Southwest Airlines Customer Means NOTHING To Southwest Internet
I generally disapprove of government regulation of businesses but, if ever there was an industry that fairly cries out to be regulated, it is airlines. In the not-too-distant- past Southwest was an inexpensive, traveler-oriented airline. Some time ago the inexpensive descriptor disappeared. Now, the traveler-orientation is also gone.Before I go into specifics, I do have a few positives that I want to mention. First, they do not charge for luggage. Next, they do not charge a fee for flight changes. I don't know if there are any other airlines that do this. I can't think of any other positives at this time. Now, the reason for this report.My wife was ticketed to fly home to Burbank from Tampa onm Saturday, APril 29, 2017. When she arrived at the airport she was informed that, due to a weather delay, she would not be able to make her connecting flight. SHe had gotten one or two emails informing her that there were delays on her flights. SHe did not see them, as she was either enroute to or already at Tampa airport.She was told that there were no ther flights available for the rest of the day, so she would have ot fly home on Sunday. I will comment on this a bit further on. She was then told that, as the delay was weather-related, Southwest would not pay for a night in a local hotel.There are several problems here. First of all, I see no reason why, in this case, the airline did not attempt to notify passengers by telephone or text message. But, more importantly than that, there is ABSOLUTELY NO JUSTIFICATION for refusing to pay for hotel rooms for the passengers who were in her situation. They claim that they had no control over the situation. Well, they certainly had more control than did the passengers. In addition, had she been notified earlier in the day that there MIGHT be a problem, she would have been early enough to find a different flight for that same day. As it actually occurred, it was not until she presented herself at check-in that she would not be flying that day, and no other flights were available.Is this really a problem of sufficient magnitude to make filing a ripoff report justifiable. Obviously, I think it is, or I would not be filing it. I say that because, if enough noise is made about smaller problems, they often are corrected before they burgeon into LARGE problems. In addition, this is a problem that did not exiest in the days before airline de-regulation. In 1988 0r 1989 I was flying home to Tampa from (as I recall) Pittsburg on TWA. An announjceemnt was made to the effect that they had overbooked the flight, and the asked if there were four passengers who would be willing to NOT fly at that time. More than four people, including me, volunteered. Why? Because we were offered1. A flight that was scheduled to leave about one hour later,2. A refund of the fare that we had paid and3. A ticket valued at up to $400 for a future flight.Those of us who volunteered obviously found a refund and a $400 ticket in exchange for the delay of ONE WHOLE HOUR (!!) sufficient compensation. Compare that to what happens today and you can't help but wish for the good old days of airline travel. But let's look just a bit further.In the early 1980s I worked for a Miami-based cruiseline. One of our ports of call was Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. I had flown to Freeeport the day before and was sitting on a plane on the tarmac at Freeport. one hour became two and continued to grind on for a total of six hours, on an un-air conditioned plane in the sub-tropics. Finally, after six hours, the flight was cancelled. The cause? Severe thunderstorms. We were let off the plane. We were then taken by bus to a local, VERY NICE hotel and given about $40 in a voucher to the hotel for food. We did not have to pay for ANYTHING.While I am not going to reveal my wife's age, suffice it to say that she looks considerably younger than she is, but her joints and feet are not fooled. That day was VERY hard on her physically. Additionally, while $150 for a hotel room is not a total disaster four us, it IS difficult, and we had to eliminate something from our budget to cover it.I see the problem as one that comes from a management that values the maximization of profit as its primary obligation to its shareholders. As a person with an advanced degree in corporate finance I disagree with that view. What SHOULD be worked for by management is the OPTIMIZATION of profit. Profit must be balances with other obligations, in this case that is customer service.As far as I am concerned, we were, along with about 140 other passengers, ripped off by a greedy, unfeeling corporation. It would be nice to believe that this kind of operation, along with others, like the absolute lunacy demonstrated by United Airlines just a few weeks ago, would cause airlines to lose business, but that will almost certainly NOT happen. Why? For the very reason that there is federal law aimed at curtailing monopolies in this country. Now before you start yelling that I must be an idiot since the airline industry is NOT a monopoly. I am quite well aware of that fact. But it actually IS an oligopoly, which tends to function similarly to a monopoly. The flying public generally has very few choices fo a given trip on a given day and time.So, to Southwest I say, READ MY MIDDLE FINGER. I do not take kindly to being ripped off. In addition, I may feel free to argue with my wife. But when I see her being mistreated by anyone else, I become a caveman. I will do everything I can to damage the attacker. Everything that is LEGAL, of course. I realize that may who read this report will think that I have made a mountain out of a very small anthill (smaller than a molehill, I think). Maybe I am. But I am really furious at the moment, and I don't want that fury to subside without writing this Ripoff Report.