Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Southwest Airlines | Rapid Rewards
Reload this Page >

An interesting experience with Southwest (from a loyal United flyer)

An interesting experience with Southwest (from a loyal United flyer)

Old Dec 4, 06, 8:33 pm
  #16  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
Programs: UA Plat & 1MM, DL Plat, Marriott LT Gold, HHonors Gold, Hyatt Explorist & IHG Ambassador
Posts: 12,983
[QUOTE=MrMan;6792671]
Originally Posted by hedoman View Post

You must not fly WN much. Amoung other items I have seen them play gate games and give stuff away to take ones mind off delays at the gates, deliver snacks and sodas to gates, deliver donuts to gates on morning flights, had executives come from HQ (Love) to keep people occupied on trouble flights. I think the OP's point that this was a weather delay, not mech, and WN still offered an apology even when they had no "fault".
Over the last 2 years I would bet that 50% of my flights on WN have been delayed. As noted in a prior thread, there really is no pattern as to location or time of day though I do tend to fly often on Sundays. Sometimes weather, sometimes mechanical, sometimes just crowded skies or ATC delays.

I have never been offered any kind of compensation, not that any is expected or needed. But if WN policy or practice is to provide credit vouchers then maybe I should start complaining. I rather detest whining but $150 is nothing to sniff at.
Boraxo is offline  
Old Dec 4, 06, 9:11 pm
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Represa CA
Programs: Hilton LT diamond, Hyatt diamond, Marriott LTte, AA LT plat, Seabourn diamond elite
Posts: 2,772
Please, oh please....that is not my post in the quote.

To address Mr Man's comments. You're right, I do not fly Southwest often. Having spent several years as a companion pass holder, I can tell you that I have never heard an apology for a late departure/cancelled flight. I know I am in the minority, but playing group games and eating free picked over donuts holds zero interest to me......especially at an airport.
hedoman is offline  
Old Dec 4, 06, 10:14 pm
  #18  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma
Programs: DL Gold, AA Plat, UA Ag Past 3-time WN Companion Pass, A+, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold,Ntl EmEx
Posts: 936
I think Southwest has about the best business culture in the airline industry. What I mean by this is they have been able to instil the belief that the customer is important, and although I am not a Southwest employee I get the impression they empower them to make decisions that might initally cost the company money but in the long run pays back the airline with increased business. I have had many examples where the Southwest employee went the additional mile for me.

I am also impressed with their pro-active stance on seat reclining. Rather than cram more seats on the plane and then don't adjust the seat pitch so you don't have the person reclining in your lap, they are setting a maximum seat recline in all their fleet. Although I would rather see seats not be able to recline, at least decreasing the amount is a huge advantage to Southwest.

My experience with the legacy carriers it is a hit or miss proposition as far as finding exceptional employees. Although I have never found them I am sure there are some American Airlines employees who like their job and are cordial to the passengers. On the other hand although I have never encountered them there must be at least one or two surly Southwest employees on a given day.

I also think Continental has been paying close attention to Southwest. In markets I have been flying recently their fares have been lower, especially on last minute fares. In my opinion they have taken great strides since Gordo left (was retired, or however they spun his leaving).

I think Southwest does realize that even though airline travel has become commoditised, there are things you need to do to set yourself apart. It always amazed me the way American would cheerfully sell you a $1500+ domestic coach ticket (been there, done that, not proud of it but had to do it) and then refuse to give you an entire can of coke "until all the other passengers have been served", because "we might not have enough to go around". Contrast this to Southwest where you couldn't even buy a $1500 roundtrip ticket if you wanted to, and they don't have to ration soda to stay in business.

