SOUTHWEST AIR DEFIYS TSA
Sun Jul 29 2007, flight 27, 0610 departure.
I arrived at SLC airport two hours before my flight departure time, as requested by Transportation Security Administration 'TSA'. Southwest Air did not open kiosks and had no personal at their ticket counter until 0500, one hour before departure. The obvious question I had for the ticket agent when she finally did arrive to open was 'why are we (passengers) asked to be at the airport two hours ahead of departure and Southwest ticket personal arrive only one hour before?. Her response was 'oh, well that's just how it is, you know' I indicated I did not know and would like an explanation. Her answer was ' that is just how it is. I asked why were the kiosks not open? Her answer 'oh we can't do that'. I asked 'is T.S.A. aware of this policy' The flippant attitude changed abruptly to a curt response of 'sir would you please direct you comments to SWA on line.
After obtaining my boarding pass I noted a very long line waiting to be processed. I continued to gate B11 witch is a good 8 to 10 minute walk. I still needed to clear T.S.A. security. I arrived at the gate about 0520. On arrival at gate B11 there was not anyone from SWA to be seen. The gate personal (one woman ) arrived at 0540. Note SWA reserves the right to sell your seat if you are not at the gate 30 min before departure, more on this practice later. After boarding the announcement from the cockpit was the flight to Phoenix will take one hour and five minutes. Winds aloft would have to be over 100 miles per hour to accomplish this speed, or we would have to fly faster than the speed of sound as this flight normally takes about one hour and twenty minutes. This same announcement was repeated two times. The flight did take one hour and twenty minutes.
As a passenger I feel the arrogance shown by SWA policy and SWA personal is almost unbelievable. I have further noticed SWA when overbooking their flights excel at finding a passenger that has been 'drinking or is loud' and is posing a threat to air safety. At that point its obvious to me that SWA does not offer a room or flight accommodations to the benefit of the passenger but keeps the passenger from boarding to the benefit of SWA . Note SWA overbooked the flight. Does this 'safety concern' from SWA extent to passengers who question SWA and their lack of customer service with their obvious self serving actions in disregards to TSA and the real safety of their passengers and crews? Will that same customer, passenger be denied boarding also? I ask you how does SWA show support to TSA and their limited personal by not honoring their request to arrive two hours early and opening the baggage counters to help in clearing the security area? Does impeding passengers to the point of being late when they still need to go though TSA security help TSA do their job better? How often does this scenario and others like this happen across the country?. When will the airlines participate in National Security as much as their customers?
The TV show 'Airline' showcases SWA and their 'customer service'. It seams that in almost every show passengers are denied boarding for violating the rules SWA has set forth, when if fact SWA violates their own rules with impunity. I further question the basis of denying boarding to a drinking passenger when SWA is the one who has served the alcohol to that passenger and then penalizes that passenger for South west airlines actions. Yet all at once SWA will insist it is only interested in the safety of public and the crew and will rely on TSA to give them that blanket authority to deny boarding. TSA please help the crews and the public who you are charged to protect. Bring SWA and any other airlines to accountability.