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  • Report: #335869

Complaint Review: Southwest Airlines

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  • Submitted: Fri, May 30, 2008
  • Updated: Sun, April 19, 2009

  • Reported By:harlingen Texas
Southwest Airlines
PO Box 36647-1CR Dallas, Texas U.S.A.

Southwest Airlines Customer service of airline staff at airport Dallas Texas

*Consumer Suggestion: Lets Sum it Up

*Consumer Comment: Wheelchair?

*Consumer Comment: "Call the FAA?" Good luck with that.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: You need to be truthful with yourself.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: You need to be truthful with yourself.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: You need to be truthful with yourself.

*UPDATE Employee: I Call BS!!!

*Consumer Comment: I'll be a bit more sympatheitic towards Carolyn

*Consumer Suggestion: I have to agree with everyone else...

*Consumer Comment: I would have been rude to you too.

*Consumer Suggestion: Rocky is only partially right

*Consumer Suggestion: Old and Crippled OR Playing the System?

*Consumer Suggestion: from the southwest web sight

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The mission of Southwest Airlines is "dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride and company spirit". The airlines also advertises that it provides curveside checkin for all passengers at all its contact airports. These two factors were totally lacking when I used Southwest to fly from Harlingen, TX to Norfolk, VA on May 13, 2008.

In order to travel, I always request a wheelchair since I am physically disabled to walk great distances. There was no curveside checkin service, no wheelchair assistance or friendly staff at the airport. I had to take a taxi to the airport and the driver was not willing to assist me in obtaining a wheelchair. Weakly, I managed to walk into the airport with my heavy luggage and check to see if some airline or airport staff was available to assist me. I found no one available. I somehow managed to get to the checkin counter, where I was rudely treated and charged an extra $173 for a ticket that I purchased back in February, 2008. I booked the flight using senior fair rates.

When the counter help looked at my ID, she said that I couldn't fly at that rate since I was not 65. When I booked the flight I was not informed that I had to be 65 to fly at senior faires. So I was charged the extra fee. All this time, I am standing, waiting for a wheelchair.

On the flight home, the flight attendants were not friendly, warm, or helpful in assisting the public with their seats or handling of heavy baggage up into the above seat compartments. Both the attendants were female and only interested in their looks--I watched both look at themselves in the crew cabin's door mirror. There was a preschool child on this flight and they didn't pay him much attention either. I saw one of the attendants take a small alcohol bottle out of the kitchen drawer and back further into the kitchen to take a drink. This event occurred on Flight 37 out of Houston, TX on May 19th, 2008.

When I got to my parents, I called Southwest about the fee issue and they refused to assist me in settling this matter. They just said that I should air my complaint in writing to their Dallas, TX office. So I am about to write them about this and protest my issue in the hopes that this issue can be resolved on the company level. If not, I am reporting them to the FAA. Can you help me with matter or at least allow it to be aired so others will be wise not to use this airline.

Carolyn
harlingen, Texas
U.S.A.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/30/2008 03:32 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Southwest-Airlines/Dallas-Texas-75235-1647/Southwest-Airlines-Customer-service-of-airline-staff-at-airport-Dallas-Texas-335869. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 13Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

Lets Sum it Up

AUTHOR: Karl - (U.S.A.)

1. Southwest makes it exceedingly clear on its web site that you have to be 65 to travel on a senior fare. Everyone knows this. If you called in a reservation and asked for a senior fare I assume that the agent assumed that you were 65 or over.
2. Southwest charges no luggage fees.
3. Southwest charges you nothing to cancel or change flights except if a fare is higher.
4. Southwest charges you nothing to book through an agent on the phone and answers on the 3rd ring. Customer Service is also not in India.
5. Southwest publishes a timetable.
6. Southwest gives me the impression whenever I fly them -and I fly them all the time- that they value my patronage. I have never met a surly or nasty flight attendent although I make it a practice to be nice to them. It never hurts and they aren't indentured servants or on board luggage handlers. In the event of emergency they could well save my life. If you have a problem with getting luggage into an overhead there are plenty of guys around who will help. I've done it many times for ladies.
7. My mother, at 90, requested a wheelchair many times because although she could walk she had a tough time running between terminals on a close connection. When she needed a wheelchair she requested it when she made her reservation or asked for one at the check in counter. They even met her at the gate at the connecting airport with one.
8. Unfortunately nobody can be pleased 24 hours a day but I do not agree with knocking one of the only two domestic airlines that has not slowly downgraded customer service since deregulation until there is virtually none. Hawaiian is the other. You need to be glad that Southwest is still around to travel with. I even have Southwest stock and I could care less what it is selling for. I bought it to benefit the airline.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Wheelchair?

AUTHOR: Kipper - (U.S.A.)

If you are truly "disabled" to the point where you cannot walk any sort of distance (though you seemed to manage fine in this instance, while carrying luggage to boot), shouldn't you own your own personal wheelchair?

