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The Worst Experience Ever.
Posted by on
This is the letter that I wrote to Southwest's customer service person. I realize that I flew standby and was taking a risk. However, It's not like I wasn't proactive. With the amount of employee's 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 somethings 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 re routed from Oakland to Burbank and Burbank to Pittsburgh. At the 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 2pm 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 letter to my local news station. People need to be aware of this.

I understand the risks of flying standby. However, I started flying at 7am 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.
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Ben There on 2009-08-23:
I am sorry for your loss, but this was a very busy travel weekend as many schools and universities are starting back this week. People were busy getting in one last summer weekend trip or returning back to university. If all planes were filled with paying customers, why should Southwest give you any compensation? I just don't understand that.

Unfortunately for you, the only mistake made was not purchasing a confirmed ticket.
Doctor Charlie on 2009-08-23:
Why would you expect Southwest to have helped you out - you didn't even buy a plane ticket.
goduke on 2009-08-24:
Yoke, I don't doubt that some buddy passes are bought. They are not, however, bought from SWA. There are some fees associated, but they are perks earned by employees. The folks I know at SWA say that employees are not supposed to sell them, but some do. SWA didn't get the revenue from the ticket, and so the person holding the ticket can't claim to be a "customer" in the sense of someone who actually bought a ticket.
yoke on 2009-08-24:
SWA must be different than USAIR. Whenever we have used buddy passes on USAIR we have always had to pay a fee and it went to USAIR not our friends.

I agree with the passenger not being considered a "customer". The buddy pass seats are the last ones to be given out on the flights.
Runaround on 2009-08-24:
Wow. You guys are harsh. I "Get" the jist of the standby pass. What I DON'T get is why I was told there were no more flights when there were at least 4 flights to CHI from Oakland, and 3 or 4 from PHX, not counting BUR, LAX or LAS.. I just find it hard to believe that there was nothing open to CHI or any other airports on the East Coast.. like I SAID BEFORE.. I understand the risks of flying standby.. as I have done it TONS of times.. and out of those TONS of times.. It's never been THAT much of a hassle.
Anonymous on 2009-08-24:
Non-revenue passenger = No Compensation!
Anonymous on 2009-08-24:
Yoke, you are correct in that there is a fee associated with buddy passes. Buddy passes are considered taxable benefits so the employee usually collects from the pass rider. Airport fees, security fees etc are also collected.
Buddy passes are never used by employees as implied in a post above as employees simply ride by listing for a flight - they are to be given to trusted friends and family.... folks that won't complain and get the employee fired.
Ben There on 2009-08-24:
Runaround, not only was this naturally a very busy travel week, but storm have battered the east coast meaning lots of passengers have been displaced thousands of miles away at the last minute due to delayed inbound aircraft and cancelled flights. I have no problems believing that every seat was filled with revenue customers. I would not be surprised if some paying customers were even left behind. It happens this time of year.
Anonymous on 2009-08-24:
VF you are correct in explaining buddy passes. Employees don't use passes to fly. They simply book a reservation and then show their badge at the airport. And there is a fee for people using buddy passes to fly, but the money does not go to the employee, but to the airline. Passengers flying on passes have lower priority than other standby passengers. Yes, you did pay for the pass, but you are still standby and there is never a guarantee for a seat when you fly standby.
Eloise on 2009-08-24:
I feel bad about Runaround's situation. That said I think that depending on a buddy pass to get you to a funeral was probably not the best decision. This is a busy time of year and Hurricane Bill only made a bad situation worse. I hope that Runaround realizes that it is highly likely his friend is going to hear about his tirade. If the OP wants to make sure he arrived at the funeral on time he should have purchased an actual seat on a plane. If he wants to complain about not knowning how the ticket worked he should speak to his friend.
ifly1996 on 2009-09-11:
OK... it's time to clear up some very blatant misperceptions here. As I type, I am looking at the back of one of the buddy passes in question... with my own name on it as I am the one who earned it so I know of what I speak!! First, it clearly states ALL of the terms and conditions for the use of the pass on the back of EVERY coupon so there is no excuse to not understand any part of the use of it. Among the terms and conditions it states that "Space Available passholders are subject to removal at ANY point to accommodate revenue Customers or pass holders with a higher priority". In another section it states: "This pass has no cash value; it cannot be SOLD, refunded, upgraded, exchanged, extended, reissued, revalidated, or used toward payment of other tickets." (Entire words in caps are mine.)

There is absolutely NO promise to get a Passenger to a specific destination and I cannot think of a plainer way to say... Passes may NOT be sold... as in, YOU CANNOT **BUY** A VALID PASS!!!!!! The moment you paid more than $12 for your pass, it was no longer a valid pass. To clear up the other misinformation given here... why $12?? Until last couple of years, there was absolutely no cost to the Employees for the passes that they earned. However, economy as it is, SWA has started passing the cost of the taxes along to the Employees in the form of a payroll deduction of approximately $12 per round trip buddy pass. We are allowed to pass that cost along to the person with whom we choose to share our passes... but not a penny more. Personally I don't but it IS allowed. And since the Employees have a completely different type of pass to fly on -- at a completely zero cost to the Employee and with a higher boarding priority than buddy passes, we pay nothing for our travel purchases... get it? NOTHING! I don't know what agreements other carriers have with their own Employees, this is how it works with SWA.

