 foot and 3 inches. This flight was not full, so I took the aisle seat and left the middle seat for us to put our books. We stopped in Jackson, Miss to add more passengers.
This flight was full, so I sat in the middle seat to give another gentleman the aisle seat. We get to our next flight, 54, from Houston to Dallas. Because it was a Super Bowl night, there were very few passengers. We were 5th on board, and we took the Exit seats. We had a flight attendant in our aisle, **, and we told her that we were sitting in those seats. As I was putting away my bag, I put my purse in the middle seat. I asked her if this flight was full, and she said that I was not allowed to put my purse in the middle seat. (My purse is a small purse). I told her that I was taking out some lotion because my hands were dry.
She repeated again in a very condescending tone that I was not allowed to put my purse in the middle seat. She watched me as I took the lotion out and put some on my hands and then put the purse underneath the seat. I guess she didn't trust me. My fiance was watching this whole incident and was getting upset. As people started boarding, we had a guy who also sat in an exit row and put his computer bag in the seat next to him. She greets him and talks to him and never demands that he move the computer bag. She asks him very politely if he wanted her to move the bag up in the overhead storage for him.
I was upset by that time, and I decided that I needed to get her name so that I could report her for discrimination. I was not sure if it was because I was female or Asian. She comes in front of us to tell us about our responsibilities since we are sitting in Exit aisles. We flew on SW and sat in Exit row for every flight, and we did not have any problem with anyone demanding responses. (I've flown for 18 years and sat in Exit seats numerous times and never had been treated so badly!) I leaned over to get my purse so that I could have something to write her name. She immediately yells at me to pay attention. Then she remarks, "it's the school teacher in me".
By that time, my fiance is extremely upset. She asked us if we understood her instructions, and my fiance nodded his head. In her extremely condescending tone, she says,"sir, you need to say Yes". My fiance told her that he did not like her tone and wanted to speak to a supervisor. She said that she was the supervisor. So, he asked her if he could talk to the Captain. She yells, "IF YOU TALK TO THE CAPTAIN THEN WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DELAY THE FLIGHT!" Then, she yells, "IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?" I told my fiance that we'll take care of the situation on Monday; just let it go for now.
We had been on the plane all day, and all I wanted to do was to go home. The flight attendant went to the front of the plane and talked to a TSA agent and the captain and treated us as if we were terrorists. They were staring at us as if they were going to throw us out. My fiance is asthmatic; he was so upset that he had an asthma attack. He was shaking and could not breathe. I was EXTREMELY concerned and upset! When we got off the plane, we asked to see the captain, **. I told him that what my fiance was upset about was her behavior towards me. She discriminated against me. She was extremely condescending.
She knew she was in trouble; she needed witnesses. She asked the guy who was in the exit seat to write a note about what happened. What he didn't know was what happened before he came on board. She was extremely nice this Caucasian man. We will NEVER fly Southwest again. A lot of my friends had experience bad service with SW, and they won't fly with them. What happened to your focus on great Customer Service? I have never been treated so poorly in my life!
Almost three weeks ago now, I flew Southwest Airlines via Midway (MDW) airport to Phoenix (PHX) Sky Harbor Int'l Airport. When I arrived at my destination, my Macbook, GPS & bag of jewelry were no longer in my checked luggage. I pulled directly off the belt. The Phoenix police looked at security tapes leaving only one location left, Chicago. The police in Chicago did nothing but mail me a letter confirming I called them about 7 days AFTER I returned home from vacation.
It could only have been either a Southwest employee after my dad and I dropped our bags off at the curbside check-in or a TSA employee scanning our bags, as my dad received a notification in his bag, but I did not (what thief would promote his job title?). Now to clearly think like a thief, the Southwest employee would have to rush to get our bags on the plane, because we were definitely running to catch the flight. They have no idea what is packed in the bag, and just turn it over to TSA before it enters the belt onto the plane.
The TSA agent, on the other hand, screened the bag, knowing fully well what was inside, with no need to ruffle the bottom portion of my luggage (which was left neatly packed exactly as I had left it and strapped in). So, there is a TSA thief still working at Midway Airport.
Almost three weeks later I finally was able to contact someone at Midway working in TSA who stated, "I received your complaint pertaining to your missing items from your checked luggage. While we have had numerous incidents here at Chicago Midway similar to yours, we have found that no TSA employee at Chicago Midway has been involved with any missing items from passengers luggage. However, we have no problem with investigating this issue for you. In order to do so, I am in need of some additional information." I sent this information all in already, but sure I can forward ANOTHER copy.
With all the talk of the drug rings, money hoards, and IPODS down pants, I assume fully well this guy is going to be no help, not look at the tapes and rather continue to support his lying, thieving employee. Communication with airlines and airline affiliated government programs, such as TSA, is horrible. After three weeks, do you really think you are going to recover my things?
Something should have been done immediately, not just paperwork, but actual physical search of the videos and employees the second that call was made for future customer satisfaction and future flying safety. If this guy is checking bags, what does that say about the safety of our country? Nothing. He's too preoccupied with his own money scheme. All Chicago, Midway fliers need to be aware that their bags are not safe.
When my wife booked our trip to Disney World, we decided to fly Southwest, since I had a rewards ticket and a gift card. I actually prefer to fly Southwest because I know that if a problem comes up, it's fairly simple to fix. Our flight from PHL to MCO was scheduled to depart shortly after 6 PM on Tuesday, June 28th. We boarded (and were lucky enough to sit in an exit row) and the plane moved towards the runway. While on the runway, there was an announcement that there was a delay and they would update us with more information. We found out that there must have been a change in the wind, so we had to change runways (along with every other plane).
It was about a 75-90 minute delay that we endured on the runway. Eventually we got up in the air. When they came around to take drink orders, my wife, and a few other people, ordered an adult beverage. I had a Southwest coupon for a free drink, but they said that since there was a delay, they wouldn't be charging anyone for drinks. I felt that this was a very nice gesture that the crew did, even though the issue was something that Southwest could not control. On our return flight, we were scheduled to leave from MCO to PHL on Monday, July 4th at 3 PM.
We got to the Southwest kiosk to check our bags just before 1 PM. The lady there said that our flight has been delayed by 3 hours (for a reason that she was unaware of). She notified us that each of us will be receiving a $100 Southwest Airlines voucher for our troubles. We were told that there was an earlier flight that she could put us on standby for, which would get us in 90 minutes sooner, but went through Providence, R.I., then changed planes. I decided to stick to the original flight. We went through security and relaxed for a while before our flight was ready to board.
I noticed that they announced several times that if someone didn't receive their $100 voucher, please do so. They also did it one more time once we got in the plane, just to make sure that everyone was aware of it and received them. They also notified us that the reason there was a delay was because of a mechanical issue on a plane, so we would be using a different plane that we were waiting to arrive from Houston. We did eventually board and backed away from the gate. We stopped. The weather was creating an issue for people traveling into the DC/PHL/NY area. About 45-60 minutes later, we eventually were given the clearance to head out.
While we were waiting, the crew played music and did what they could to make the situation a little bit better. Again, while in the air, they did not charge for drinks due to the delays. The delay, while an annoyance, gave everyone on the plane a great view of several different firework shows as we were approaching Philadelphia. The overall experience was pleasant on both plane rides. I don't know when my next trip will be, but most likely it will be with Southwest Airlines. I also plan, at some point, to write a review on a few of the places we went to on our trip.
First of all, the flight was delayed because of some type of mechanical failure on the plane, when we get the word that it's safe to fly because the defective part is not that serious (which is what the pilot tells us in his welcome aboard speech right before he takes off) we fly to Orlando for a transfer to Ft Lauderdale. Once in Ft Lauderdale we realize all the bags on the conveyor has been claimed so we go to baggage claim. They tell us our luggage did not make the transfer, but they know that we are in Florida because we are leaving for a cruise set to sail at 5 pm. They promise they will have the bags to us by 3 pm as soon as the next flight from Orlando comes in.
We are like "are you sure?" They say "We promise - the ship dock is right down the road from us less than 5 minutes, the bags will be there." We could see Carnivals red white and blue whale fin so we think they might be telling the truth. Well around three we start calling, first call Southwest says the plane just got here and the crew on board tells us your bags are on board they will be right there, second call 3:30 Southwest says the bags have left they should be on board.
Now it's 8 of us my wife and I, her sister & husband, my in-laws, & my sister-in-laws, so between the 8 of us we called them probably 2 or 3 more times and they continue telling us our bags are on the ship until the last call which we had to call from the ship's phone at customer service because we no longer had cell phone service this time. They say the bags are in Ft Lauderdale. They thought they had sent them to the ship. They tell us they will refund what money we spend on clothes, toothbrushes, & etc. OK we can get toothbrushes and things like that but we are going to be at sea for the first 3 days we want our clothes.
We already bought clothes for this trip, so after talking to every supervisor at the company they fly our bags to our first port of call Puerto Rico. We finally get our bags after three days, all of our jewelry, watches, evening gowns, dress shoes, cologne, used deodorant, camera, bathing suits, sneakers, even used underwear gone. Probably stolen in Puerto Rico or could even in the states but that doesn't matter - still mad, and they say they are not responsible. My advice - carry on anything you don't want lost or stolen.
I was trying to be easy to get along with, trying not to extend the naked body scans and searches they perform by checking everything. Sorry for typing so much but just needed to vent, cause Southwest doesn't care, some we talk to act like they find it to be funny. At least we made it back safely, I am thankful for that.