From the sound of your story, you wanted people to bow down to your every command, whether it was unsuccessfully getting the taxi driver to find you a wheelchair or the ticket agent to give you preferential treatment. The wheelchair you desired was more for getting special treatment on the plane (ie., being allowed to board first) than it was for accommodating a true disability. Someone who NEEDS a wheelchair because they "cannot walk" could never have done so much walking as you did that day. Furthermore, shame on you for trying to scam the airline by purchasing a discounted ticket that you did not qualify for. Thanks to you a true senior citizen had to pay a higher price to fly that day. Hope you're proud of yourself.
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#3 Consumer Comment

"Call the FAA?" Good luck with that.

AUTHOR: Todd - (U.S.A.)

Why on earth would you call the FAA over what you view as poor customer service? Is there a regulation that was broken? If I were you, I would stop with the Pity Party and move on - you appear to be too "entitled" to be viewed objectively, and it's rather difficult to take you seriously.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

You need to be truthful with yourself.

AUTHOR: Vasqvia - (U.S.A.)

I am an ex-employee of Southwest and still one of their biggest fans. The customer service agents work their butts off to provide you with the best possible service they can with what they have to work with. If you needed a wheelchair you should let the reservations agent on the line know that from the begging, secondly when you do check in at the counter, you will need to remind the agent of your wheelchair, but guess what, Southwest doesn't handle the wheelchairs. It's who ever the AIRPORT has chosen such as world wide or ram services, and if it's taking long it's not SWA's fault and they do radio and hurry the wheelchair services but there is only so much they can do. So complain to the airport about who they have hired! I also think that it's in bad taste for you to claim to have seem a flight attendant have taken a mini bottle to drink it, it's people like you who try and give hard working people a bad rep for you to get special treatment! SWA I still fly you and luv your service keep up the good work!!!!
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

You need to be truthful with yourself.

AUTHOR: Vasqvia - (U.S.A.)

I am an ex-employee of Southwest and still one of their biggest fans. The customer service agents work their butts off to provide you with the best possible service they can with what they have to work with. If you needed a wheelchair you should let the reservations agent on the line know that from the begging, secondly when you do check in at the counter, you will need to remind the agent of your wheelchair, but guess what, Southwest doesn't handle the wheelchairs. It's who ever the AIRPORT has chosen such as world wide or ram services, and if it's taking long it's not SWA's fault and they do radio and hurry the wheelchair services but there is only so much they can do. So complain to the airport about who they have hired! I also think that it's in bad taste for you to claim to have seem a flight attendant have taken a mini bottle to drink it, it's people like you who try and give hard working people a bad rep for you to get special treatment! SWA I still fly you and luv your service keep up the good work!!!!
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#6 UPDATE EX-employee responds

You need to be truthful with yourself.

AUTHOR: Vasqvia - (U.S.A.)

I am an ex-employee of Southwest and still one of their biggest fans. The customer service agents work their butts off to provide you with the best possible service they can with what they have to work with. If you needed a wheelchair you should let the reservations agent on the line know that from the begging, secondly when you do check in at the counter, you will need to remind the agent of your wheelchair, but guess what, Southwest doesn't handle the wheelchairs. It's who ever the AIRPORT has chosen such as world wide or ram services, and if it's taking long it's not SWA's fault and they do radio and hurry the wheelchair services but there is only so much they can do. So complain to the airport about who they have hired! I also think that it's in bad taste for you to claim to have seem a flight attendant have taken a mini bottle to drink it, it's people like you who try and give hard working people a bad rep for you to get special treatment! SWA I still fly you and luv your service keep up the good work!!!!
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#7 UPDATE Employee

I Call BS!!!

AUTHOR: Scott In The South Loop - (U.S.A.)

This sounds like the typical over dramatic letter written by a passenger that didn't get their way.
I've responded to a few of these in my day, and they all use the same formula. Exaggeration and out right fabrication.

First off, you tried to pull a fast one and got caught. So what was your reaction? Indignation. I doubt the customer service agent was rude, and if they were it was likely after you made a big ordeal out of getting caught. As to the accusations towards the flight attendants, sure there are some surely ones out there,(I've worked with a few) but I highly doubt that you saw one of them take a mini bottle out of the liquor kit and watched them drink it. If they were to do this they sure wouldn't do it in broad daylight! That's a FAA violation and is grounds for immediate termination! If they did drink on the job, there is great doubt as to you as a passenger knowing it, unless of course they were visibly intoxicated. I'm not saying this doesn't happen, it does. But I doubt your claims are fully truthful.
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#8 Consumer Comment

I'll be a bit more sympatheitic towards Carolyn

AUTHOR: Kevin - (U.S.A.)