With all that said, I feel highly offended that another Employee of SWA abused the pass privileges that we enjoy thereby putting ALL of our privileges at risk. I also feel offended that the Poster, perhaps in his grief or whatever, did not bother to read the rules that govern pass usage and then blamed everyone else for his/her predicament. As many others have already stated, you truly have no one to blame but yourself and further, you bluster that you are an experienced "standby passenger" which sounds to me like you frequently violate the law by purchasing passes... and it is illegal and states that right on the front of the pass... "It is unlawful to purchase or resell this ticket from/to any entity other than the issuing carrier or its AUTHORIZED agents. (Cap word mine.) No SWA Employee is authorized to sell buddy passes... NONE!

Lastly, I am not completely heartless and I am extending my sympathy that the Poster missed an important family function... I AM sorry the travel plans did not work out.

Sincerely... an SWA Employee who cares passionately about the Company that allows me to pay my bills and enjoy the lifestyle I do and which does not deserve the bad press it was given by this poster.
PepperElf on 2009-09-11:
and airlines often have a special "Grievance Fare" for those who are traveling home to attend a funeral
Runaround on 2009-08-23:
to me. a customer is a customer.. regardless of how much money they pay. I realize from a business standpoint that isn't going to get me very far.. but I made my intentions clear from the beginning. I just wish someone wouldve told me that I wasn't going to get there and that I needed to find an alternative with-in a reasonable time limit to do so. I know it's reaching.. but, I seriously hope no one ever has to feel that pain. and throwing it out that there wasn't anything that I could do about it bc I was on a plane for 6 hours headed back to where I started. anyway, it's done and over with. lesson learned.
Runaround on 2009-08-23:
and yes, I did purchase the tickets.. just not a confirmed one.
Ben There on 2009-08-23:
There is always a risk that you will not make it to your final destination when you standby. That is a given. It sounds like the Southwest employee tried to get you on the best possible option by rerouting you, but paying customers took your seat. Lets just hope you don't get your friend fired or in trouble for complaining about a buddy pass.
goduke on 2009-08-24:
Buddy passes are supposed to be used by employees. Technically, Runaround, the holders aren't "customers." They are employees trying to get from point A to point B for free, and only take seats if there are seats to be had. Sorry the person who gave it to you didn't explain it, but you can't blame Southwest for giving priority to folks who actually gave them money. Had you called Southwest and explained you were going to a funeral, they probably would have given you a pretty good deal.

You're saying you bought the buddy pass? That's not giving SWA revenue. That money doesn't go to Southwest. The buddy pass holder pocketed that cash.
yoke on 2009-08-24:
goduke, some buddy passes are bought. In this case the person who offered the buddy pass should have told the OP that people with buddy passes are the last to get a stand by seat. Stand by passengers get priority over buddy passes.
dan gordon on 2009-08-24:
I'm not unsympathetic for your loss but your anger is misdirected. Buddy passes are non revenue flyers and have the absolute lowest priority when flying stand by. SW doesn't encourage standby like most airlines so a majority of their pax actually show up. SW tends to have less flights and other carriers won't honor their tix. When you have something as imperative as a funeral to get to, flying standby on a discount carrier has its drawbacks as you experienced. I doubt SW will have much sympathy but in hindsight another carrier would have been better.
Eloise on 2009-08-24:
Dan Gordon & GoDuke, Best Answer!
jktshff1 on 2009-08-24:
I think the op answered their own question "I guess the lesson here is somethings are not OK to try to be cheap on."
I cannot for the life of me figure out why someone would go standby for something as important as a loved ones funeral.
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Southwest Nightmare Trip
Posted by on
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- I was booked on Flight 236 Providence to Baltimore with a connection to Detroit on Flight 525. We boarded flt 236 at around 10.25am, sat in our seats for about 10 minutes and then were told that we would have to get off as there was a delay of two hours due to the weather. We deplane and wait in the jet way for 15 minutes and then are told that the flight is now cancelled and we have to get back on the plane and get our carry on baggage. One by one we give our name to the agent at the gate and are told to wait in “the line” to the gate agents at the desk. Now, there are two agents waiting on 100 plus passengers. I stood in that line for three and a half hours! During this time every thirty minutes or so the supervisor (Mike Marino) would walk up and down shouting out different destinations and taking a count of how many people where going where. Eventually (THREE & A HALF HOURS really), the rudest person (Laura) to have ever spoken to me, with an “I’ve been here since 5AM “ attitude. Tells me she can get me on flight 762 to Baltimore at 5? with a connecting flight 759 to Detroit getting in around 10.30pm.

Even though I explained that I could take the soon to be departing flight to Chicago at this gate and connect there to Detroit as one of my associates was doing from Manchester NH.. At 5p the announcement is made that the flight is delayed 2 hours, 10 minutes later good news another plane is coming in and we should leave on time. After another 30 minutes of no plane or announcements I questioned the gate agent ( who’s attitude was even worse than Laura’s) at Gate#17 as to when we might expect to leave, explain that I have been here over 8 hours to travel one gate and that some communication would be nice. She informs that “I am not going to talk to you!” I ask for a Supervisor, “Go over to Gate 21” is my instruction. There was no way I was going to wait in yet another line – I gave up and called [snip], Public Relations Manager for Providence. (Whose information I got from the internet). I left her a message relaying my day of horror with Southwest and told her that I did not expect a reply as it was par for the course for my days dealing with Southwest. Needless, to say no return phone call.

Then called “Public Relations” in Dallas, CLOSED. Called Southwest 800 number to get a phone number for the person in charge of Southwest at Providence, as well as through Southwest Providence Baggage Office and T. F. Green Airport main number to try to make a contact, all to no avail.

