• Report: #794954

Complaint Review: Southwest Airlines

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  • Submitted: Thu, November 03, 2011
  • Updated: Sat, December 17, 2011

  • Reported By: Jason — New York United States of America
Southwest Airlines
2702 Love Field Drive Dallas, Texas United States of America

Southwest Airlines Southwest ruined my travel plans with their ridiculous fees and restrictions Dallas, Texas

*Consumer Comment: Ever fly before?

*Consumer Comment: What? You were going to travel..on a plane..at Christmas??

*Consumer Comment: Not heavily traveled?

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Here's my story about how Southwest has completely ruined my plans to visit family for the holidays:

I signed up for a Southwest Chase card last year because they were advertising a two-flight credit signing bonus. I have used the card quite a bit recently, with a very poor return on points I might add.

When I originally signed up, the fine print said the flights expired after two years. Since I read it carefully before I signed up, I thought I was agreeing to the actual program terms. Well it turns out it wasn't true, since I found out last month that the expiration date had been set to NOVEMBER 7 2011. Great! Turns out, instead of issuing a credit that could be turned into an "award", they issued the "award."

What's worse, I found out recently that the Chase card came with a big $60 renewal fee! I am in the process of looking to get a mortgage for a house, so there is no way I could have canceled the card without hurting my credit. I called SW Chase up, got a speech from some low-level rep and a manager. I didn't get anywhere when the manager rudely transferred me to the SW rapid rewards automated line without saying he was going to do so. So as much as I hated to, I chalked it up to a flight expense.

So today, I went to book a flight for the dates December 23rd and December 31st (not heavily traveled days!). Guess what, I couldn't because the award did not allow booking past the expiration! So I paid the $50 reissue fee, knowing that I was absolutely going to book the flight... just another hefty expense. Then I went to book it again... and the booking schedule said there were no seats available! WHAT????

So I called up the service desk. I spoke to some woman who could only repeat the same information from the booking screen. I asked to speak with a manager. She transferred me to someone else who repeated the same thing and kept saying NO, NO, NO... CAN'T HELP YOU.. THERE ARE NO AWARD SEATS AVAILABLE.

Yeah, some great service. Nothing like... "maybe we could combine your awards"... nothing like... "let's see what we can do the help you." Nope, just "The $50 renewal fee is NON-REFUNDABLE, NO there's nothing we can do, NO, NO, NO. But we can still book it for you if you pay us $900."

So, worst of all is the reason I need to book the flight: I am going to visit my sister, who lives 1364 miles away and who I have not seen in a year. She is due to have her first child, my first nephew, and I was intending to be there for this once-in-a-lifetime even. Also, my work required me to take the time off in advance. Now I am going to have to pay NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS to visit her and her husband on Christmas? What kind of a ripoff is that? Seems like a veiled form of bait-and-switch in my opinion.

So, here are the numbers. $60 credit card renewal fee. $50 award renewal fee, Plus $50 for the renewal of the other award. Total of $160! And yet I have no flight booking, and "awards" that I cannot use for where I need to go. So now I am backed into a corner with the only option of having to pay $900.

Thank you very much for taking my money and ruining the holidays for me, Southwest.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/03/2011 07:47 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Southwest-Airlines/Dallas-Texas-75235/Southwest-Airlines-Southwest-ruined-my-travel-plans-with-their-ridiculous-fees-and-restri-794954. 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:
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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Ever fly before?

AUTHOR: Bigtmuddy9 - (United States of America)

I fly Southwest nearly every week. Have hundreds of thousands of points, A-List Preferred and a Companion Pass. I was too slow to book my Christmas flights. Waited until August or September. 

By then the points needed for a flight were pretty high. Decided to use close to 100,000 points vs. paying about $550 a ticket. This was months before you got around to calling.

If you really thought the free voucher was going to allow you to call in mid-November and book a flight the day before Christmas Eve, then one can only assume you don't fly much and/or you're just not very bright. 

As for 'using your card a lot and the points not adding up to much', this is based on an exact mathematical formula, not some arbitrary process. This just further reinforces that you either didn't read the specifics you were signing up for, or I repeat my assessment of your brain power from above. 
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#2 Consumer Comment

What? You were going to travel..on a plane..at Christmas??

AUTHOR: Mia - (USA)

Wow, I didn't think anyone ever wanted to see their family at Christmas time?  I bet all the other folks who signed up for the same credit card promotion didn't have it in their minds to visit family around Christmas.  I bet those folks who might have had the same far fetched travel plan in their minds decided to book that trip asap in order to make sure they had seats during one of THE MOST TRAVELED TIMES IN THE ENTIRE YEAR!! It also seems to me that if you knew your sister was having a baby around that time..you would have known about the blessed event way before the November 2011 expiration date.  Maybe, just maybe,  you could have booked the trip say in the summer, before the expiration date...since you knew about this once in a lifetime event.  A report like yours, which isn't a rip off by the way, irritates me because you aren't making a real rip off claim. You come off as a self centered, entitled brat.  I can see it never occurred to you that other people would be traveling at that time.  It sounds like it never entered your mind that other people would have been offered the same credit card award.  Your report reads to me like a teenager who has been raised to believe that the world is in place for the sole purpose of being at your beck and call.  Me me me me. 
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#3 Consumer Comment

Not heavily traveled?

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

Have you looked at Calender lately?

December 23rd is the Friday BEFORE Christmas, you can almost guarantee that it will be far from a light travel day.  In fact it would probably be in the top 2 or 3 busiest days of the year.  As for December 31st,  traditionally Sundays are a fairly heavy day, and in combination of the end of a Holiday period will probably be quite busy.

As for the rest of your "RipOff".  That sounds about typical of just about every Airline mile or "reward" card.  They are all going to have fees and have very limited seats available to book on the flights. 

To be honest with you the best way to get a "reward" seat is to book as soon as the date you want to go becomes available.  For example Southwest generally only allows booking up to about 6-7 months in advance.  So if you wanted to go in December you probably should have started looking in about May.  But that doesn't even guarantee it because if they only had 2-3 seats available all it takes is one person to get them before you to make them no longer available.
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