Southwest Wins Customer Over With $75 Voucher She Didn’t Ask For

We’ve said it before and we’re about to say it again — Proactively reaching out to customers who’ve had a bad experience will (almost) always be more effective than trying to apologize and make good later. To illustrate that point, we bring you the short story of Alexandria and Southwest Airlines.

Earlier this month, Alexandria was booked on a Southwest flight from Baltimore to Milwaukee, where she was to fly on to Minneapolis. As anyone who lives in this region knows, we’ve had a bit of rainy weather of late, and this day was no exception.

Her flight was initially delayed an hour because of inclement weather, but things seemed to be going okay when the plane began boarding.

“It was partially cloudy at this point, and we all thought the flight was going to take off,” she recalls.

But the weather took a turn for the worse just as soon as the plane pulled away from the gate. The pilot even powered down the engines as the plane sat idle on the tarmac.

“Most of us are going ‘Why?’ and the flight crew tells us that a squall line was to the west, and the line did not want to move,” writes Alexandria, who says that when the storm did hit the airport, “the plane was shaking from the winds, which validated the delay in my mind.”

And so it went for nearly three hours, as the passengers waited in the giant metal tube for the storm to pass and then got in line to take off. The wait was longer than the entire flight to Milwaukee should have lasted.

“I was upset and frustrated, but I also understood that Southwest’s hands were tied due to the weather,” says Alexandria. “I couldn’t really blame them for going better-safe-than-sorry.”

When she arrived in Milwaukee, she was pleased to find that her connecting flight to Minneapolis had been held, and so she was able to continue on without a hassle. For many of us, including Alexandria, simply arriving at the destination is all that matters after hours stuck on the tarmac in a heavy storm.

But then yesterday, she gets an e-mail from Southwest with a $75 voucher for use on a future Southwest flight.

Southwest had no obligation to send her the voucher, nor had Alexandria made any sort of complaint about the incident.

Heck, the airline didn’t even have to worry about massive fines from the FAA for sitting out on the tarmac for too long, as there are weather-related exceptions to that regulation.

“So between making sure people make the flights they need to and giving me the voucher, Southwest has secured my loyalty,” says Alexandria.