Don’t you think that Public Relations should be staffed 24 hours a day or at least while your planes are flying? We the passengers are the ones paying those salaries and are traveling 24 hours a day. Since when did public relations become a 9-5 job?

We board 762 at 6, pull back from the gate and lo and behold, the pilot comes on the intercom “We have a bleeder problem and we are going back to the gate”. Now being into my 9th hour, second plane and I have traveled less than 100’. After 15 minutes we finally get the OK to pull back and off we go.

I understand how weather is beyond everyone’s control, BUT customer service is not, and the backbone of your company. Surely, we passengers should have been informed of developments; some form of order should have been established for rebooking flights. This could not have been the first time weather has been a factor in delaying flights. However, the other airlines were coming and going out of Providence without the troubles of Southwest.
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yoke on 2009-02-12:
I understand your frustration, but it seems that SWA did everything in their power to get you out of there, but it was not fast enough for you. Delays happen.
Other flights may have been leaving, but the weather problem may have been in the city you were flying into.
dan gordon on 2009-02-12:
SW like many low cost carriers do not rebook on other carriers like a major airline would. Weather delays most likely wouldn't be covered either. I never understand why you would wait in a line for 3 1/2 hrs. Most people would just call their 800# and rebook themselves. Try to imagine a gate agent dealing with 150 people all with 'urgent' planes to catch. It would be hard for anyone to stay happy with 150 people glaring at you.
Disaster Worker on 2009-02-12:
Until recently, I flew Southwest for business 2-3 times a day (yes, that is correct). Of course there were times flights were delayed, often many hours, but this happens on every carrier. All the Southwest personnel I've ever dealt with have been absolutely courteous and helpful. I know delays are frustrating, but please remember the gate attendants don't control the flights and they are usually as frustrated as their customers while they try to find another flight for them. Take plenty to read or work on, and enjoy their inexpensive flights.
Ben There on 2009-02-12:
Public Relations departments are designed to deal with the media. For example, someone in PR will work with news agencies to get press about the airline out to TV stations and newspapers, or be a go to person if a reporter has a question about the airline. PR departments also handle any crisis that might hit the company, like a plane crash.

You should have been in contact with the Customer Service department. These would be people that deal directly with customers.
Mary Theresa Robertson on 2011-12-28:
I was very disappointed with the service of Southwest Airlines Orlando's flight 544 on Dec 26th. The flight was to leave from C125 at 6:25 PM,at 6:00 I found out about delayed, I had arrived from Ft. Laudell at 5:25 and was waiting for the flight to Birmingham at 6:25. The first time of departure was 7:30, then 8:30 then 9:50 , we finally left at 10:00 PM. I went up to desk at C125 and tried to talk to the lady at the counter, she was very rude and not at all helpful. I had been flying with Southwest for about 10 years
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Flying To LA For Brain Surgery SW Strands Us In Wrong State
Posted by on
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- On Aug 24, 2008 my husband and I were flying to LA from Ohio for me to have brain surgery the next morning. There were multiple problems that day some of which were not really Southwest's fault but lack of communication between employees resulted in us being flown to the wrong state and stranded! WE needed to be in LA on the 25th for my brain surgery and SW put us on a plane to Phoenix AZ (without telling us it was not going to LAX) and when we got there they had let the flt to LAX that they had said they were holding for us go and it was the last flt out that night!

So after the employees at first laughed because they thought we were joking about the surgery tried to help us but couldn't, we ended up renting a car and driving 6 1/2 hours with no sleep all night from Phoenix to LA to make it within 20 minutes of the time I needed to be at the hospital! In Phoenix the supervisor said we would be fully reimbursed for what had happened to us ( rental car, food, full cost of FLTs)! However when I called the consumers relations that said it wasn't their problem or fault and only refunded a portion of our ticket price. My letter from SW was nothing but an excuse letter and we still didn't get a full refund!

They didn't care. So many people complain anymore and get special treatment but here I am needing brain surgery and can send them any info they needed to show my 3 days in intensive care and my hospital stay and I even flew home with a bandage on my head so they could see it was real! I can not believe the lack of a caring response from management. The actual employees cared and made us promises that the upper management is not following through. I am so disappointed so all I can do is share my story to as many people as I can because I can't believe how we were treated. One phone call ahead could have held that plane!

The passengers if asked would have agreed to wait 10 minutes for someone needing brain surgery if asked! The didn't even try to hold that plane and we were within 10 minutes twice that day and they never called or held one flt instead they just left us to drive ourselves....we didn't have a clue how to get there except we did meet the nicest young man ever and he rode with us to LA. So there are caring strangers out there! We will forever be grateful for Tyler who we met that night when SW didn't care!

We had to fly SW home and it used to be our airline of choice however now every time I drive passed the airport twice a day on my way to and from work I can't help to think when I needed them most no one went that extra mile, no one listened as I repeatedly told my concerns about needing to meet connecting flts because of my surgery....it is so disappointing so much for great customer service!
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woodsk1 on 2008-11-14:
First, I hoipe you are doing better. In your tyext you said "WE needed to be in LA on the 25th for my brain surgery and SW put us on a plane to Phoenix AZ (without telling us it was not going to LAX)", They do announce where the planes are going, did you not hear this?
Ponie on 2008-11-14:
Since you are back to work, I think we can all assume that, thankfully, the surgery was successful. I believe you should have had a Plan B to put into effect in case of circumstances such as this. Perhaps leaving the day before or earlier in the day? I have to agree with woodsk1, how does one get on a plane without knowing the final destination? I believe SW was more than generous in giving you a partial refund.
yoke on 2008-11-15:
I am glad you are doing better, but it is hard to believe that SW got an entire flight of people to the wrong city.

