Report: #1104458

Complaint Review: Southwest Airlines

  • Submitted: Wed, December 04, 2013
  • Updated: Wed, December 04, 2013
  • Reported By: Miken — Scottsdale Arizona
  • Southwest Airlines
    2702 Love Field Dr
    Dallas, Texas

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

Attempted to change a flight the morning prior to a scheduled flight, as I had to reschedule the flight to the following week... the website was experiencing difficulties that morning and would not process the change.  No big deal (so I thought). As a long time customer (decades of being accustomed to the original policy), I figured I would try again later in the day - having no idea they changed the fine print adding a severe penalty of FULL FARE LOSS for not showing nor attempting to reschedule a flight at least 10 min prior (which I did). After trying again later - to change the flight, it now would not let me because the flight was in progress, so I assumed I had to wait for the flight I had missed to be completed... Then, I tried the next day to change the flight and it was then that I learned of the fine print change adding the "No Show Policy" to steal people's air fare.  Had the website worked the previous morning, I would have made the change no problem. However, since the website would not work that previous morning - and I had no idea of the new policy- they informed me they were stealing my money and after speaking to a supervisor and then to Customer Relations, they still refused to remedy the situation. This is not the Southwest Airlines I have been a loyal customer of for more than two decades.  They have now lost a long time customer. BAD BUSINESS PRACTICE!!!! HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/04/2013 07:24 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 General Comment

The issue: learned customer behavior

AUTHOR: JMay - ()

Southwest (and customers who didn’t use the previous policy) say that customers must simply undertake the courtesy of contacting them.  This logic ignores two major factors:  learned customer behavior and lack of education.

They enacted the new policy with no customer education (say, an email campaign to make sure loyal and Rapid Rewards customers knew) and also with no grace period.  I have been flying with them 15 years as my major carrier, my family even longer.  I have had their customer service reps on multiple occasions in the past literally tell me the easiest way to change a flight is to not show up and then use the funds later.  That was their established policy.   My mom, an old school customer whose Rapid Rewards number is amazingly barely 7 digits, has always touted the old policy as one of the SW perqs.  So, they created a learned customer behavior and then penalize the very customers who are loyal enough to have formed their travel habits accordingly.

Had SW needed to change their policy to keep current, okay.  However, they then failed the people who had been ingrained in the old policy by a loyalty to their airline.  Southwest customer service claimed they did due diligence by notifying the customers of the change, but the only notification I received (in hindsight) was at the very bottom of my itinerary. One that looked the same as every other itinerary I have received. Next to all the fine print. It was NOT discussed in the follow up email reminder of my flight.   There have been no mailings or emails mentioning the change was coming.

Had Southwest used a grace period, where they re-educated loyal customers, one in which a fine or partial fee was not re-funded--fine.  But, instead, my wife and I lost over $500 on our tickets.   Did customer service do anything?  They gave me a number for customer relations, who then “apologized” profusely that they couldn’t budge.  There are many things they are able to make accommodations on, they said, but this isn’t one of them.  Policy from above.   Thanks, Southwest.  You wouldn’t want to work with customers so loyal that you’re very own policies have shaped their travel habits.

Safe to say, I won't be flying with Southwest anymore.  I hope none of my family or friends do. Their prices went up. Their Rapid Rewards system became just like any other airlines, and now their customer service and flexibility is even worse. So, you get the same airline policies as everyone else but you still have the cattle car boarding situation.


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#2 Consumer Comment

Yes, this is a rip off.

AUTHOR: Jack - ()

 Really, Robert?  Southwest has been dishonest and immoral. We have been loyal customers for a decade AND ALWAYS we have been told--as late as August of 2013 when the new policy was apparently known--that we did not have to cancel in order to use the funds later.  So, with today's notification technology, a simple email with some bold "you will lose your money AND return flight if you don't cancel" could have been sent.  Instead, we got nothing.  Hidden in the fine print?  Please....

Our daughter missed the flight on 18 December and did not notify the airlines.  And you believe it is ok for us to also lose the flight and the money for a RETURN FLIGHT NOT SCHEDULED TO GO UNTIL 18 JANUARY 2014????

We will never fly Southwest again.


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#3 Consumer Comment

SW also take FUTURE flights!


How about this Robert?  if you miss a flight you will lose your return also AND the money.  NEVER book a round trip on SW anymore.  No advantage and can cost a lot. My son was to fly home from college on Tuesday 11/26 and fly back Sunday.  Because he missed his Tuesday flight, (college kid!) SW arbitrarily cancelled his Sunday ticket and kept his money.  This was a fully paid for ticket and he was at the airport in plenty of time.  He was forced to buy another  last minute top dollar ticket for $310 ONE way even though he already had one.  I had to but the same ticket twice and they refuse to do anything.  They have really gone downhill!


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#4 General Comment

Southwest Ripped me Off Too

AUTHOR: Nick - ()

I was also ripped off by this new policy when I could not travel due to gum surgery.  I called and was on hold for over 30 minutes and by the time I got through it was too late.  I've been a great customer of Southwest Airlines for over fifteen years flying over 20 round trips a year and I am beyond belief that they stole my money without giving any warning but instead hiding this major change in the small print.  Southwest used to go out of its way to take care of its customers, particularly its really good customers, but something has changed there.  I am not a lawyer, but I suspect that this policy might fail in court as under UCC law there has to be adequate consideration for money charged and I do not believe that is the case for this policy.

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#5 Consumer Comment

There is this wonderful invention

AUTHOR: Robert - ()

 You know there is this wonderful invention called the Telephone.  It is also very simple to use, you pick up this magical device and press a series of numbers in the case of Southwest it is 18004359792.  Then a wonderful thing happens you actually talk to a human and let them know you need to change your flight.

Southwest is one of the best airlines in terms of service and changes.  They are the only airline that does not charge a change fee to change your flight.  Oh and having to change the flight at least 10 minutes before is NOT a new policy.

Sorry there is NO RipOff here unless you want to count your laziness.

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