Report: #144343

Complaint Review: Southwest Airlines

  • Submitted: Sat, May 28, 2005
  • Updated: Mon, December 11, 2006
  • Reported By: Mesa Arizona
  • Southwest Airlines
    2702 Love Field Drive
    Dallas, Texas

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

My husband and I chose to use Southwest to return home from our cruise on Friday, May 27 (Memorial Day Weekend). We booked a later flight (5:00 PM) as we were unsure how long it would take us to get through customs, to the airport and through security on the holiday weekend. We actually arrived at the airport quite early (10:00 AM).

We realized that we would have to wait quite a while for our flight, but nowhere in our ticketing paperwork was any mention of the company's policy of not allowing for luggage check in more than 4 hours before the flight. The first person we encountered at curbside check in informed us of this, but then directed us down to someone else who would be able to help us. Her idea of helping was to upgrade our flight to an earlier flight, at a cost of $46 per person. This was not an option, so she told us that we would have to wait until 1:00 PM. So, for the next 3 hours we had to wait in the small ticketing area since we could not get through security. The area had no food or shopping available and very few chairs. It felt like we were being treated as prisoners. Finally, around 1:00 we got back in line to check in. Imagine my ire that upon checking in (at the earliest possible time we supposedly could do so) we were placed in the second boarding group!

Once past security we found a customer service desk. It appears that the signage posted there is the epitome of their company's customer service philosophy; it basically said, no one is available please go find someone to help you. Well, we did. I found a supervisor and explained the situation. All we got was an apology, that there was limited space in their luggage area and that next time, we could actually get our boarding passes without checking in our luggage. This was not presented as an option when we attempted to check-in.

The supervisor also said that we could obtain boarding passes online and that was probably the reason why, although we checked in so early, we were in the second boarding group. Based on that logic, I would have expected every single person in the first boarding group to have a boarding pass printed on regular paper. Need I say that that was not the case. Furthermore, although their online check in is a convenience, it is not equally available to all of their customers (I.e. I was on a boat in the Pacific Ocean).

I would like to point out that we have flown other airlines in which checking in early has never been a problem. Also, the TSA itself suggests arriving at the airport early, especially on a holiday weekend. Who would have thought we would have been penalized by the airline for arriving early? Again, we had no problem with waiting for our flight; it was WHERE we had to wait and how we were treated. As I was told that this is a Southwest Airline policy and this is not the first time I have had issues with the company, I will definitely think twice before flying with them again. It will definitely be worth my spending more to be treated to good customer service rather than as a piece of cattle.

We have written a letter to Donna Conover - Executive Vice President Customer Operations.

We would have emailed, however, according to their site, "Call us traditional, but we elect to steer clear of the chat-style, respond-on-demand, quick casual format and focus on meaningful Customer dialogue. This is not because we don't care. It's because that style counters our commitment to Customer Service.

Our Customers deserve accurate, specific, personal, and professionally written answers, and it takes time to research, investigate, and compose a real business letter. We answer every letter we receive in the order it arrives, and we streamline in order to keep our costs low, our People productive, our operating efficiency high, and our responses warm and personal." Plus their customer relations department does not have a "1-800" number to use. Any call to them would be a long distance call that would appear ON MY BILL.

Mesa, Arizona
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/28/2005 08:23 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

I agree

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

I agree, SOMETIMES profitable certainly does equal good.

The key word is SOMETIMES.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Sometimes profitable DOES equal "good".

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

While it's true that "profitable does not always equal good", it also is reasonable that profitable DOES equal good when it involves a service oriented company such as Southwest Airlines. Otherwise, they would have gone the way of Eastern, PanAm, Air Florida, and more recently US Airways (US Airways was actually purchased by America West, but they kept the US Airways brand name). Delta may be next on the list (also trying to be acquired by the former America West airlines).

From what I've seen, Southwest and US Air (formerly America West), are the two most profitable airlines around today.

I am a frequent traveler. And although I've had a few minor situations with almost every carrier I've used, I've had the best experiences with Southwest. In fact, the only problem I've ever had on Southwest was caused by a weather delay, and they went out of their way to make sure I got to my final destination that day instead of an overnight stay at my layover.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Profits doesn't equal "good"

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

Just because an entity is profitable, that doesn't mean it's "good" or "ethical". Enron, anybody??