Why did you wait until so late in the day to fly to LA for your surgery?
lepearso on 2008-12-25:
That happened to me once! We were ticketed for a flight to Reno, but they held the plane for a few hours due to freezing conditions. So we wait. Finally, they board our plane bound for Reno, then 1-hour into the flight they tell us the freezing conditions are still bad and they must fly us to Oakland. No problem, because the pilot told us that Southwest would help us get to Reno.

We went straight to the service desk, as the pilot instructed, and everybody was told over the p.a. system that Southwest was not responsible for getting us to Reno.

They almost had a riot on their hands, so we left before it got any uglier and rented a car.

Southwest - never again!
CSF LEAK on 2009-01-29:
SW said that they did mess up and they did end up doing the right thing...they paid for the flts and car etc...also they made many computer errors and didn't put 4 peoples names in the computer so when they saw that they knew what had happened...its bad enough having brain surgery but to think I should leave my family sooner is kind of surprising to me...we actually made some friends at SW because of this and they call us to check on us!
CSF LEAK on 2009-01-29:
SW said that they did mess up and they did end up doing the right thing...they paid for the flts and car etc...also they made many computer errors and didn't put 4 peoples names in the computer so when they saw that they knew what had happened...its bad enough having brain surgery but to think I should leave my family sooner is kind of surprising to me...we actually made some friends at SW because of this and they call us to check on us!
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Traveling Ain't So Bad...
Posted by on
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- In light of all the complaining about airlines and how they are unfair, mean, money grabbing, etc..I would like to share this story to show that they (especially Southwest) should be cut some slack and people need to take responsibility for their mistakes.

My father was visiting me in Los Angeles for a short weekend getaway from Northern California. On the way to taking him to LAX for his flight back to Oakland we hit typical LA traffic. I have taken people to LAX so many times now, that traffic is always expected so we left in time that would get us to the airport roughly 90 min before his flight left….and he checked in online before we left (side note- I have a suspicion that most of the people that have bad experiences with being denied boarding do not take advantage of checking in online BEFORE going to the airport, even if they are checking luggage, if you check in prior, the chances that your seat will be given away are a lot smaller).

Unfortunately, we hit some pretty bad traffic and realized we were going to be VERY VERY late. By the time we had pulled to the terminal, there was only 30 min until his flight was scheduled to depart. Both of us being frequent travelers, we already knew that the chances of getting on this flight were slim. After dropping him off, I circled the airport while I waited for him to call me with the bad news. When he finally called he was on the airplane about to take off! I was shocked!

1. This was a Sunday night
2. LAX always has huge security lines
3. And the line to check baggage was so long inside and outside at Skycap!

I found out later what happened:

Ticket Agents made great efforts to coral people with flights leaving soon to separate lines to check in if needed and tag baggage. When his baggage was checked, he was told that it would arrive at a later time in Oakland (because it obviously wouldn't make this flight) and could be picked up at the airport later that evening or delivered to his home. By shear luck, TSA was also making an effort to get those with flights leaving within 30 min through the security line. After running to the gate, the flight was 3 minutes to departure. The ticket agents had called up to the gate and let the agents know that there were some people on that flight that were running up there. NO they did not hold the airplane, but they did do the curious thing and let the passengers have the chance to make the flight.
I know this isn’t a miraculous story but after reading so many bad reviews about denied boarding because of not showing up in time, or how airline employees are “mean,” I really wanted to share this story to show that the people who work for airlines are not out to get you by “ruining” your vacation and not letting you on the plane. I understand that my dad might have just had good luck on his side in order to make this flight but I think airline workers need to be cut some slack. I really enjoy traveling and once considered working in the airline industry but I don’t think I could handle the way people treat the employees. They put up with a lot…just because you spent a few hundred dollars on a plane ticket does not entitle you to act like the world revolves around you. Flying is a privilege!!!!!!
AND THANK YOU SOUTHWEST for being great as always!!!!!!
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Anonymous on 2008-08-23:
Good deal and thanks for the post. I've always tried to John Wayne it on my travels to the land of fruits and nuts. :)
Anonymous on 2008-08-23:
What a nice compliment for Southwest. I'm sure that your dad was pretty relieved. Did he receive his luggage as promised?
Anonymous on 2008-08-23:
Sounds like your compliment is two fold . . . with TSA and with Southwest. It's nice to hear that your family member was treated so well. And contrary . . . now now . . . I live and work within just a few miles of John Wayne (in the land of fruits and nuts). lol I love the airport. The only thing that freaks me out is when the airplane engines are cut during take-off. I will never get used to that.
Anonymous on 2008-08-23:
I was on a SW flight departing from Hartford, CT once that actually left late because they were waiting for passengers going through the TSA line. We left 20 minutes late, but they waited for the late passengers because they knew that the flights the rest of the day were all full (because of a storm the previous day). They are a pretty caring bunch! I fly SW whenever I can. Thank you for the post!
Anonymous on 2008-08-24:
I have always liked Southwest. Now they have the Exec ticket for about $20 more than gets you a free drink and one of the first 20 or so places in line. Good post and info.
Mario The Great on 2008-08-24:
Have you guys seen a commercial where someone is sitting in coach and there are lots of people around laughing and having a great time? That's what flying Southwest reminds me of and truly is. I fly United a lot and there is such a big difference in the airlines. For business, UA takes care of me, is nice and quiet and SW gets me there and lets me unravel. Nice post.
DigitalCommando on 2008-08-24:
Dianec1, Are you back now?
Ben There on 2008-08-24:
Southwest is a great airline, but I have avoided flying them and USAirways from LAX because the lines at T1 are always sooo long - I have seen them stretch half way down the sidewalk to T2 before. I also like that American Airlines has a special security line for elite and first class at T4, and that really reduces the time from curb to gate.

