Of all the weird encounters to have on an airplane, we never would have expected to have a flight attendant point out just how bad a full can of soda is for you. That’s what happened to Laura, though.
My experience with Southwest Airlines was a bit shocking. I was traveling from Denver to Baltimore on my first vacation in about a year.
When the flight attendant came around, asking what everyone would like to drink, I told her I would like a can of Coke. Southwest has been gracious in the past about offering a full can of a drink, if a passenger has requested it, and I have taken advantage of that policy from time to time.
When I asked for the can, the flight attendant gave me a weird look, almost as if she couldn’t believe I asked for the full can, but I nodded yes, and she walked away.
A few minutes later, this same flight attendant came over to me, gave me the can and flipped the can over to the nutritional information.
She used her finger to point out that the can had 39 grams of sugar in it, and went on to inform me that each gram is equivalent to a teaspoon of sugar, so in essence I’d be ingesting that much sugar if I drank the whole can.
I was incredibly humiliated and offended. Other passengers could hear her, and she did not offer the same sort of nutritional information to them. I believe she may have been singling me out for whatever reason she felt necessary. She made me feel like I wasn’t able to read, or that I was stupid as to what grams of sugar means. I am an intelligent person, but she certainly insulted that part of me.
Laura wrote a complaint to Southwest about the encounter—”If I wanted to talk about nutrition, I’d see a nutritionist,” she told us. Unfortunately—and this is the really annoying part—Southwest’s responses have been vague and generic. We think Laura has a legitimate complaint, which is that she felt she was treated inappropriately by an employee. The least Southwest could do is respond forthrightly to her complaint.
I have received a response from the company, but it was a general apology form letter. I was not happy with the response, and I emailed the company yet again to let them be aware that their reply was inadequate.
What is most frustrating about the email process is that when Southwest replies to complaints, they have a “no-reply” email address, so each time you want to refer to your original email, you have to go back to their main webpage and fill in your name, email, phone, address, flight number, destination city, original city, etc. I have asked to speak with a supervisor directly, but I have yet to hear from one. This whole process has taken almost a month.
A complaint should not take this long to be resolved. I feel like my issue was just swept under the rug. I was informed that my complaint would be given to senior leadership, and they meet once a month. What does this mean? Would I hear from senior leadership? Would I find out if the flight attendant was ever spoken to about her inappropriate behavior?
I am not thrilled with Southwest and how this one flight attendant spoke to me. Next time I will just have to handle it myself, in person, with the flight attendant, and risk being arrested at the gate, I suppose. (sarcasm)
My return flight was pretty relaxed. The flight attendants were giving out full cans of drinks to everyone, regardless of what they asked for. Now, that’s MUCH better service!
(Photo: i eated a cookie)