First of all, I think everyone jumped the gun in their accuastions. There are details we don't know. One is her age. Maybe she's 64. Not every business declares a person a senior at age 65. You can join the AARP (Association of Retired Persons) at the age of 50. Maybe she wasn't nessissarily trying to rip off Southwest. I do think the people who commented are right that she should be charged the full price since she's not a senior. Maybe the agent could have been a bit kinder about it since she was clearly disabled, but Carolyn, I'm sorry but I don't think this part of your complaint is valid. Other parts are, though.

She should have recieved wheelchair assistance. I don't fly Southwest often and I mostly fly on United. Once I went on a trip with my mother when she had a broken leg on United, and there was an employee with a wheelchair to help her through both airports. I don't know Southwest's policy on this, so it may not be a valid complaint, but I'd urge Southwest, and every other airline, to help their disabled customers in anyway they can.

About the flight, the way she claims the flight attedants acted is unacceptable. If that one flight attendant did sneak in alcohol, I'm pretty sure that violates some regualtion and I would report that. If there was an emergency, it'd be dangerous for one of the people responsible for keeping the passengers safe to have any alcohol in her system. This is the part of your complaint you should be reporting, Carolyn.

Just my 2 cents.
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#9 Consumer Suggestion

I have to agree with everyone else...

AUTHOR: Terri - (U.S.A.)

You're not entitled to a senior fare unless you're a senior, it's ridiculous to think you could purchase that fare if you're not qualified. As for curbside assistance, don't rely entirely on someone else to do for you, you should have made arrangements to have a friend or family member escort you to the gate.
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#10 Consumer Comment

I would have been rude to you too.

AUTHOR: Nikki - (U.S.A.)

Whenever someone tries to be sneaky and short change any company I work for, I'm not that nice to them either. I don't blame the girl for being rude to you when she found you booked the senior fare when you do not qualify for such. You see, my job is based on the company I work for making money. When people try to deliberately short change us, that lessens how much much I make, what benefits I get and may cause me to not have a job tomorrow.

You were also probably exasperated and frazzled by the time you got to her and did not start out on the right foot anyway.
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#11 Consumer Suggestion

Rocky is only partially right

AUTHOR: Karl - (U.S.A.)

I agree that it is well advertised on the Southwest web site that you have to be 65 to buy a senior ticket. The comments about Southwest flight attendents not helping you on the plane may have been true on that flight but totally unlike all the major airlines Southwest excels in customer service. You can call their reservation number and instead of speaking to a robot like you do when you call American you actually speak to a real person. Instead of paying to check baggage like you do on United and American it is free on Southwest. There is virtually NO customer service on the majors. They could care less if you are aboard or not and if they can sqeeze an extra nickel from you they will. This is not 1975. If you require extra service you are going to have to request it in advance when you buy your ticket. You are also going to have to follow the rules for tickets set forth by an airline. Southwest has an excellent web site where you can pick your fare by the flight you take. In many cases the web fares are less than the senior fare. If you really want something to gripe about take one of the major airlines sometime.
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

Old and Crippled OR Playing the System?

AUTHOR: Rocky - (U.S.A.)

Carolyn,

You Texans have a way of stretching the truth, don't you? We have sure seen enough of that with your native son, George W., but I digress.

Anyhow, the Southwest site states clearly you have to be 65 in order to buy a senior priced ticket. It actually is theft if you try to get away with a senior priced airline ticket without being at least 65. You are lucky they did not charge you the walk-up fare for your ticket instead of only $173 more.

As for the wheelchair issue, you seemed to have survived walking with your suitcase to the counter. I understand it may be uncomfortable for some people but you sure do not sound disabled to the extent of needing a wheelchair. If you had made a request of Southwest, they would have had a wheelchair ready for you.

I once flew Southwest the day after an accident left me with 2 broken elbows and a broken nose. They were extremely helpful and courteous to me.

As for Southwest flight attendants not helping with your seating or luggage to the overhead, that is not going to happen on any airline anymore. Southwest is a bargain carrier and you get what you pay for - and you tried to stiff them on their bargain fares. If you had bought a first-class ticket on another airline, you probably would have received all the assistance you wanted. If you bought a coach ticket on another airline, it would have been about the same service as Southwest.

If you want first-class service, pay for it!

Did you at least have enough knowledge of Southwest to get your boarding pass online 24 hours in advance of your flight or were you standing around in Group C?
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#13 Consumer Suggestion

from the southwest web sight

AUTHOR: Nancy - (U.S.A.)

This is what the Southwest web sight has. I would suggest next time, you do a little research BEFORE you need to fly.

If you need wheelchair assistance, your friends and family are welcome to assist you on your way to/from the gate area. Just have them stop by the ticket counter with a government-issued photo ID to obtain a gate pass.

Travelers 65 years of age or over may get details on fares, limitations, and any restrictions via Reservations on southwest.com, from a Southwest Airlines Reservations Sales Agent or a travel agent. Fares are subject to change until tickets are purchased, but Senior Fare tickets are fully refundable. Please see details below for tips on how to make your travel experience on Southwest Airlines even easier.
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