I will make a point to try them again as it sounds like they have gotten some of the T1 mess under control. And yes, checking in online is a great way to reduce getting bumped.
Anonymous on 2008-08-25:
If you check in on-line you are usually in Group A--first boarding--another reason to check in promptly. I like choosing where I will sit--instead of being stuck somewhere I may not want to be.

For those of you that are not aware, there is an excellent web site called seatguru.com that lets you know about the seat you will be sitting in on any aircraft (for the other airlines). If you know in advance that the particular seat does not recline fully, for instance, you can (hopefully) change your seat. They have some useful info.
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Luggage Stolen By Southwest Employees
Posted by on

I was booked on SWA #455 from LAX to ABQ (non-stop, mind you) leaving LAX at 8:10 PM on Sunday 7/22/07, arriving at 10:40 PM on Sunday 7/22/07. I checked two bags at 4:15 PM after standing in line approximately one hour. Then, I stood in the TSA line for another 20 minutes to have my checked bags inspected and passed off to Southwest’s baggage handlers.

When I arrived at ABQ and went to the appointed carousel to pick up my luggage, I was delighted to see my large bag already in the holding area outside of SWA’s baggage office. I picked it up without anyone confirming whether it was my bag or not. No SWA personnel were there. I later determined that SWA forwarded the larger bag on an earlier flight. It appears the Dakota bag (referred to below) may have also been forwarded on an earlier flight.

Then, I noted the second bag (a very expensive Dakota duffle bag) was not in the holding area. I naturally expected it to be coming out with Flight 455 baggage.

It did not arrive. I can only conclude that a Southwest employee stole the bag for the DVD’s in it. And, after five days of “searching,” Southwest now says they have suspended searching.

The Dakota bag cost me $325. Its contents included many personal documents with information that, in the wrong hands, could be used to steal the identities of a number of persons. The Dakota bag also contained an 80 DVD zipper case, nearly full of high end late movies – something anyone would steal if not watched. I estimate the cost of the DVD’s to be not less that $900.

Yes, I must admit, I was an idiot for packing such items in a bag that had to be checked due to its size! But, give me a break – a non-stop from LAX to ABQ -- how could such a bag possibly get lost?

I am now advised by Southwest that they have “suspended the search for my bag.” Note – SWA does not scan in baggage, and therefore has no way to track baggage. They simply lie to the public about this.

Having made claim for the lost luggage, I am offered $30 for my trouble.

I offer these words of warning:
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES hires thieves and drug addicts as baggage handlers.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES trains its agents to lie rather than aid in the resolution of customer complaints.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES is the filthiest airline in the world.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES has absolutely no commitment to customer satisfaction.

SOUTHWEST has the very wrong idea customers want a cute song by 18 year old flight attendant rather than competent service. SWA’s flight attendants could not recognize a fire if their own hair were ablaze!

I simply wanted to be safely transported from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, without having the airline employees steal my baggage and its contents which were worth in excess of five times the cost of the ticket.
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manannana on 2008-03-10:
Anonymous on 2008-03-11:
How do you know it was stolen and not just lost. With the number of bags handled daily, chances are something with get lost. Your flight isn't the only one leaving from that airport.

You couldn't place those important documents into a carry on?
Anonymous on 2008-03-11:
I agree with Sunshine.
Aerocave on 2008-03-11:
I just flew in last night on a Southwest flight from Orlando and 1 of my bags did not make it...I found the Southwest people to be very accommodating, friendly, and easy to work with. Was I frustrated that my bag did not make it--yes--but I always have found that if you handle yourself in a calm, professional matter you normally receive that in return and will be satisfied with the service. My guess is, this did happen in this case, based on of your unfair, narrow-minded judgment of all Southwest employees. Losing baggage is a part of flying. Its bound to happen...if you cannot accept that--don't fly, or if you continue to pack valuables in your luggage--its your fault if they get lost. By the way, my bag is being delivered on Wednesday.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 2008-03-12:
You make some very strong accusations none of which you back up with tangible proof. You don't know for a fact a Southwest employee stole your bag, or they do drugs or anything of the nature. Bags are lost everyday. You just happened to be one of the unlucky ones this time. In the future, don't pack valuables in your luggage. Sorry for your inconvenience.
Anonymous on 2008-03-12:
It was tougher to be a passenger on a U.S. airline in 2005, according to government statistics, which show almost 10,000 lost baggage reports a day during the year, as well as increases in the other problems that can make a flight unpleasant.

U.S. airlines saw more than a 26 percent jump in reports of mishandled baggage during the year by the top 20 reporting airlines to 9,735, coupled with 17.2 percent more complaints about airline service, according to figures from the Department of Transportation.

Five Airlines You Shouldn't Trust With Your Luggage

The Department of Transportation's 2007 Air Travel Consumer Report is out.

Here are the 5 airlines with the most baggage handling complaints per customer in 2007.

