Southwest Knows When It Made BooBoo

Wanda flew Southwest Airlines to Pittsburgh to see a Mets game. The departing flight was delayed four and half hours and the return, a half hour.

She pondered complaining but didn’t around to it, so she was surprised to arrive home yesterday and find a letter from Southwest in the mail

    “It was a voucher for $200 (the round trip flight I had purchased was only $100), and a letter explaining the delay and asking me to accept the voucher as consolation. The funny thing was that the voucher was for the consolation of the 30 minute delay on the way home, and not of the four hour delay on the way to Pittsburgh! Oh, well, I’m not complaining.”

Ah! Must…Catch…Breath…Preemptive apologizing and problem fixing! What a concept!


Edit Your Comment

  1. orielbean says:

    I’ve always had a nice experience with SW. Never an issue with the attendants, service, lines, etc. The tiny meals for domestic flights are a bummer; who wants a box of crackers for a Providence to Phoenix flight – but not a huge deal. Pack a sandwich I guess…

  2. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    SW customer service is an example all airlines should seek to match. I fly nothing but SW except when I am forced to (i.e. international flights)

  3. Triteon says:

    A half-hour? It’s hard for me to remember a SW flight (frequent round trips STL to CHI) that wasn’t a half-hour late. They owe me!

  4. The_Truth says:

    I love SW

  5. GenXCub says:

    Is it any wonder (cue the Styx music) that they’re the airline NOT in need of a bailout?

  6. Triteon says:

    Note: By no means was my previous comment meant to paint SW in a negative light. My only complaint– stop the damn singing!

  7. Hawkins says:

    Well, part of why they’re not in need of a bailout is that they wisely bought long-term fuel contracts, and so were shielded from much of the spike in fuel costs. Plus they pay their pilots far less than the big ones.

    But I suspect that not treating your customers like the most loathesome possible bit of grossness that you find on the bottom of your shoe may also have something to do with it.

  8. solmssen says:

    Hawkins writes:

    But I suspect that not treating your customers like the most loathesome possible bit of grossness that you find on the bottom of your shoe may also have something to do with it.


    Unless you happen to be fat. In which case, they treat you horribly. They made me buy another ticket on an outbound flight, and then they had the gall to try and put someone in the seat they made me pay for. It was the last flight I ever took with them, and I fly a fair bit.

    There’s a lot of complaining on the internet about fat people on airplanes, and you know what, it’s bullshit. There is one problem here, airplanes with seats that would make Torquemada proud. There’s fat people, and thin people, and we’ve all played Tetris, so let’s just make this work.

  9. homerjay says:

    I dont know. The only real exposure I have to SW is their TV show on A&E and they really can make themselves look like assholes.

    Its because of that show that I DON’T fly SW.

    Maybe TV is wrong?????

  10. I agree Homerjay. After watching Airline, I would never fly Southwest. I’m not down with the over-booking a flight deal.

    Although, a lot of the customers with issues on that show, are hot- heads [or drunks who bring it on themselves].

  11. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    If you’re too big to fit in an airline seat, you should buy two seats. I’m pretty sure that makes me insensitive, but I don’t really care. At least on Southwest you can choose where you sit once you are on the plane and can avoid fat people. On other airlines, it’s luck of the draw.

  12. GenXCub says:

    Franklin, the reason that it’s unfair is that it doesn’t have anything to do with how much real estate you take up. Think of getting on a bus. Do large people have to pay 2 fares? No. When you take a baby on a plane and they sit on your lap, do you still have to pay a fare for them? yes. It’s charging large people because they can. It could probably be compromised to have a person who require more than 1 seat to not be on a 100% booked flight, and have them moved.

  13. otakutopia says:


  14. otakutopia says:

    Just a quick interjection from a current flight attendant (From a rival to SW) as to why many airlines have you buy 2 tickets for those of us of a more portly stature.

    The main reason for policies like these is safety. The seats that you sit in on an airplane have actually been tested and certified by the FAA as well as the DOT. They must meet strict requirements for keeping passengers safely in place even in the most turbulant of situations including but not limited too a crash landing. The law as far as the FAA is concerned is that the armrests must be able to be down all the way on both sides of the customer to ensure that the customer themselves do not become a threat to nearby passengers (ie. being jetisoned from the seat and colliding with other passengers or being thrown to the side and slamming another passenger into the bulkhead.) and the less you move in turbulance or a crash, the less chance you have to sustain injuries yourself.

    The way the airlines allow “larger” passengers to sit onboard is by using a seatbelt extension. That way there is still an armrest on each side of the passenger and a degree of mobility from the “breathing room” afforded from the extra seat. In the event of an emergency, you would now have a much better chance of not only surviving the initial event, but would also be able to release yourself from the seat and deplane as quickly as possible.

  15. CJWokie says:

    otakutopia… speak very wisely. Thank you for your safety comments. I am a 265lb woman, so I realize how crowded it is on a plane. I realize some people can’t do anything about their weight, and in many cases, they are discriminated against. But the airline industry is not one that discriminates. #1 the safety issue, and #2 why should a 110 lb fittness fiend be FORCED to be scrunched up next to someone with “hangover” on three seats.

    People, please realize that those of us who are different require different rules.

    Also, I think the voluntary voucher of $200 on a $100 flight shows how much Southwest cares about their passengers. Southwest if my favorite airline, and I hope they don’t change to assigned seating, because with open seating, if you don’t want to sit next to a child, or a “fat person”, you can generally find another area to sit.