Profitable is, in no way, a synonym for "good".

I wonder how many years the mafia doesn't show a profit, either. Another prosperous enterprise I care to have nothing to do with, lololol.
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#4 Consumer Comment

You obviously do not fly much

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

No airline will allow you to check bags 7 HOURS BEFORE your flight. You're lucky that Southwest allows bags to be checked four hours early -- when I flew out of Miami on Delta, they would only check them in two hours early. A quick glance at Southwest's website shows their baggage check policy. I am guessing that the same information is available in the literature accompanying your ticket as well, and of course you could have clarified this by ASKING ahead of time, which it appears you did not.

It is NOT the airline's fault that you arrived so ridiculously early for your flight, or that the airport does not have suitable dining or entertainment for your lengthy wait. Since you had seven hours to kill, why not catch a cab and explore Dallas for a few hours, get a bite to eat, do something fun, and THEN go back to the airport? No one forced you to sit around the airport all day, "starving" from lack of gourmet dining or bored from lack of first-class entertainment. (Did you at least bring a BOOK or NEWSPAPER to entertain yourself during your long wait??)

The airline DID try to accommodate you as best they could by offering to book you on an earlier flight so that you could check your bags and be on your merry way. IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT THAT YOU DECLINED THIS OFFER AND CHOSE TO BE UNHAPPY.

As for your complaint about what boarding group you were in, why does this even matter?? The plane leaves at the same time for everyone, regardless if they boarded first, twentieth, or last. How is this a rip off?

May I suggest next time, read the information that comes with your ticket, and if you have any special circumstances or questions not already answered by the airline's literature, ASK BEFORE YOU FLY.
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#5 Consumer Comment


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

Glad to hear you;ll never fly SW Air again - that means I won't have to run into you. SW Air has never, ever NOT shown a profit - unlike many of the others who have thrown their financial problem on the bankruptcy court. Must be that bad SW Air management, huh?
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#6 Consumer Comment

Lesser of two evils...

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

I will never, never, never fly Southwest again. US Air sucks pretty bad, but if I had to choose between SW and US Air, US Air would win, hands down. If you knew how much I hate US Air, then you'd know how much I hate SW!

Can't remember all the details why SW was so bad, I've blocked it from my memory, for real! Watching "Airline" on A&E does further entrench my hatred of SW. Not the employees, the procedures SW follows.

SW or the bus? Oh, I hope I never have to make that choice! Only drawback I find with the bus is the time it takes. Otherwise, the bus DOES win hands down, against SW!
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#7 Consumer Comment

"whining" wheels get the grease

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


Thank you for your warning. I have been flying for many years and expect to be treated like a human being no matter how much money I spend on a ticket. I am sorry that you had such an awful experience and I am happy to see someone stand up for what they believe in. It is good to demand respect.

This airline should take their time to make sure that ALL of their employees have completed a class on how to treat all human beings. They should also give their employees regular tests to make sure they are ALL well informed as to the practices of the company. Also, ignore those ignorant remarks of others. You did good. I will definately keep your experience in mind when making travel arrangments in the future.
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#8 Consumer Comment


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

I will fly from Oakland to Reno (27 minutes in air) and if United is full, Oakland to LAX or Ontario. Otherwise, forget it. I would rather pay a little more and not have to deal with the cattle car boarding. If the flight is more than two hours, no way. Like my upgrades too much.

As someone else pointed out, watch "Airline"..I couldn't imagine the upper management of SWA agreeing to do that really makes them look BAD.
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#9 Consumer Comment


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

I will fly from Oakland to Reno (27 minutes in air) and if United is full, Oakland to LAX or Ontario. Otherwise, forget it. I would rather pay a little more and not have to deal with the cattle car boarding. If the flight is more than two hours, no way. Like my upgrades too much.

As someone else pointed out, watch "Airline"..I couldn't imagine the upper management of SWA agreeing to do that really makes them look BAD.
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#10 UPDATE Employee

The way you see it...