5. MESA AIRLINES (operates flights for Delta Airlines, United Airlines, USAirways and Midwest Airlines)

4. SKYWEST AIRLINES (operates flights for United Express, Delta Connection and Midwest Connect)

3. ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST AIRLINES (operated by Delta Airlines)

2. COMAIR (operated by Delta Airlines)

1. AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES (operated by American Airlines)
FoggyOne on 2008-03-11:
"The Dakota bag cost me $325" could have come in on the earlier flight too and another customer just whisked it away because they could see it was (what I call) an expensive bag and probably had expensive stuff in it. They were right. I too have arrived after my bag and just walked over to the stack of bags and took mine, but I could have just as easily taken 2 bags. I've traveled to 47 countries and I think the luggage tags were checked twice against my baggage claim stub. Whether you like Southwest or not, this could have (and does) happen on every airline.
Principissa on 2008-03-11:
How do you know a Southwest employee stole it? Why did you leave such expensive items in a checked bag? Their site says plain as day "do not place valuables in a checked bag". The TSA even recommends that you not put valuables in a checked bag. How do you know someone from the TSA or security didn't steal it? How do you know they didn't put it on a later flight because of a space issue? Lost bags happen to everyone on every airline.
spiderman2 on 2008-03-11:
I have never had any airline check to make sure I took my own bag or only my bag and I have flown several different ones.
thensider on 2008-03-11:
I would like to know how you know that ALL the people that work for this airline are drug addicts. MAYBE someone that works for the airline stole your bage. Maybe another passenger stole your bag. Maybe your bag went on the wrong plain. Nowhere along the way do I see anything to indicate that the people working for this airline are drug addicts. That's a just plain rude thing to say
MRM on 2008-03-11:
I know who dunnit! It was Colonial Mustard that stole your bag! Case is solved.
CrazyRedHead on 2008-03-11:
If it was truly stolen and those people's identities are stolen they are not going to look at the airline, they are going to look at the person that put that info in a bad that was checked into the plane and not carried on with you and safeguarded. I do agree with you though, it was an idiotic thing to do. You have no proof that everyone or even just one person is a drug addict, and for you to claim that all of them are is grounds for something.
Anonymous on 2008-03-11:
The poster might have had a valid complaint, but that psycho rant at the end of it diminishes it.
sunshine619 on 2008-03-11:
I agree with Ken!
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Poor Customer Care
Posted by on
FT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA -- My family and I flew from Austin, TX to Miami to go on a cruise. We booked 4 round trip flights using the Rapid Rewards from the SWAir Visa card purchases. Unfortunately we had to fly back Sunday because there were no Saturday seats available. Upon arriving in Miami, we went to pick up our luggage and Lo' and Behold only 4 of the 5 bags show up. We were certainly off to a bad start, but around 2:00 AM SWAir found our suitcase, still on the ground in Austin. So they ship it to us. Inconvenient, but not a huge deal. Decent but not outstanding service so far.

However, on our flight back, we were booked for a Sunday red eye flight even though the ship returned Saturday morning. My wife calls numerous times to try to book a Saturday flight since with Rapid Rewards you can rebook anytime. This would get us home a day earlier. She is finally told that there are 2 seats available to Austin, and 2 seats to San Antonio. Yuk...but hey, what can you do? We decide to split the family across these two flights so we can get home a day early even though it is extremely inconvenient. I would fly with my son to Austin, pick up the car, then drive 85 miles to San Antonio and pick up my wife and daughter. We tell the ticket agent to make it happen. She cancels my son and I and books us to Austin. She then goes to cancel my wife and daughter and says "oops, the San Antonio flights are no longer available". We tell her to rebook us back to the Sunday flights then. She informs us that the Sunday seats are no longer available. I am getting pretty angry and upset by this time and ask her what she suggests we do about this.

I was not going to leave my Wife and Daughter alone in Ft Lauderdale because SWAir can't get their act together. She then tells us that she can book my wife and daughter on the same flight my son and I are on, but that they can't use the Rapid Rewards tickets because she did not have any Rapid Reward seats available!! Seats are available, but not for "our kind"? So we have to pay $670 to fly together because the ticket agent was too dumb to grab all 4 reservations when we told her to. I am thinking at this point that I am going to take this up with SWA afterwards, they are bound to see my point of view and make this good. When we complain, however, they only offer to refund us $300 in credit towards a future flight in the next 12 months. SWAir treated us like they were giving us free flights. However, we earned those tickets by participating in a program they earn profit from. I fly SWAir a LOT (or at least I did until now), and I am going to raise a stink in every forum I can find.

They can and apparently did rip me off of $670, but I will make sure my story gets told just in case anyone still thinks SWAir is an honest, reputable, service oriented company. Perhaps my story will cost them $600 in business. I hope it costs them many multiples. I am going to return my business to Discover and get my 3% back. SWAir has just offended another frequent flier. I was once a fan and stockholder (albeit very minor) of SWAir...but absolutely never again.
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chris513 on 2007-08-31:
OK, let's break this one down. First off, let me put down that I am not a fan of Southwest at all, but, let me try to help you.

First off, you say the airline makes a profit off of you using a credit card. They really don't. In fact, airlines are more annoyed by credit card holders who try to demand the world. No offense meant at all. The credit card company is the one who gains most of the profit. Just an FYI.