I am very impressed Southwest sent you a travel voucher, and I hope the person who made it happen doesn't get in hot water when the entitlement crowd starts expecting vouchers for weather delays.
ctuttle is offline  
Old Dec 5, 06, 8:46 am
  #19  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,483
I certainly give WN the nod in customer service over UA. That said, all tales of customer service are anecdotal. For instance, several years ago, a WN gate agent challenged me that my then-1-year-old qualified as a free lap child. Since I wasn't carrying her birth certificate proving she was under 2, the gate agent made me buy a ticket for the kid, and I had to go through the hassle of seeking a refund. My baby wasn't unusually large or anything, and she had flown many times on several airlines without incident. What customer-service oriented company challenges babies? I held it against them for years.

On the other hand, travelling with the same child recently on a UA international flight, the pre-ordered kids meal didn't show up and the fa had me fill out a comment card. Amazingly, $200 compensation quickly came in the mail! On the return flight, my IFE didn't work, I got another comment card, and another $200!

So I guess you never know how an airline will treat you.
iahphx is online now  
Old Dec 5, 06, 9:17 am
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9
With air traffic increasing, and major airports overloaded, WN's strategy of using smaller, under-utilized airports is the main reason I fly them now.

I live in Chicago, and even though O'Hare is easier for me to get to, I won't go there. Every time I or another member of my family attempt to fly through there, it is a disaster. Even without weather, the place is so busy and understaffed it is a nightmare. Luggage takes about 45 minutes to come out on the conveyor, flights are normally delayed, and the staff is usually overworked and unhelpful (This has been my experience with both AA and UA).

Go on to Midway, and the place is a pleasure. Check-in is quick, and security is usually pretty good (especially since they just opened up more security lanes). Fly from there to another smaller airport, like Long Island, Orange County, or Manchester, and you get out of the airport in 20 minutes. Try to even get to the baggage claim at ORD in that amount of time.

Kudos to the management of WN to recognize that the oversized and overstuffed airports detract from the experience of flying as much as poor customer service.
locker1776 is offline  
Old Dec 12, 06, 12:30 pm
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: STL...Platinum thanks to FT!
Posts: 24
Kudos to Southwest

I too had an interesting experience with Southwest recently. I was one of the unfortunate passengers aboard a plane that landed in STL on December 1. Because of an ice and snow storm, SWA had problems deicing planes and there was a three hour delay getting our plane into a gate.

Yesterday, I received a letter from the airline and a round trip ticket to be used in the next year. The letter said that everyone on our flight would be receiving the tickets. Having been a long time AA customer, I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent customer service on behalf of Southwest. I don't travel very often these days, but I must say I will be flying on SWA when I do.

Nan
nabvol is offline  
Old Dec 12, 06, 1:26 pm
  #22  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: SFO
Programs: NON ELITE
Posts: 416
My opinion re WN

I am also UA 1K, and took Southwest several times. The most thing I do not enjoy on WN flights is the passengers: noisy family and kids, it seems like WN passengers talk A LOT more during the flight than UA passengers. And the thing I like about WN is their phone agents, so nice and competent and straight-forward (perhaps beause WN have simple, straight-foward policies)
GPS123 is offline  
Old Dec 12, 06, 1:27 pm
  #23  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: SFO
Programs: NON ELITE
Posts: 416
My opinion on WN

I am also UA 1K, and took Southwest several times. The most thing I do not enjoy on WN flights is the passengers: noisy family and kids, it seems like WN passengers talk A LOT more during the flight than UA passengers. And the thing I like about WN is their phone agents, so nice and competent and straight-forward (perhaps beause WN have simple, straight-foward policies)
GPS123 is offline  
Old Dec 12, 06, 1:28 pm
  #24  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: SFO
Programs: NON ELITE
Posts: 416
My opinion on WN

dup...
GPS123 is offline  
Old Dec 12, 06, 3:14 pm
  #25  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,740
Originally Posted by GPS123 View Post
The most thing I do not enjoy on WN flights is the passengers: noisy family and kids, it seems like WN passengers talk A LOT more during the flight than UA passengers.
Of course, a remedy to the noise problem is entirely within your own control.
uncertaintraveler is offline  
Old Dec 18, 06, 1:04 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: OAK/SFO/SJC
Programs: AA Plat 2MM+, HHonors, Amtrak GuestRewards
Posts: 1,158
You got to take the good with the bad, the crooked with the straight. -August Wilson

Customer service is like the government statistical compendium of the US that recently came out. There are nationwide averages, but YMMV.