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

See, funny thing is, people rarely blame themselves for mistakes they make on their own behalf. I do understand making reservations to provide plenty of time to check in and not miss a flight, but arriving at 10am for a 5 pm departure after already making it through customs??? i think you should have researched that a little better then this problem may not have ever occured. Another thing, it is not just the company's policy to not accept bags more than 4 hrs prior to departure it is also a security issue (as everything else is in the airline industry today). Plus, i'm sure that it's much better to wait to check your bags where you're coming from than to not get thim in the arriving city since they were sitting in t-point for so long they were accidentally put on the wrong flight.
See sweetie, it's not that we were trying to be mean to you, Southwest is a multi-million dollar company, who has more than just one Customer to next time, give us a little credit, we're here to do our job.
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#11 Consumer Suggestion


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

If you watch airline you will notice exactly how southwest treats its passengers you pay for what you get bottomline you wanna fly southwest then dont complain its that simple.
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#12 Consumer Comment

No problems here with SWA

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

Of all the airlines I have flown on in my 39 years (and there have been many), I have had the best experiences with Southwest. In fact, I have flown with them twice this year, the last time over Thanksgiving from Phoenix to Orlando. No problems either way.

Back in June was a different story though. On our return from Orlando (seeing that it was the end of June), we were experiencing some strong thunderstorms in the Orlando area. This made our plan late in arriving from it's previous destination. And we had a connection in St Louis to make, with little margin for delays. We took off 2 hours late from Orlando (no fault of SWA).

In our minds, we new we were going to miss our connection to Phoenix, and would probably wind up having to stay overnight in St Louis as we were on the last flight of the evening. Well, even though we were quite late getting into STL, we found out just before landing that SWA had graciously held the connecting flight, as several passengers were connecting to Phoenix. They did not need to do that as it was not their fault for the delay.

I'm glad they did though. It saved my family alot of hassle. Oh, and the tickets were $150 cheaper per ticket than the closest competitor (America West). Same thing in November, except this time I made sure we got the non-stop flights. And this time the tickets were $180 each cheaper than AWA.

I will continue to be a loyal SWA customer.
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#13 Consumer Comment

need cheese with that whine

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

you know than because you fly so much that after 9-11 you can't ck bags early.....

I have drug them around Boston with me on the Freedom Trail because I had a late flight..... My choice.

So suck it up and deal with it...... it happens and will keep happening. It's part of the airline business......IT'S THE LAW
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#14 Consumer Suggestion

Whine, whine, whine

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

90% of the other airlines charge you $100 per person PLUS the difference in airfare for changes. Southwest charges you the minimal difference in their airfare.

Get off of the whining soap box.

Mesa, it figures......
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#15 Consumer Comment


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

To the loser from Mesa. You have to be kidding. You showed up at the airport 7 hours early, what did you want from SWA?, comped passes to one of the airline clubs that was at your departure airport?, a food or hotel comp perhaps?.

Maybe you weren't aware but SWA is low cost airline. It's beyond me why you wouldn't just pay 46 bucks for an earlier flight, rather than hang around the airport like an idiot. And you weren't upgrading your flight. You were changing it, why would you expect not to the pay the difference between fares.

It isn't SWAs job to accomodate your schedule or pay for your food.

I fly over 100,000 miles a year, and I see plenty of your type, the "Greyhounders". And unfortunately "Greyhounder" season is coming soon.
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#16 Consumer Comment

Watch the show Airline on A&E

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

This will probably be in an episode. That's the airline the show uses for it's hilarious antics. Too good. Flying coach at it's best.
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#17 Consumer Comment

Experienced the same Problems

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

Tom of Arlington must be an employee or maybe SWA idea of discrete customer relations.

I have experienced a simular attitude as David of Mesa did with SWA.

Simple fix, Fly someone else. Found out SWA competitors are more professional and for usually less than $5.00 difference, I can avoid the SWA cattle call boarding stampede, and actually have an assigned seat.

Also noticed the general class of passengers to be a few notches up.

I fly for business a lot and have been very sucessful at avoiding the SWA attitude and phony image.
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#18 Consumer Comment

Whine, Whine, Whine You act like they should have rolled out the RED CARPET

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

God, you are such a whiner. You act like they should have rolled out the RED CARPET for you & you alone. Just because you only got half information & then found out more later isnt the airlines fault. They answered your question when you asked it & just because you found out more info later isnt their fault. Maybe they should have spent 10 hours telling you anything & everything you could possibly need to know. I am sure you would remember every bit of it. WRONG. Face it, you didnt get preferential treatment & now you want to WHINE. So just SHUT UP & move to the back of the bus !!!!!
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