Second. Lost baggage. Yeah, that does suck. You are extremely lucky to have it recovered for you in less than 24 hours and the fact that you say "decent, but not outstanding" leads me to believe that you are a typical CC holder. I see them pretty much on a weekly basis when I fly. The airline gets quite a bit of my money, but it is because I am hopping on board airplanes. Not putting Applebee's on my "rapid rewards credit card"

Third. Complaining about a lack of mileage seats. If the airline gave away every seat on the plane for free, do you really think they would be in business? You are extremely lucky to get a free trip, albeit, a slight bit inconvienent, it is free. You wouldn't even be having this complaint if they gave away EVERY seat because SW would have gone under years ago if that was there practice. Suck it up. I could think of worse places to be stuck than FLA.

Fourth. Ripping on the person over the phone? A little ridiculous. I am sure she tried her hardest to get you those seats, and to be honest, if you were that pissed about her "losing" the seats, you would have asked to speak w/ a supervisor at that time.

Fifth. Owning stock in LUV. Owning stock in pretty much any airline is kind of foolish. Trust me, there are plenty of better industries to buy in.

All in all, I understand you had a bad trip, and some of your complaints are valid, but for the most part, you sound like another airline credit card holder who expects the world. If I was flying from anywhere in Texas to Florida, I think American Airlines would be my first choice. Living in phoenix, I choose US Airways...guess it's just a personal preference. Please do not think I am coming down on you, I was just trying to explain the airline game to you.
Stunned on 2007-09-07:
I almost do not know where to begin here. To say that SWAir does not make anything off the SW Visa card is absurd. Obviously, Southwest Airlines is not so altruistic that they provide free transportation for Visa cardholders. Nor did I "demand the world", I merely wanted to fly from Texas to Florida and have a change of underwear when I got there. Other passengers expected that, so I do not think I am unreasonable to expect it also, even for "free".

Second, decent but not outstanding is not slander. The agent could have smiled a little, been a little sympathetic about the fact that we were booked for a hotel in Miami but stuck in Ft Lauderdale. She could have been outstanding at customer service, but she chose just to earn her paycheck and that is all. This is not a negative comment, just a neutral observation of her performance on that particular occasion.

In addition, if you do not put Applebee's on a Rapid Rewards Credit Card or some other equivalent, then all you got was a "decent" meal. Many might say "DUH..." here, but I will be polite. I got a decent meal and a trip to Florida. I have a little trouble feeling stupid here, sorry. Remember, you are the one who started giving unsolicited financial advice.

Third, there were seats available! The only "free" seats that SWAir had to haul back to Texas were the empty ones. Unless, of course you prescribe to the ridiculous argument that SWAir is flying anyone with a Visa card free of charge. I have some ocean front property for sale close to Phoenix. Are you interested? As for "sucking it up, there are worse places you could be stuck than Florida"...guess if I lived in Arizona I would rather be in Florida too.

Fourth, who said I "ripped the ticket agent" on the phone? Read again, and you will see that I only asked her what she suggested we do about this. She suggested we pay the extortion or they would just fly empty seats home and we could walk. You should probably understand here that I work in a customer service industry. Our company motto is "handling exceptions exceptionally well". I was not asking SWAir to unload you off the plane. I know you are special since I am "flying free". As far as asking for a supervisor, it was the weekend...did I fail to mention that? A supervisor was not available. Therefore, I agreed to pay the extortion and complain later to someone who could do something about it. So far, they have not been interested (possibly because I fly "free").

Fifth, owning stock in anything can be profitable if you know how to trade. But, after your stock has been in the crapper for a few years, maybe it is time to step back and listen to your customers. However, you are right; maybe I should buy stock in JPMChase, since they are smart enough to get Airlines to offer flights at no charge just to make their credit cards more appealing. You have to admit, that is a stroke of absolute genius if you are indeed correct.

You make so many derogatory references to "Airline Credit Card Holders" that I think I can detect a hint of jealousy. You too can have a credit card...just apply. They might even have Airline debit cards in case you do not qualify. Please do not think I am coming down on you, I just cannot tell whether you are snobbish or jealous about the credit card thing.

And finally, I was not soliciting help. I was relating an unsatisfactory experience with SWAir in case it helped anyone who was on the fence about which airline to choose make up their mind. You indicate that you are no fan of Southwest Airlines, and I'll take that at face value. It is a little odd, though, that you just randomly read posts about Southwest Air and feel impelled to defend their policies and their employees against disgruntled customers.

chris513 on 2007-09-13:
well, I was going to come back on this, but obviously, you can not handle any feedback. I was trying to give you advice and educate you on how airlines work. I am very educated on the subject and just wanted to help you make sense of things. read what I wrote again before you run your mouth. and, for the record, I didn't realize we had ocean front property here in phoenix.

I could write a book on how you have contradicted yourself, but you are obviously only in the mood to argue, not to learn.
Stunned on 2007-09-13:
I have to agree, you sound very educated...you certainly do.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Flight 762 Rep rude and abusive to handy capped
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
TEXAS -- Flight762 Southwest Airlines change at5:40jan.10/ 2014 attendant at the gate would not tell us why it was not our flight. Southwest was delayed from Raleigh 1 pm to1:30 pm no clocks in Vegas.my watch was on eastern time(.Vegas needs clocks.it would help the airline confusion). The airport( mens ) had 4 mens urinals and 3 were out of order.there was filthy paper all over the floor and none in the dispensers.the attendant was going to push my wife's wheelchair and told me to step ahead and take the purse in my wife's hand and also the light luggage.she was pushy, rude and unprofessional the airline stewardess saw all of this and said she will file a complaint and southwest is not in the habit this procedure and I should file a complaint also.sincerely
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Buyer Beware
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- I normally love Southwest, however, when I can't use a flight that I already paid money for because I have been in an accelerated nursing school for the past year I get a little disgruntled. I understand that they held the flight for a year but taking $100 away from me because I have been in school really annoys me. I feel like I am being punished for studying to provide health care

I hope no one needs medical attention next time I take a flight. Maybe the flight attendant can ask that person how much their life is worth.
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clutzycook on 2013-07-16:
So it would be OK if you were studying something like French Literature?
Susan on 2013-07-16:
They didn't take $100 away from you because you've been in school - they took it because it is the policy you agreed to when you made the original purchase.
trmn8r on 2013-07-16:
I don't understand the issue. Was this a travel voucher, a ticket? Did an eligibility period expire?

