Southwest Airlines is joining the hundreds of companies that are screwing with the consumer by sending out announcements to would-be travelers for so called specials. Case in point a "$74 fare one way fare between Orlando and Manchester NH". I received such an announcement on 28 March 2008 and on 30 March 2008 I took action to take advantage of it only to find out that no such fare existed.
When I confronted the sales folks at Southwest I was told that those seats had already been sold. I told the sales person that Southwest's advertising low fares only to have would be travelers learn that there are only a very very limited number of flights and destinations for which the low fares apply is tantamount to the illegal "bait and switch" tactic.
Of course the sales person vehemently denied such an accusation suggesting that in fact only certain flights were available at the low fares. I checked the small print and learned that in fact the sneaky, legal staff had included in their terms and conditions accompanying the announcement such a phrase suggesting that some flights "may" not be available on certain holidays and high volume travel periods.
Why then, I ask, did they send out an announcement that on the surface looked so attractive and why in less that two days did the send out the announcement knowing full well that travel between Manchester and Orlando was not and likely would not be available at the low fare? It is bait and switch activity that is on the very very sharp edge of being legal but I suggest that it is a bad way to build customer loyalty by a company that historically appeared to really adopt the credo that their customers come first and consequently, profits will follow.
Unfortunately SWA's misleading advertisements will cause me to seek other travel arrangements and in addition,, will cause me to help rally against SWA in an effort to urge them to once again adopt a just and fair marketing campaign.
Cocoa Beach, Florida