When I checked in July 09 to make sure my money/credits would still be available to me until Dec. 09. In July 09 I was assured by Southwest representative that it was... along with a voucher for 429.50. I called September 09 and guess what? I'm informed that my OWN money of 76.00 is gone. The "Supervisor" just kept telling me they were sorry about the representative error but that they could do NOTHING and stated the following:
"If you have $1 from an old reservation and add $300 to book a new ticket, the entire $301 expires on the old reservation date." They claimed that other airlines have the same policy which I verified was not true. They also claimed that this policy is clearly on the purchasing screen which is not true. They also claimed that the expiration date is on the top of the confirmation which is not on the fax copy I received. They have obviously changed their policy to get every dollar out of the Customer whether they have earned it or not. Be careful since there is a new Southwest Airlines and they have a #1 focus on revenue NOT customer service!
And all they would do is keep repeating how sorry they were. On top of this I had a 51.00 and 30.00 due for 81.00... 5.00 was deducted with my OK for 5.00 security fee on subsequent prepaid trip.. leaving the 76.00 I had planned to use with the voucher that expires Dec,09. Now that I'm told that 76.00 is gone.. I'm told if I had at least 50.00 in one transaction/one way (the other was 30 on return part of trip) that for a fee of 50.00 I could get MY money back. For example I had 51.00 (but since they took the 5.00 security fee from this one...how convenient) only would have 46.00 so not eligible.
But if I had 51.00 they'd deduct 50.00 for the "processing fee" and return 1.00 to me. I had to have them repeat this as I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My 76.00 paid on same credit card I've been paying on many flights with them over the years they couldn't/wouldn't return but would credit... then due to their error... they keep, tell me repeatedly they are so sorry but can do nothing.. yet if I had 50.00 or more they can with a 50.00 fee! So now, instead of recommending them to so many on principle, I will actively encourage others to use other airlines and will let many know of how unprofessionally I was treated and how greedy this airline is over 76.00.
I have no doubt that they will lose quite a bit of revenue when this is shared. So Southwest are you happy now?
P.S. I happen to be a cancer patient when needing to fly in/out national medical center am eligible for free angel fights but try to pay my own way on limited income while I can. They didn't care.
I realize that I flew standby and was taking a risk. However, It's not like I wasn't proactive. With the amount of employees that I spoke to on Thursday setting up the reservations and on Friday trying to find the best possible flights to take, there is no reason why I shouldn't have gotten to the East coast. Instead, I wound up flying in a BIG circle, -$180 (1/2 of the price that I gave to the person for the standby ticket + misc. travel expenses) and devastated. I have flown standby many times before and have NEVER had this happen. I guess the lesson here is some things are not OK to try to be cheap on.
I received the news that my Grandfather had passed away Early Thursday morning. I had a friend offer me a buddy pass so that I may get to the funeral on Saturday morning in Pittsburgh PA. Had I known the experience was going to be what it was, I would of purchased a ticket outright from a different airline. After checking and rechecking flights on Thursday I had a reservation to fly standby from Spokane to Oakland, Oakland to Chicago and Chicago to Pittsburgh. I checked with the desk the status of the flights in Spokane and got rerouted from Oakland to Burbank and Burbank to Pittsburgh.
At that time, the attendant told me that that flight was a much better option because it still had open seats on it. Fast forward 2 hours. Land in Burbank. Am told the flight was full, but I was the first person on the standby list, so it looked like I would get on OK. 2 more hours pass - The Flight is overbooked. There is nothing the attendants can do because It is now 2 pm on the west coast and there are NO MORE FLIGHTS going from the west coast to the east coast. Instead of checking to get me to Chicago or anywhere on the East coast, they sent me back to Seattle. Did I get to spend today with my family to grieve my Grandfathers death? No, I did not.
I have flown standby tons of times. As my grandfather retired from United. I have NEVER in my life had this bad of an experience. I don't wish this feeling on anyone. I would hope that there would be some sort of compensation on Southwest's part to try to make up for the mistakes that were made. I am sending a copy of this to my local news station. People need to be aware of this. I understand the risks of flying standby. However, I started flying at 7 am in the Morning. There is no reason why I shouldn't have been able to get on a flight from one of the airports that I was at yesterday to Chicago.. At least that way, I would've been able to get there.
It is the flight personnel's job to find the best way to make that happen which is why I kept checking and rechecking. Instead I was sent in a big circle and Nothing but heartbreak got accomplished. I understand that normally you don't refund or compensate for people flying standby. However, I do believe this is a HUGE error that needs some sort of compensation. I missed out on something VERY IMPORTANT to me, something I can't get back, due to Southwest Airlines.