Your contract of carriage dictates the terms. If you couldn't use your ticket whether you were in school or in prison, the fact that a year passed appears to be crux of the matter. I lost the use of a ticket once on an airline because I didn't use it in a certain amount of time. Those were the rules.
Ben There on 2013-07-16:
I take it you did not use your ticket in the first year, and Sputhwest offered to reinstate your credit for $100 so you can use it for like 6 more months?

Just note most airlines charge you a $200 fee just to change a purchases ticket within the first year, and they won't extend it of you can't use it within a year. Southwest still has free changes within a year.
CU on 2013-07-17:
So when you graduate are you going to join the Peace Corps or something like it, and share your education with the world at no personal gain, or are you going to work as a nurse and earn a 6 figure salary? Unless it is the former, I don't think it much matters why you didn't use your ticket in the required timeframe.
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Seating Policies
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK -- The few times I have flown Southwest Airlines were frustrating and annoying and far more expensive than other carriers at least from my location. I still do not understand what benefit their seating policy offers to anyone. I can't understand the logic when you have to be stressed out to get a decent seat. Especially on vacation...I really don't want to be pressured into getting on line to get an "A" or even "B" cattle call for seats. Why not just let people choose a seat like other airlines?

Someone please explain the benefit of this frustrating seating system where rude passengers cut ahead of you, get confrontational, come up with fake injuries to board early, and any number of other stressful issues that arrive when trying to get a decent seat. It seems like Southwest goes out of their way to bring out the worst in people. Why would anyone want to fly this airline? They add stress and hassle to the already lousy ordeal that is flying.

I have not flown Soutwest in quite a few years and don't intend to ever again.
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Weedwhacked on 2013-07-05:
It's because everyone in the needs an aisle seat closest to the front. Southwest's way is fair, first come first serve.
john.cianti on 2013-07-05:
That doesn't answer the question. How is first come first served better than just choosing a seat when you book your flight? First come first served is exactly what causes all the arguments and stress on the waiting lines.
FoDaddy19 on 2013-07-05:
Southwest's policy gets people on and off the plane faster, you don't get 200 people dilly-dallying around looking for their seat. Instead you simply take any seat you can.

I've flow SW before and other airlines that have assigned seating as well, and while I don't care for SW (no real food, no in flight entertainment unless you count the crew's often creative safety equipment lecture), but getting on and off the plane is a breeze with SW.
Ben There on 2013-07-05:
Southwest tested assigned seating and decided not to go that route as it slowed down boarding. The longer a plane is at the gate, the more money it is losing.

Southwest does have the option to be automatically checked - I think the fee is around $10, which is about what most airlines charge for the better seat assignments (like on AA, Delta and United).
jonthethird on 2013-07-06:
First, for FoDaddy, SW is partnering with Dish Network to offer free programming for your wifi device.
I fly SW often, and pay the extra $10 for an A boarding pass. SW appeals to a group of people, like myself, who fly often and just want to get where we are going as cheaply and on time as possible. SW is great for me, but if you want more service, fly United
john.cianti on 2013-07-19:
FoDaddy, I don't see the dilly-dallying looking for seats as the issue with slow boarding. On any airline, including Southwest, it's dilly dallying with luggage that eats up time--the people that decide to get stuff out of their luggage when they get on the plane instead of doing it during the time they are waiting outside--people who don't know how to fly. Also, you have to put your luggage away anyway, whether or not you have an assigned seat and that's what takes up the time. I fly often and find Southwest not only annoying due to their seating policy, but more expensive for the routes I need. I still don't see this benefitting anyone. Thanks everyone for confirming my opinion. JMHO
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Late Flight Again!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Once a month my wife will fly Southwest from Phoenix to Albuquerque and three days later she will fly back. For the last five trips there have been delays on the return trip anywhere from one hour to five, always the same excuse, mechanical problems.

Today she had a flight scheduled for 2:30 New Mexico time, at 8:00 AM she checks her flight status and it says two hour delay. When she calls to find out why they say "mechanical problems".

While we appreciate the advanced notice we can't understand why they would continue to have poorly maintained planes that constantly brake down and with this much advanced notice the could not replace the plane with another.

We will never fly Southwest again, They make it very clear there planes are not safe.
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nazrider on 2013-06-27:
actually I was thinking the reverse. At least they are keeping an eye on the planes and making sure they are in good air worthy condition so its safe to fly. I'd rather be delayed to fix a problem than in the air when there is an issue. nothing like landing with fire trucks to make you think 'why did they not check this plane!'
Old Timer on 2013-06-27:
I agree that delays are a pain, most are real, some are fabricated by the airline to cover something up. I would still rather be late than take off in a plane with known "mechanical problems". Fix the "mechanical problems" ASAP and get me on my way.

There is always the second choice of flying on an airline that ignores "mechanical problems" (Aeroflot comes to mind) and will fly a plane till it just breaks down. Hopefully the problems are found while on the ground.
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