I had a snafu a few years back at OAK where the station manager made a mistake managing planes late at night. It was a minor thing, but I wrote a brief note to SW and they called me immediately--very nice response.

On the other hand, SW also IDB'd me out of MDW once on a MDW-xxx-OAK itinerary, changing it at the same time to a MDW-xxx-xxx-SJC itinerary. Although both I and my MDW flight were on time, per the GA I was IDB'd to accommodate earlier passengers on another flight who'd been delayed due to weather (it was a rainy day in Chicago). After a fair amount of talk at the final stop before SJC, and then at SJC, SW agreed to pay for transport, but only back up to OAK (my house was a couple miles from OAK, so I just paid a bit more to get home), and aside from a taxi ride SJC-OAK, I never was compensated for the IDB.

That was the nadir of my SW experience, not counting minor stuff like FAs on the intra-California flights who seem to pause when you ask for the whole can of soda/juice (I always wonder: Why do I have to ask for it?), somewhat limited gate information for delayed flights (e.g., GAs saying flight will leave on time when aircraft is clearly not yet at airport 5-10 min prior to dep time), and long bag-check lines at some stations.

Statistically, I should like Southwest more than I do. But although I've had some good experiences, I've had a couple iffy ones, and the "grocery store checkout line" feeling I get at the gate accompanies me in an unpleasant way onto the plane. So I'll keep flying Southwest and hope the dice come up a little better next time.

-Hayden
Hayden is offline  
Old Dec 25, 06, 7:52 pm
  #27  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Programs: US Chairmans, Air Tran Elite, NWA Silver, HH Diamond, Starwood Gold, Marriott Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 394
If you guys think WN service is great then you are crazy. Try getting stuck on them and then misconnecting in a connecting city or dealing with a cancelled flight. In those cases you are screwed. They wont even confirm you on a later flight. Its all, stand by, stand by, stand by!!! Plus, dont even think they can put you on another airline as with their "low-end" status, they dont work/interline with any other airline so you are stuck with them. An airline's true levels of customer service come out when there is a problem and the low levels of their service truly shine when there are irregular opps. I am shocked you got anything for a delay that was not their fault. Give me an airline that doesnt treat their passengers like cattle anyday!!
mrhotelman is offline  
Old Dec 25, 06, 8:58 pm
  #28  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Programs: WN CP
Posts: 6,360
Originally Posted by mrhotelman View Post
If you guys think WN service is great then you are crazy.
Yes, we're all crazy. Go away.
curbcrusher is offline  
Old Dec 27, 06, 9:39 am
  #29  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Programs: UA 1K .97MM, IHG AMB-Spire, HH Diamond
Posts: 55,265
Originally Posted by mrhotelman View Post
Plus, dont even think they can put you on another airline as with their "low-end" status, they dont work/interline with any other airline so you are stuck with them.
They do take passengers from other airline bumps however - at least they did for me when i took a VDB on HP a year ago.
uastarflyer is offline  
Old Dec 27, 06, 10:35 am
  #30  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Programs: US Chairmans, Air Tran Elite, NWA Silver, HH Diamond, Starwood Gold, Marriott Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 394
Originally Posted by uastarflyer View Post
They do take passengers from other airline bumps however - at least they did for me when i took a VDB on HP a year ago.
That they do. But as I stated previously WN doesnt work with or have any interline agreements with HP or any other airline. Is what happens is, they dont actually accept HPs (or another other airline) ticket. HP (as with any other airline) has to pay WN for the ticket they are providing with a check or corporate credit card for the ticket.
mrhotelman is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: